Alan’s Rockstar Guide to Buying a Car Online
You can buy a car online!
It’s 2015, and you can buy a car from your sofa. If visiting the dealership just isn’t your thing, or if you live in the middle of nowhere and would love to buy that Jeep that the one dealership in your town doesn’t offer, you’re in luck. Ebay Motors, Craigslist, Carvana, Beepi…these are just some of the options for online car buying. These sites have made car buying almost as simple as ordering a pizza. And with the rise of e-commerce, the individual consumer segment is buying and selling cars online more than ever!
There’s a few unique challenges that come up when buying or selling cars online. First, you can buy a car from anywhere! That’s pretty cool, but how do you get it home if you’re in Texas and your dream car is in California? Thankfully, Crestline helps consumers transport cars across the United States every day, so that’s no problem! How can you be sure the car you’re buying is in good condition? This “sight unseen” purchase has become more commonplace, and it’s a far cry from the traditional consumer approach to car buying. The traditional car buying experience is like a courtship between buyer and seller; the buyer wants to be able to touch, feel, and even see the car in action.
As a buyer (or a seller!) Here are five steps we ABSOLUTELY recommend when conducting the car buying process online! Pay attention because these steps are from Crestline’s fearless leader Alan B. Levy, who has over 25 years of experience in the transport industry. Completing these steps helps to ensure you’re making a good investment, without any unexpected surprises.
RESEARCH Even if you are heading to the dealership, this should always be step number one: research, research, research. Check out reviews from other people the seller has sold to (you can always ask for references!) Know the value of the car you’re getting, ask for the vehicle’s maintenance history, and ask for any other information you can get. If you’re selling, know the market value of your vehicle.
PICTURES & VIDEO If you’re the seller, offer this! If you’re the buyer, ask for as many pictures of the car in as many angles as possible. Pay close attention to the all the areas of the car, from bumper to bumper, hood to bottom. Also, ask for video of the car running, with hood open, as well as driving on the road. You’ll be able to hear the engine, have proof that it starts and runs, and you can check that all electrical components inside and out are working and in good condition.
PHONE A FRIEND Once you are satisfied that that the seller is honest and trustworthy, consider asking a friend located near the seller to take the car on a test drive. (If you don’t have a friend, check out step number 4!) Your friend does not have to be a gear head or even know anything about cars. But, they can provide you with general insight on the car. How does it ride? Does it smell? Are the tires in good condition? Hey, if the car passes the friend test, then you should feel comfortable to move on to the next step.
HIRE A MECHANIC Let’s say you don’t have a friend or an acquaintance who can do the sniff test. Consider hiring a respected mechanic to inspect the car. Getting a thorough condition report by a 3rd party expert is a critical step to ensuring that you are getting the information you need to make a sound car buying decision. Not sure of what mechanic to use? Ask us! We’re car shipping experts, but also just general car experts. We’ve always got connections to offer for situations just like this!
GO IN, EYES WIDE OPEN If your car is located in another city and you’re not able to get good feedback or communication from the seller, you may want to consider going to see the car in person. This is not the most convenient option, but particularly for classic or antique cars this may be the next best step.
With everything that you do online in a car purchase, get it in writing! Documents, agreed upon price, condition of the car – ask for everything in a written and signed form. These documents can back you up later if there are any problems with the vehicle, or if the seller has offered you any kind of guarantee. Last of all…get a GREAT deal and enjoy driving the car you love!
Need advice from car experts? Buying a car online that’s across the country? Call us at Crestline or request a quote and let us help. We make car buying online possible. No need to spend hundreds of dollars and hours (possibly days) of your time trying to get your car home. Ship it with Crestline Auto Transport!