Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller

A private car purchase can very well be a bargain and save you some money. However, it does come with higher risks. If something goes wrong, you do not have the same legal protection under the Consumer Protection Act as you do when buying from a pre-owned vehicle from a dealership, and in worst case scenarios, the vehicle could be stolen or end up being a rotten tomato. Buying privately also takes more effort on your part, and can be a real time-sucker.

When buying from a dealership, all the checks and balances are dealt with and you're saved the need to handle the administration and paperwork process yourself.

If you choose to go the private route, there are a number of important things to remember before closing the deal. The following are important points to bear in mind along with some tips:

Do Your Homework

Don't waste time. Before arranging a visit to view, ask the seller everything that you can about the car. Are you the seller? How long have you owned the vehicle? Does it have service history records? Is it still under finance? Has it been in an accident? What's the mileage? What condition is it in? Then, when you view, check that all of the information provided matches up. It's one way to tell if the seller is honest and trustworthy or not. If he or she tells you it's in good nick, and you see scratches and torn seats, start looking elsewhere.

Roadworthy Certificate

This piece of paper means that the vehicle meets the minimum safety requirements for driving on the road. It is not a guarantee that the car is problem-free or even in good condition.

A roadworthy certificate can be obtained from a testing station with the following documentation:

  • The vehicle's registration certificate;
  • Your identification document;
  • Completed application form.

VIN and Engine Number

You can ask for a police clearance certificate from the seller, but to be extra cautious also take down the details of the number plate, chassis number (VIN) and engine number and run a check at a police station to ensure that you are not buying a stolen vehicle. Also make sure that these details match up with the registration papers.

Payment

There are different ways to make payment of the sale of a used vehicle. The finance institution will advise but one way is that if the vehicle is still under finance, the balance should be paid directly to the bank, and proof of payment sent to the seller. Once the seller has received the registration papers from the bank, the net amount can be paid to the seller.

Registration

Once the deal has been agreed to, the vehicle must then be registered in the new owner's name. Both the buyer and seller are involved in this procedure. The following documentation is required:

  • Identification document;
  • The seller's vehicle registration certificate;
  • A roadworthy certificate;
  • Proof of purchase or Sales Agreement;
  • A valid motor vehicle licence;
  • The completed registration application form.

Sales Agreement

This contract is necessary for the transfer of ownership of the vehicle, and should include:

  • Names, addresses, ID number, and contact details of both parties;
  • Details of the vehicle: make, model, registration number, VIN number, registration number, colour, odometer reading;
  • Time, date and location of the sale;
  • Purchase amount.

There's no doubt that buying or selling a car privately is a complicated procedure, so tread with caution and don't hesitate to get advice. In doing so, you could be rewarded with a great car for years to come.

Disclaimer: Note that the content on this website are guidelines only and Auto Pedigree and the content creators take no responsibility for any loss or damage incurred.

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