Author Topic: How to buy a car from a private seller?  (Read 2615 times)

Rosy

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How to buy a car from a private seller?
« on: July 18, 2017, 07:34:51 AM »
Due diligence - car buying from a private seller. How do I protect myself as in,

how does the title transfer happen and what should I know about types of titles? We live in Florida.
Can I - should I, get a carfax or something?
How do I best pay for the car and at what point? Via check, cash? or is it better to use some sort of bill pay or account transfer - if so, which one?

What if I see a car online and I just want to make an offer on the spot?

Thanks guys:), it has been a long time since I bought a car so your input is appreciated.   


marielle

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 07:43:45 AM »
- You can go to the title office and transfer titles there. At least that's how it is in NC. Just be wary of salvage and rebuilt titles as you don't know how bad the damage was.
- You can ask for the VIN before looking at the car and check it at https://www.research.com/
- Cash is best, or meet the seller at their bank if you're buying a fairly expensive car. No seller will accept a check because it could bounce.
- Don't make an offer without seeing the car in person. When you actually see it, you'll probably see a couple imperfections and other minor things that you can use as leverage to lower the price point.

Here is a GREAT series of YouTube videos about how to buy a used car:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC8LbvYk6es&list=PLvKbarVtwhUv6bjLhJSyaEOxaYy03j7QS

Watch all but the last two, those are just him stripping a parts car and selling the parts. Still an interesting watch though. He goes over /everything/, from checking the engine, to interior, to testing for signs of an accident, to haggling.

caracarn

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 07:45:59 AM »
I don't know that there is a right way.  Been a while since I did it as well, and really some of the hassles and the worries have made me simply use a broker or a dealer ever since.

Title is usually transferred by simply signing the back and then taking it to a DMV station that works with titles.  There will be fees, which you can check online for in most states.  Carfax helps, but obviously is no guarantee.  I've used a cashier's check.  I would never use cash.  No solid paper trail and if you get a seller who wants to play games and claims you never paid for the car it becomes your word against theirs.  Obviously it is harder once you get title transfer done, but still. 

I'd never buy a car online without seeing it and driving it from a private seller, so if you mean would it be OK to see one online and offer to pay for it sight unseen, for me, no. 

You can have a mechanic check it out before you complete sale.  I've done that sometimes.  If nothing else, how open the seller is to this will tell you a lot.  Obviously a car with problems, they'll do everything possible to discourage you.  I've used sites like TrueCar and they offer used cars now, so that might offer you some added protection. 

aalferez

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 07:59:06 AM »
Get the VIN, go to myCarFax.com and make your account with up to 10 VIN.
If their shop kept track of it, you will see everything, even the recalls and maintenance.

I also like to visit https://www.carcomplaints.com/ and see if the car has some anomaly that many people complains about.

Other than that, bring a friend that is a mechanic.

Never show interest in the car. If you show that you are very interested, the seller might be less inclined to reduce the price because he knows you are on the hook.

Cash or Cashier check. Cash is king though.

Titles here in IL, you just sign the title and the new owner too, you get the title and then you go to the DMV to transfer it.

The best way I found to check on this things is to drive to a CarMax saying that you pretend to sell the car. Then they will inspect it and find even more things that you might have not noticed.

My 2 cents

Spork

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2017, 08:09:37 AM »

Instead of carfax, I've used autocheck.com in the past.  The advantage for me was: You could pay a low one-month fee and do unlimited VIN checks. 

Khaetra

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 09:14:39 AM »
In FL, all you need is a bill of sale with the price and the title (make sure the sellers sign it).  Take that to the local DMV.  FL sucks, because they will charge you tax on the purchase price so make sure to add that in to your equation.

Rosy

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 11:36:29 AM »
Great points! Thank you all:), that goes a long way toward knowing what to do and I appreciate all the good links!
Good to remember that the seller has to sign the title, before I take it to the DMV. I wasn't sure if we both needed to go there.
Love the idea of taking the car to carmax, but in all honesty, I am not sure I would do that.

@Khaetra - I knew there was a tax in FL on the car sale, but I guess I better check if that is 7%?

Khaetra

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 01:00:22 PM »
It's 6%, unless you live in Pinellas County then it's 7%.  That's what I got from a search.

frugaliknowit

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 01:23:01 PM »
The important things:

Check value on line

Have it checked by a mechanic

ONLY do the transaction at your (buyer's) bank.  Nowhere else!!  Have the seller sign over the title at the bank.  The bank is perfect as everything is on camera!

Rosy

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 02:13:56 PM »
The important things:

Check value on line

Have it checked by a mechanic

ONLY do the transaction at your (buyer's) bank.  Nowhere else!!  Have the seller sign over the title at the bank.  The bank is perfect as everything is on camera!

Now that is a really clever idea!

dandarc

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 02:27:17 PM »
It's 6%, unless you live in Pinellas County then it's 7%.  That's what I got from a search.
State sales tax is 6%.  Then each county can add a discretionary sales surtax.  The surtax currently varies from 0 to 2%.  So your typical sales tax rate varies from 6 to 8%, in total, depending on county.  But the surtax only applies to the first $5,000 of any transaction, so on a car, that could come in to play.

http://floridarevenue.com/Forms_library/current/gt800030.pdf

Rosy

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 05:06:10 PM »
Oh, I see. Since I am in Pinellas County, it would be 6% state sales tax, plus one more percent on the first $5K?

dandarc

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Re: How to buy a car from a private seller?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 05:16:43 PM »
That's how I understand it.  Technically, the surtax would be of the county the vehicle was delivered, so if you travel to buy the car, there might be some shenanigans to work through.