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A Buyers Guide to Purchasing a Vehicle Privately


What to look for when buying privately, how to ensure you buy right & how you can obtain car finance for private car sales

Buying a pre-owned set of wheels can be an exciting time and the perfect opportunity to bag a bargain. Whether you’re buying your first car or looking for something different, there are many factors to consider before making the purchase. From pre-approval of finance to organizing a vehicle check, there plenty to consider.

One of the biggest questions to consider is buying from a private seller vs. buying from a dealer. The buying private vs. dealer question is another important factor to consider when making sure you obtain the right vehicle at the right price. Below is our guide to help you find the best car to buy from a private seller.

buying-private-sellerWhat’s your budget?

When it comes to finding the right car, regardless of the seller, affordability plays a major role in the decision making process. Calculate how much you can afford to spend in monthly repayments, taking into account the cost of:

  • Registration
  • Insurance
  • Petrol
  • Car maintenance
  • Tyre replacement

At The Loan Panel, we have a range of finance options available and can help you find the best low interest rate car loans to suit you and your needs. We have fixed rate car loans starting from as little as 4.4%!

Do your research

Firstly, you must determine what vehicle is best suited to your lifestyle and budget. Search and compare the value of cars using Redbook. Here, you can find valuable information such as car prices and safety ratings to determine the right car for you. Once you’ve identified the type of vehicle you’re looking to purchase, arrange pre-approval through – we can take your application over the phone, email or in person.

Know the vehicle’s history

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s important to get a clear picture of the vehicle’s history and having the right information about the vehicle will help determine whether this is the car for you.

Ask the right questions to the current owner, such as;

  • How long have you owned the car for?
  • Why have you decided to sell your car?
  • How many previous owners has the car had?
  • Has it been involved in any accidents?
  • How many kilometers has the car done?
  • How much does it cost to fill the tank?
  • Is the vehicle registered and insured?
  • Does the car have a service log book?
  • When was the last time the car had a major service?
  • Does it have any issues?
  • How long has it been since the tyres have been replaced?

When you think you’ve found the right car for you, we recommend organizing an independent third party inspection of the vehicle to ensure everything under the hood is in proper working order. This will save you time, money and heartache down the road.

Take it for a test drive

Ensuring everything is mechanically sound should be something you concentrate on when making final decision.

What to look for:

  • Engine runs smoothly when accelerating, decelerating on flat roads and hills
  • The steering wheel shouldn’t move more than 5cm on either side
  • The brakes are in good working condition
  • Check for any rattling or strange noises
  • The gears should change smoothly
  • Make sure the warning lights on the dashboard aren’t on

When you’ve found the one

At The Loan Panel, our goal is to make your car purchasing journey as smooth as possible. Once you’ve agreed on the final purchase price for the vehicle with the seller, inform your finance consultant from The Loan Panel so we can being doing the background work for you. We will liaise with the seller on your behalf and arrange for a PPSR, ensuring the car is debt free and has not been deemed a repairable write off or stolen. From the seller, we will arrange to obtain a copy of the rego paper, the seller’s driver’s license and bank details. This will also help to confirm proof of ownership of the vehicle ensuring the vehicle belongs to the seller and no monies are owed.

We provide fast finance to get you in your new car sooner

Once we have ‘clear title’, we will arrange with the lender for finance contracts to be issued and get the necessary paperwork over to you. Once you receive, review and sign the documents, we will process settlement to the seller, this is usually an overnight transfer. So once we settle, the money will show overnight into the account of the seller and you can then arrange to collect your vehicle. Like any finance, you will still require comprehensive insurance which we can help you to arrange.

Don’t give up your warranty options just because you’re buying privately

The Loan Panel is partnered with Australia’s biggest warranty company and can offer you a wide range of warranties that cover parts and labour costs for mechanical components of the vehicle. Options range from 1-5 years for warranties.

happy-couple-buying-car-private-sellerBuying privately vs. dealership

When it comes to buying a pre-owned car, both private sellers and dealerships have their own advantages and disadvantages. Before choosing which option is best for you, consider the pros and cons of buying your vehicle privately vs. buying from a dealership:


The Advantages

  • Potential to trade in your old vehicle
  • A dealership is legally obligated to ensure the vehicle isn’t stolen or has any money owing against it
  • Car must be roadworthy
  • Statutory warranty must be provided
  • The dealership will handle all the necessary paperwork and transfer of title and registration

The Disadvantages

  • Usually charge a higher price without much room to negotiate
  • The sales team rely on sales commissions, as a result, they can often employ pushy sales tactics

Private Seller

The Advantages

  • Private sellers are generally cheaper
  • You have room to negotiate the price of the vehicle
  • If the seller is eager to sell the vehicle, they may accept “ONO” (Or Near Offer)

The Disadvantages

  • Vehicles purchased through private sellers do not come with warranties
  • Private sellers are not regulated by the government and aren’t bound by the same laws as a dealership
  • They aren’t legally required to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy
  • As a buyer, it is your responsibility to organize a vehicle inspection, however, it has to be at a time convenient to the seller
  • Typically, private sellers aren’t interested in trade-ins
  • All the necessary paperwork, including transfer of title, registration and associated tax and fees, are the responsibility of you and the seller

When you use the Loan Panel to obtain your finance for your privately bought vehicle, many of these issues above can be overcome. This makes buying privately an attractive alternative to dealers.

Speak to one of The Loan Panel’s consultants today to find out how we can help you obtain your next car privately with our low rate car loans, and easy end to end service.