Car buying: Dealership or private seller?

So you’re ready to buy a car. One of the first questions you should ask yourself is: “Should I buy from a dealership or from a private seller?” Consider the pros and cons of each.

Heading to your local dealer has more perks than the coffee, donuts and giant air dancers. It can be easier to get financing from a dealer than a private seller. Also, a dealership can live or die based on reputation and word-of-mouth, so they’re more likely motivated to provide you with a good car-buying experience than Joe Schmoe. On the other hand, dealerships can be high-pressure environments, and your bottom line price may be higher because of the dealer’s need to maximize profits.

Private dealer
Making your purchase in a one-on-one situation can be a relief when compared with showroom stress, and you’ll probably end up paying less. Also, who better to give you detailed information on a car’s history than its previous owner? That said, trust may be an issue with a private dealer you don’t know, and you usually can’t count on a warranty.

Whichever car-buying route you choose, make sure to do as much homework on the front end as possible. Form a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a vehicle – and how much you’re willing to spend for it. The more preparation you do, the less chance you’ll suffer from sticker shock – or any other nasty surprises.

WBTL-0732 (Mar. 19)

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