6 Reasons Why Buying From a Private Seller Is Better

Should you buy your next used car from a private seller or a dealership? Dealerships offer a streamlined buying process and perceived security, but savvy shoppers know that buying from a private party unlocks a plethora of advantages.
PrivateAuto makes the private-party experience easy, convenient, safe, and fast. Get all the benefits of a private-party deal, without the downsides.

Let’s get into the details of why the private-party purchase is your best bet.

One: Avoid Fees

With a private purchase, you get more car for your money. You avoid dealer fees, such as documentation fees that can range from $50 to over $1,000.
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Two: Better Value

A private sale provides better value than a dealership purchase.

Dealerships buy low and sell high to generate a profit. This means that the prices at dealerships are often inflated to account for their overhead costs and desired margins. Private sellers are more motivated to sell their vehicles quickly and at a fair price, allowing you to score a better deal.

Three: Access to a Wider Pool of Sellers

Private-party purchases give you access to a much larger pool of potential vehicles then limiting your options to dealership inventory. This means you have a greater chance of finding the exact make, model, and features you're looking for at a price that fits your budget.

By tapping into the private seller market, you can discover hidden gems that aren’t available at dealerships, such as:

Electric vehicles made for foreign market
Specific color or trim packages
Unique feature combinations

Four: Direct Negotiation

In private sales, you have the freedom to negotiate directly with the owner and drive the deal on your terms. This level of control is one of the biggest advantages of private-party purchases.

With PrivateAuto, you can offer less than the purchase price with our innovative “make an offer” feature. With a couple of clicks in the PrivateAuto app, you’ve sent an offer. No awkward back-and-forth conversations trying to talk the seller down.

The seller can accept your offer, reject it, or counteroffer in seconds.

It’s price negotiation, built into our transactional workflow.

Five: Potential Sales Tax Savings

Three states—Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada—charge sales tax on dealership vehicle sales but not on private party sales. This is a huge incentive to buy privately in these states, on top of all the other advantages of private-party transactions.

Six: Less Pressure and More Transparency

Private sellers are just regular folks looking to sell their cars, not professional salespeople with quotas to meet. This means you can inspect the vehicle, ask questions, and negotiate on your terms without feeling rushed or pressured.

When you buy a car from a private seller, you have the unique opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of the vehicle's background. Many private-party cars are being sold by first owners, meaning that the seller knows the vehicle’s history intimately. They can provide insights that a dealership can't match. Sellers can tell you where the car was parked, was driven for short or long distances, and how it was driven.

PrivateAuto makes it easy to communicate with sellers without giving out your personal info. Our messaging feature is built into the PrivateAuto tech stack and keeps your information private.

How Do I Avoid Fraud When Buying a Car Privately?

Criminals use a plethora of methods to trick car buyers, such as fake vehicle histories, odometer tampering, or title scams.

PrivateAuto includes vehicle history reports with all premium listings and also has identity verification. These measures cut down significantly on fraudsters, but it always pays to be vigilant.

Don't let a seller rush you into accepting a high price or paying without verifying the details and test driving. If a seller gives you a high-pressure "act now or lose out" ultimatum, it's best to walk away. If the car is priced fairly, there will be other listings available without undue seller pressure.

The key is to take your time. Inspect the car, verify the VIN, test drive, and don’t pay until you're confident about going through with the transaction.

PrivateAuto fights fraud with our secure transactional workflow. You never expose your sensitive info to strangers, and you pay after you've inspected the car and the seller has e-signed the bill of sale in our app.
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Where is the Best Place to Buy a Car Privately?

There are tons of platforms for buying used cars online. Most serve as “meetingplaces” but lack transactional capabilities. They assist you in finding a car to buy, but that’s about it. You and the seller are left to muddle through how to meet up, how to handle paperwork, and how to handle payment.

PrivateAuto is the only transactional marketplace that takes you through every aspect of the deal. Here are some of the benefits:

Instant, fee-free, and secure payments via PrivateAuto Pay. Send any amount in the blink of an eye.
In-app messaging keeps your contact info private.
Test drive scheduling eliminates back-and-forth with the seller
In-app electronic signing of the bill of sale protects you and gives you a legal record

Found your dream car on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay Motors? Our DealNow feature lets you start a deal on another site and finish it with PrivateAuto. Invite the seller to DealNow via a custom link you'll create, and then enjoy our fast-track deal flow and proprietary infrastructure.

Start your transaction anywhere, and finish it with PrivateAuto.

Private Sale FAQ

When I buy a car from a private seller can I drive it home in Florida?

In Florida, you need to get temporary tags before driving the vehicle home. To find out more about driving home after your purchase, visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) official website.

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