Buying a Used Car: Private Seller or Dealership?


In the market for a used car? Chances are you’re torn between buying from dealers or other private sellers. But how do you know which is better? To help you find the right fit, we have listed down the pros and cons for each. Read on to know more:

Vehicle History

When it comes to finding out the vehicle’s history, a private seller is likely to have more in-depth information than a dealer. Dealers sell hundreds or thousands of cars every year, making it difficult for them to keep track of every vehicle, whereas a private seller will probably know the ins and outs of his or her vehicle.

While you can easily get your hands some information on the dealer’s vehicle from CARFAX and AutoCheck, it might not match up to the in-depth and first-hand description you can get from a private seller. Of course, you decide how much you trust a private seller and his word, but having some knowledge about the car’s history can help you make an informed decision.


When it comes to financing a used car, you should expect higher interest rates and some friction from banks, especially for vehicles that are past a certain age or mileage limit.

Some banks refuse to finance used vehicle purchases through private sellers because of concerns regarding the accuracy of the car’s condition. If the car turns out to have serious problems, the buyer could easily refuse to pay back the loan, leaving the bank with a worthless car. This is why some banks prefer to only deal with reputable dealers who bring a level of transparency to the table.

Purchase Price

If you are looking for an affordable purchase price, you’re likely to get it from a private seller instead of a dealership. Why? While dealerships need to turn a profit on every sale, a private seller is only trying to get rid of an old vehicle and buy a new one. They are more willing to negotiate and sell the car quickly.


A dealership puts their reputation on the line with each car they sell. Whereas a private seller doesn’t share the same concerns since this is a one-off sale for them. As a result, good dealerships will go out of their way to ensure you have a good experience before, during, and even after you’ve purchased the vehicle.

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