Thursday, July 25, 2013

Used Car Buyers - How do you plan to pay?

When looking to purchase a used car from a private individual, you need to know how you plan to pay. Unlike shopping at a dealership where financing options are available, you will need to either pay cash or check to a private seller.

Here are a few options:

Cash – Don’t roll up with $20k in a briefcase, but don’t be hesitant to offer cash if you have it. It’s a very powerful negotiating tool. When seller knows they can have cash in hand they may be tempted to lower the price.

Check – For larger purchases, you can always write a check (most common method). Know that some sellers will want to allow the appropriate time for checks to clear, etc. Keep this in mind if you have to travel a good distance to purchase the vehicle.

Financing – Some buyers will finance, but this isn't common. Consider looking into a home equity loan or line of credit. The great thing about this method is that the interest is tax deductible. You could also go to the bank and get a personal loan. In any case, know what you plan to spend and get pre-approved.


- Cash talks
- Checks need to clear
- Get pre-approved for loans

Be Smart and Safe When Showing Your Vehicle to Buyers

It is important to be cautious, smart and safe when showing your vehicle to potential buyers that contact you. Taking a few simple precautions can ensure you do not fall victim to theft or unsavory characters.

When selling a used car, sellers must keep in mind that some individuals troll online listings to find potential victims. This can mean car theft or in some cases bodily harm to the seller. Here are a few tips to prevent things like this from occurring.

Avoid Meeting Unknown Individuals Alone
Always try to meet prospective buyers with a spouse, friend, neighbor or significant other. If you can’t get someone to join you, meet in a public area where there are other individuals around.

Test Drives
Never give an individual you don’t know the keys to your car without some type of collateral. Have them give you their keys, a wallet or something they would have to come back for. If they don’t have collateral, write down all of their info on their driver’s license. Also make them show you proof of insurance. If you wish to ride along with them, do not do so alone and proceed with caution. You never know what type of driver they are.

Don’t Meet at Home
It’s always best to meet unknown individuals in public areas away from your home. A mall or grocery store parking lot is great; tons of people around and typically security/ cameras to deter criminals.

Conversely, all of the previous precautions apply to those buying used cars. Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. They could be trying to lure individuals to remote locations. It’s always best for buyers and sellers to meet in public areas with other individuals present.

Don't Fall Victim to Used Car Buying Scams

Selling a used car online is the most effective way to get it in front of tons of prospective buyers. Unfortunately it’s also a great way to get it in front of scammers. With a little knowledge and caution, sellers can have a safe and successful experience.

The most common used car buying scam is…
the counterfeit cashier’s check scam. This one has unfortunately been around since the 1990’s. It remains effective because:

1) Most individuals perceive cashier’s checks to be as good as cash.
2) Banks do not have the ability to validate the authenticity of a cashier’s check instantly.

Here is how it works:
Scammers will contact a used car seller via email. Typically they are overseas or in a foreign country. They want to purchase a vehicle with a cashier’s check and have the seller ship it to them. The ‘Buyer’ will typically make the check out for the amount of the car plus the shipping costs and sometimes a little extra for the seller’s efforts.

Most sellers are cautious and wait for cashier’s check to arrive. They then take it to the bank and get cash. Once they have the cash in hand, they will call the shipping company to come pick up the car. Up to this point, things seem to be going well.

In a matter of days, the bank will determine that the cashier’s check was counterfeit. Unfortunately, it is up to the seller to give these funds back to the bank. In some cases, the car has already been shipped, the shipper has been paid and the seller is left to deal with paying back the bank.

What to watch out for:
- Messages from individuals in foreign countries
- Messages are typically via email or text
- Individuals who want to pay with cashier’s checks (foreign)
- Buyers that want to purchase the vehicle sight unseen and have it shipped

Welcome to OnceDriven's blog.

Welcome to the blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide helpful insight, tips and advice for those in the market to buy or sell used cars (or any vehicle for that matter). If you have questions or topics you would like us to cover, let us know. We've helped many people buy and sell used vehicles online and hope to pass on some of this knowledge to you.  If you haven't checked out Once Driven please do so.