For Sale by Owner vs Buying a Used Car at a Dealership

For Sale by Owner vs Buying a Used Car at a Dealership

Many people prefer to look for a car in the used car market as it is a lot cheaper compared to buying a brand new vehicle. When looking at a used vehicle, you will have two routes to take. The first option is to purchase the car privately and directly from the owner. The second option is to buy a used vehicle from a dealership. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. To be sure you make the best choice between buying a car for sale by owner vs buying a used car at a dealership check out our guide.

For Sale by Owner vs Buying a Used Car at a Dealership

Before You Decide

Before deciding on the way in which you want to purchase a used vehicle, you will need to do some research on the types of cars you like. By learning more about the vehicles, you will know what to expect from the car in terms of performance, as well as the price range.

When it comes to used cars, research is an important task for ease of mind and knowing when to avoid deals and when to pursue deals. This may be because you know the vehicle is not in the condition it should be in and if sellers are charging too much.

Purchasing a Vehicle For Sale By Owner


Buying from a private owner almost always works out cheaper, as opposed to purchasing it from a dealership, as the owners do not need to add an amount to make a profit. Dealers take time sourcing cars, fixing them up, and still need to make money to pay salaries and other business expenses. Do research on the cars you like in order to have an understanding of the correct market value of the car to ensure you are not paying too much.

Pricing Negotiations

Prices are typically good when purchasing a vehicle privately. However, there is still an opportunity for you to negotiate a better price. Do not expect to always be able to negotiate a lower price though. This is because private sales are already cheaper than dealership deals and the owners know that.

Vehicle History

To gain a better understanding of the condition of the vehicle, ask for vehicle history reports. This can also be dangerous, as some private sellers may withhold some information. The original owner may do so in order for them to sell the car quickly and for a higher price.

Purchasing a Vehicle from a Dealership

Vehicles are in Better Condition

Dealerships are required by law to ensure they are selling you a safe and fully working vehicle. If there are any problems that arise after buying from a dealer, the dealerships will have to resolve the issue. Conversely, private sellers are not obligated to you once you purchase the pre-owned car.

The Reputation of Dealerships is on the Line

Unlike private sellers, dealerships have a reputation to uphold. A dealership will want to uphold this reputation in order for them to be successful and continue to sell used cars. For this reason, dealerships have to ensure that they are selling you a certified pre-owned car in the best condition possible. If they fail to do so, they will develop a bad public image amongst the community and will drive people away from buying a vehicle there.

Certified Used Vehicles

If you are looking to purchase a used, luxury vehicle, at a higher price, you will most likely purchase a certified car from a dealer. This certification will confirm that the vehicle has been properly looked after and maintained by previous owners. The vehicle might even come with a warranty. Some drivers purchase certified vehicles as they are in as good a condition as a new car, but cost a fraction of the price.

What is best?

The following factors should help you decide which route you feel more comfortable taking. If you are very knowledgeable when it comes to vehicle expectations and their pricing, you will feel comfortable purchasing a used vehicle privately. However, if you are uncertain and inexperienced, the safest option is to buy from a dealership. With their reputation on the line and laws in place to avoid ill intent, chances are you’ll be happier as well.

Additional Information: Certified Pre-Owned: Everything You Need to Know

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