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There are important questions to ask when you buy a car and those you need to be prepared for when you sell one. Gathering information helps a buyer determine if a vehicle is right for them. When you are that consumer, don’t be shy about asking important details that can influence your decision. If you are selling a vehicle, offer as much information as you can. Be honest when a potential buyer asks you questions too.
Common FAQs when Buying a Car
1. Is there a warranty?
A warranty on a vehicle can give you peace of mind, but the coverage can vary. It can provide a false sense of security if the coverage isn’t adequate. The timeframe should be carefully reviewed too. A generous warranty that covers plenty of scenarios is encouraging to a potential buyer. When buying a used vehicle from a private seller, there isn’t going to be a warranty. The one exception is if they still have a manufacturer warranty that can be transferred to a new owner.
2. Are there any concerns I should know about?
Put it on the line, ask if there are any concerns you should know about. The seller should be honest with you about the condition of the vehicle. A private seller can share any issues they have had and their maintenance routine for the vehicle. A dealership can share with you any inspections they completed and the items they corrected or fixed before they put it up for sale.
You can also ask the question a different way, asking when was the last time a mechanic took a look at the vehicle. Both a dealership and a private owner should be able to answer this question for you. Those details can help you understand if you are taking a risk buying that vehicle or not. You can also ask them if you can take the vehicle to have it inspected by a 3rd party of your choice. If they have nothing to hide, they won’t mind you doing this. Keep in mind, you will be the one paying for that inspection.
3. What types of financing do you offer? What fees would be added into the offer?
When you buy from a dealership, you have options to finance the vehicle. This typically applies to both used and new vehicles. Ask about the types of financing they offer. The goal is to find something that fits your situation. Some loans require a percentage down and others don’t require anything at all.
Dealerships often run promotions you can benefit from that will save you on finance charges. There may be discounts or incentives you qualify for. Hopefully, they fully disclose those offers to entice you into the purchase. Not all sales people will do so though, and that is why you should ask what is on the table.
Any additional fees from the lender have to be disclosed at the time of purchase. It is wise to ask about them before you commit to buying a vehicle. The cost of those fees can add up quickly, even if they are added into your loan. The dealership should give you a breakdown of those fees and what they are specifically for.
4. Do you have the title to this vehicle?
If you plan to buy from a private seller, find out if they have the title and ask to see it. Verify it is in their name and the VIN# matches the vehicle. If they don’t have the title and you pay for it, you may struggle to take legal ownership of it. If there is a lien against the vehicle, for example, that entity has the legal right to it.
If the seller has to pay off a loan before they can give you the title, due diligence is important. Ask them to verify how much they owe on the vehicle and who they owe it to. They can present you with a document verifying the payoff. Agree to pay them for the vehicle if it is put into writing they will pay that lender within 3 business days of you giving them the funds. Put it into writing they will sign the title over to you once that lender releases it to them.
5. Has this vehicle been involved in any accidents you are aware of?
Always ask if the vehicle has been involved in any accidents. If they have owned the vehicle for some time, they should have this information. At the very least, they can share with you when they purchased it and how many years it has been in their possession. A dealership can run a Carfax on the vehicle to get that history. You can also pay for one on your own, you just need the VIN#.
Common FAQs when Selling a Car
1. Why are you selling the vehicle?
When you have a vehicle for sale, it is common for potential buyers to have questions. Do your best to answer them completely and honestly. You don’t want anyone to feel taken advantage of when they purchase from you. They may ask you why you are selling the vehicle. You can share the whole story or just the details you desire. It can be hard to be open with strangers.
For example, you may have to sell it because you can’t afford it or you need the cash. You don’t have to discuss your financial situation with them, but you can share with them you need some extra money and you don’t need the vehicle. Perhaps you are moving and don’t want to take it with you or you need something larger for your family. They want to make sure you aren’t selling it because there are problems with it.
2. Is there anything wrong with it?
You will have better luck selling a vehicle in good condition and running properly. However, you may not have the time or the money to put into repairing a vehicle. If the price reflects what has to be done to it, you can still sell it. However, you have to be upfront about it. For example, you may tell them it runs well but it needs new brakes. This isn’t going to end the deal from their point of view, but they are going to factor in the cost of new brakes when they make their final decision.
3. Has the vehicle been properly maintained?
Regular maintenance will extend the life of a vehicle. It helps the engine run smoothly and reduces the potential for major problems. If you have the maintenance records, provide them to the potential buyer. They will like seeing it has had the oil changed regularly. If you recently invested in the vehicle such as new tires, brakes, or other expenses, show them the documentation.
4. What is the lowest amount you can take for it?
You can’t blame consumers for trying to buy a used car for the best price they can! What is the lowest amount you will take for it? If they have cash on the spot, it may entice you to take less for it if they will pay you right then. If you owe money on it or you need a certain amount for the vehicle, be polite but remain firm. Share with them the lowest you can go on it. If there is room to negotiate though, this can make the difference between you selling it to them or them walking away.
5. Does the vehicle have any extras or special features?
If you have upgraded anything with the vehicle, this can be a huge selling point. It can justify a higher asking price too. Perhaps you upgraded the stereo or you just put snow tires on it. You will also give them the all-season tires that you took off of it when they buy it. If you added accessories such as lights or upgraded the interior, make sure you point out those perks.