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Used Cars: For Sale By Owner vs. Used Car Dealers

Aug 17, 2008
You're looking for a used car, and you know that you have two main ways of finding one. You can go to your local used car dealer, or you can look through listings to find cars for sale by owner. Which way is best? Why choose one over the other? Read on to learn more.

Basically, the main advantage of buying through a used car dealer is that they generally can offer you some sort of guarantee or warranty, though how much greatly depends on the dealer. Of course, such promises are only as good as those who make them, so be sure to read and ask around to find out whether or not the dealer has a good reputation.

Dealers are also able to arrange finance agreements, if you need them. Be warned, though, many dealers do not offer very friendly finance terms, so be wary of taking anything you're offered.

A dealer should also be able to look over the car and verify its mechanical functionality, though again this type of service is only as good as the reputation of the dealer.

A dealer also offers a wide selection in one location, making it easy to see and compare multiple cars in one outing. This is very convenient, especially if you're not sure exactly what you want.

On the downside, a dealer, because of their higher overhead, will charge you more than a owner selling the car himself would. This is something to consider before heading over to your local used car dealer.

And speaking of for sale by owner, what are the advantages there? Well, I already mentioned the big one: lower prices. Since car owners can't offer you the same guarantees as a dealer can, they offer you much better deals.

Used car owners can also tell you a lot more detail about the history of the car than the dealer can, though this is also subject to the trustworthiness of individual you're working with. Overall, though, if you're looking to save on a used car, going with a for sale by owner listing can be a great way to go.

Of course, an owner won't be able to finance the car for you, so you'll need to arrange that separately if needed.

So, if you're still on the fence about which way to go, why not just try both? Visit some dealers, and talk to some individual sellers, and see which ones make you feel the most comfortable. The more places you go, the more likely you are to run into that used car of your dreams.
About the Author
David Wilson is the owner of Cheap Used Cars Central, a site devoted to bringing you quality used cars listings, all under $20,000. Visit today, and find used Chevrolet cars and more at great prices!
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