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When your old, but much-loved car finally takes its last splutter, and is consigned to the local scrap metal merchant, and you know there is no way you can afford the cheapest brand new car, even if the do include free go faster stripes with it. We start to realise that we have to trek through that dangerous swamp infested jungle, that is full of all sorts of predators waiting to trip you up, and devour your hard-earned cash. Yes, I am talking about the second hand car market!!!!
What you may not realise though is that today there are so many different levels to the second-hand car market. There are big national used car companies that will provide you with a car that has been completely serviced, and has passed stringent safety tests. Many of these companies will also offer you some sort of warranty on the car you purchase from them. However, the cars they sell are usually at the top end of the 2nd hand car market, so may still be out of the reach of many people who need a replacement car in a hurry.
Then there is the local car auctions, now here you can sometimes end up with a real bargain, but you also run the risk of picking up a real problem car. There is also the local bargains advertised on such places as Gum Tree, or you may even consider Ebay. The only problem with all 3 of these places to buy a car is that you are probably not going to know who you are buying it from. The other real possibility is that you will come across people who are trying to offload a problem car onto someone else.
Before you run for the hills crying and screaming, or throw your toys out the pram. There is one real alternative that you may not have even thought to consider. Even though you have probably got a direct link to it sat on your laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Still trying to work out what I am talking about?
The answer is Facebook! Yes, that site where you play Farmville or some other animated Cafe thingy game. If you take a careful look at the top of your Facebook page, there is a search option. All you need to do is type in something like “cars for sale in Manchester (or whatever the name of your local town or area is). I live in a very small town in Kent, but when I typed in those details for my town, there were 5 local Facebook groups where you could buy and sell cars from.
So why Facebook? I am sure you are thinking that even on Facebook there is going to be someone trying to offload a car at the end of its life, and you are probably correct, but the truth is you will have less chance of being conned or ripped off. The reason for this is that because you are buying a car locally you are in a better position to view the car at the owners home address, and they will not want you to be banging on their door two days after you have bought it complaining that the drive shaft has just fallen off.
Also, with local selling groups on Facebook they are usually run by people trying to make their group better than anyone else’s, therefore anyone selling dodgy cars will soon get the boot from the group when members start to complain about them.
If you live in a small town there is a good chance that you, or a friend, or family member may know the person who is selling the car, and will be able to vouch if they would trust the seller themselves. If you live in a bigger town or a city then there is more chance that you will not know the seller, but there are few simple tips than you can follow that will help to stop you being ripped off when buying a car locally.
- Always, and I mean always, when you go to view the car take someone with you that knows about cars. If you use a local mechanic, or know one, ask them how much they would charge you, to go with you when you view the motor. Paying a mechanic a small fee could save you hundreds of pounds.
- Always ask to see the car at the owners home address, and check the cars paperwork against the address the car is at. If they want you to view it in a car park, or other location other than their home, decline, if they can not offer a suitable explanation why you cannot view it at their home address.
- If your certain it is the car for you, and you have had someone check it out for you. If possible turn up with cash in your pocket, But never go alone when you are carrying a large amount of cash.
- Only start to talk about the price when you have the cash with you, as you can usually haggle with the seller on the price if they know you have the cash there and then.
- Always ask to see the cars documentation, and don’t be afraid to ask to see past service sheets if they tell you they have it serviced regularly.
- Don’t be put off if the car looks dirty inside or out. A bit of elbow grease is well worth it if you get a good bargain.
I am sure there are more tips that you all follow, if and when you buy a second-hand car from someone. If there are, please share them with us by leaving a comment below.