Buying a Car Sight Unseen  

 

In the Internet age, it’s entirely possible to buy a car you’ve never seen before. Car dealerships and private sellers turn to the vast audience of the world wide web looking for the perfect buyer for what they have to sell. It’s easier than ever to create an ad on websites like Cars.com that reach millions of potential buyers every single day. If the car you’re dying to have is located several hundred miles away, you’ll have a choice to make. Do you feel confident enough seeing images of the car, reading vehicle reports and talking to the seller to buy it sight unseen? If the answer is yes, congratulations on being such a risk taker. Big risks can pay off in a big way. If you’re apprehensive, you should remember a few things as you embark on your Internet car shopping adventure.

First things first; if the listing doesn’t already offer a CarFax report, request one from the seller to see what the history of the car is like. This report will tell you if the car has ever been in an accident, in a flood, experienced major structural damage, offer a rundown of the vehicle’s service history, ownership history and present any red flags that there might be relative to the car. Never buy anything online without seeing this report first. Run, don’t walk, away from anyone trying to sell a car who is unwilling to show a vehicle history report regardless what kind of deal they’re offering.

Most online car listings feature photographs of the car. The seller may inadvertently, or on purpose, not include photos of certain parts of the car. Make sure you request to see photos or video of the entire car especially parts that get a lot of wear and tear like upholstery, the bumper and front end, side doors and the car’s undercarriage. If a seller gets squirrely about any image angels you request, accept that as a red flag and move no further with the conversation.

You can also hire a third party inspector to check out the car in your absence. Doing this will give you peace of mind and could keep you from making a $25,000, or more, mistake that you can’t take back. Car inspectors are pretty easy to find in almost any community around the country. There are plenty of other tips and tricks to keep in mind before forking over cash for a car you’ve never seen. You would be wise to do a lot of research before you embark on this kind of transaction.

 

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