If you asked a group of people where they bought their last car, most likely virtually all of them would say at a new car or used car dealer. There are many good, honest dealers out there, but there are also some that do business dishonestly. If you were burned on your last experience with a car dealer, here are some options for alternatives on where to buy a car.
One of the most common ways to get a used car outside of a dealer is to purchase it through a private seller. Private sellers list their vehicles through newspaper classifieds, but also through websites such as Craigslist. If you choose to go through this option, make sure that the seller is willing to let you get the vehicle checked out by a mechanic of your choice. This is especially important as the mechanic will be able to alert you to any possible issues you might face in the near future. It's also a good idea to run the VIN # through Carfax.com, to get a history on the vehicle and see if it has been in any bad accidents.
Another source for private sellers is through online auction websites. You might have used such sites in the past to purchase housewares and kids' clothing, but were you aware that you can also purchase cars on internet auction sites? This can broaden you options beyond what is available in your immediate city. Should you decide to purchase the car at a remote location, make sure that you still have it checked out by a mechanic who is local to the seller before finalizing the sale.
What about Financing?
One of the reasons people opt to purchase a car through the dealer is that they need financing. But are there options for financing if you purchase through a private seller or online auction? The answer is YES! Banks and credit unions can help you get the car that you want, even if its through a private seller. You would go to the lender and explain to them the type of car you are looking for. Assuming that the bank approves your car loan, they will give you a cashier's check for the full amount of the vehicle. You would then use this check to pay off the seller, and you would make payments on the loan to the bank. Visit with your local bank or financial institution to find out what your options are when dealing with a private seller.