The first thing that you need to remember is that you are going to make money when you buy not when you sell so that means that you need to seek out a good deal when
you buy the wheels. Get this right and you will be well on your way to making a profit when you sell.
Where to look
If you are serious about doing this it will mean a bit of leg work, checking out classified, car auctions and eBay for cars being sold by the owner. The reason we say that is that it is rare to be able to buy a car cheap enough from a dealer, to make the profit that makes it worthwhile. Without the overheads of a showroom and staff the private seller can be more flexible on price.
Get an idea of price
Check out the list prices for the car you have your eye on and don’t just check one source, get really familiar with the prices that are being offered from the highest to the lowest so that you have the best idea of where to pitch your offer. You can use this knowledge when you are haggling with the seller to show them that you have done your homework and know what the value should be. Also make sure that you know what the price would be if the car was sold into a dealership because often a seller will come down to that price knowing it is less of a hassle selling privately than going to a dealer.
Looks are everything
Sellers are naturally going to go for the highest price they see mentioned on car value
sites to pitch their car at so you will need to check some things carefully before you
make your offer. Look at things like:
• Does the mileage look right for the age of the car?
• Are there a lot of scrapes, dents and other damage?
• How do the tyres look?
• Does the car have a full service history?
• How long is the MOT on the vehicle?
Looking the car over
When you check the car always make sure that you start the car yourself. It is not a good sign if the car is already on and running. The most energy is used by the car to start from a cold engine so if there are any problems, they are most likely to show up when you start the car with loud noises, clunks and clicks or other signs that all is not well. Check levels of oil and water too, and even open the bonnet as the engine is running to look and listen for anything does not look right. Look for anything that seems frayed or stained, and question that. At the very least the seller will realise that you are someone who knows what they are doing. If you can, you should always take a car you intend to buy for a test drive to check it drives smoothly and cleanly and the gears are not grinding. Brake hard at some point, so that you can assess if the brakes work well.
Check check check!
Check that the window electrics and the AC if it has it, is working and anything else electrical inside the car. If everything checks out then – haggle!
Once you have bought a car at an advantageous price then you can use our selling guide to get the very best price for it, with the tweaks we mentioned in our ‘selling your car’ article, that will see your newly bought car speeding off into the distance like Jensen Button with it’s new owner at the wheel, and a tidy profit in your pocket.