Tips, Tricks & Trends

Best Ways To Find Private Sale Cars

Going to the dealership can be a complete and total drag on your day. Dealing with salespeople and not knowing if you’re getting a good deal can be hard, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Some times it seems like a better option to buy a car privately, which means you are buying directly from the owner of the car. This comes with some peril of its own, but there are some things you can do to minimize your risk. So you’ve decided to buy a car private sale, but where do you start looking?

While there are several online platforms that you can use to purchase a car online through a private sale, these websites typically have associates fees and costs on the seller or purchaser’s end. However, there are some services that simply connect the buyer and the seller, with no additional costs.

A 2007 Toyota Camry on display at an auto show.
A 2007 Toyota Camry | Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images

Facebook marketplace

Facebook marketplace is the up and coming contender for private sales, whether it be cars or old furniture, you might be surprised what you find here. The Facebook marketplace is an extension of Facebook that allows users to post whatever they want to sell for anyone with a Facebook account to see.

The Facebook marketplace does have some good tools that help ensure you are making a good decision. The first is that all sellers and buyers have a profile within the marketplace that allows you to see how other people have rated their buying experience with that person. This will help alert you to any potential spam or red flags, which is a bonus you don’t get from other sales platforms.

The marketplace also gives you price comparisons for the car you are viewing, as well as any information it believes will be helpful in making your purchase. It does this by showing you how the price of the car ranks in the used car market, taking into consideration the mileage inputted and how good of a condition the car is reported to be in.

Phone apps

There are even some phone apps available now to help you with your search for a private sale car. Applications like LetGo don’t handle any exchange of funds or charge fees, and the app works a lot like the Facebook marketplace where it just connects the seller with the potential buyer. For the LetGo app users do have to pay a small fee for posting multiple cars, which helps keep dealers from using this platform to advertise as often happens on the Facebook marketplace.

Similar to the Facebook marketplace, users have a profile that allows other buyers or sellers to rate their interactions. Listings can show detailed descriptions and pictures that allow you to view the car, and a messaging system on the app allows you to communicate without exchanging your personal phone number if you don’t want to.

The Facebook marketplace and phone applications typically allow people to set a distance range for cars, allowing you to look at cars in your immediate area or nearby cities. You can review other user profiles for reviews, but it is always safest to agree to view the car and complete the exchange in a public place. If you absolutely don’t want to go to the dealership, you can choose these routes for buying a car in a private sale.