When you’re in search of your new ride, it’s sometimes possible to find a better deal when you’re working with a private seller as opposed to buying a car directly from a dealership.

Here are some tips on how to navigate the process of buying a car from a private seller in a safe manner that will have you concluding your business confidently.

Negotiating Price

When you’re buying a car from a private seller, price is one of the most important considerations. Unlike at a dealership, private sellers are more willing to negotiate pricing with you.

Understand the numbers. Before you begin the negotiation process, it’s best to be equipped with knowledge yourself. To make sure you go into your meeting with your private seller with confidence, do your due diligence ahead of time by researching the value of the car you’re interested in on a site like Kelly Blue Book. Taking this important step first will help you avoid overpaying for your new car.

Private sellers have a tendency to start off asking for more than even they think they can get for the car they are trying to sell. Know this going into the negotiation. Start low and you’re more likely to reach a price both of you are comfortable with.

Quality of the car

When buying a car from a private seller, it’s important to consider the quality of the vehicle you are about to buy. While dealerships have access to detailed vehicle history reports, private sellers may not. You should also make sure that you trust the person you are working with before trying to buy a car from him or her.

Take a test drive. Always test drive the vehicle before making your ultimate decision. You’ll be able to make an informed decision based upon first-hand knowledge of the vehicle. For example, how good is the car’s handling? Do you notice any unusual noises or smells coming from the vehicle? Make sure you get all of the information you think you need before making your final decision.

Read the report. The car’s VIN number can help you gain access to a CarFax report. You’ll be able to see the car’s accident history, service history, and ownership history.

Inspect the car thoroughly. Examine the inside and outside of the car. Do you see any scratches, scrapes, or dents? Is the windshield cracked? Are the tires properly inflated and do they have do tread or are they significantly worn? Any points of concerns should be addressed to the seller first. If you have a friend who is experienced with vehicle inspections and examinations, consider bringing them along with you to the sale.

Comparison Shop

In addition to researching the value of the car, be sure to compare vehicles of a similar make from different manufacturers in order to help you make the best educated decision.

Online resources like YouTube are great for gaining knowledge about cars you may be interested in.

Doing your research about such things as performance, fuel economy, and overall quality will help you in your decision-making process.

Buy Securely and Safely

Getting the car by legal means is vitally important. Insist on getting a notarized title from the seller to make sure that your ownership of the car is legal. If the seller is hesitant to provide a title for you, walk away from the deal.

Consider cash alternatives. Paying by cash can be risky because it’s hard to trace. Instead of using cash, consider alternative means of payment like check or money order. Avoid situations where sellers are asking for things like wire transfers or cashier’s checks.

Use Caution. Before making a purchase from a private seller, make sure you can identify them properly first. Check their contact information and address and consider meeting them in a public place to complete the purchase of the vehicle.