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5 Places to Buy a Car Other Than a Dealership

5 Places to Buy a Car Other Than a Dealership

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Many people assume that they need to buy their used or new car at a dealership. Truth is, there are many other ways for this transaction to go down these days. And while buying a car at a dealership is still probably the most common route, it can be stressful if you’re not prepared. Many dealers will try to endlessly renegotiate with you. Even if you show up with an Internet quote in hand, it seems like they’re always trying to get you up a notch (or more) in price. It can be an exhausting experience, and might not even end with you getting the car of your dreams. Looking to possibly go another route?

Read on for 5 Places to Buy a Car Other Than a Dealership

1. For-Sale-by-Owner


We’ve all heard of people getting cars on Craigslist and the like. Some are horror stories while the other transactions go off without a hitch. The reality is that both are possibilities, but you’re more likely to have the latter happen—if you’re prepared. First and foremost, meet this person at a public place and ideally bring someone with you. Make sure you get a copy of the title so you know this person actually owns the car as well as necessary maintenance documentation. Note: be wary of anyone that doesn’t let you test-drive the car, or dictates what you can touch during your inspection.

On a positive note, you’ll probably save a ton money, as you’re cutting out the middle men and the expenses that come with them. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll likely have to pay in full and in cash (or cashier’s check). And while Craigslist is probably the most well-known listing site, various forums, classified ads, or even “For Sale” signs on cars are all ways to find a for-sale-by-owner transaction.

2. Through an Auction

When you think of an auction, you probably think of art or an estate sale, but there are auction sites you can use to find a good deal on a car such as eBay Motors. Raphael Orlove of car blogger site Jalopnik notes:

“That every car gets national exposure makes it harder to find a great deal yourself, but eBay Motors is generally more reliable and easier to deal with than Craigslist. It’s also good when you already know what you want, and you’re looking for something very specific.”

3. No-Haggle Offline Dealers

Getting a car from these types of dealers is probably the most convenient buying option, as they offer fixed prices and save you the trouble of negotiation. You’re in, you’re out, and you’ve got the car of your dreams… perhaps even something like this Tiguan for sale in the Mall of Georgia from Autonation. With sites like these, you can start your search online and head to your local location. Better yet, you didn’t have go through a 10-step negotiation process—that often includes walking away first.

4. Car Concierges

If you’re the type of person who always valets instead of self-parks, you’re going love this option. As this article by NerdWallet.com puts it:

Auto concierges learn about a shopper’s vehicle needs and preferences then do the legwork. That includes searching dealership inventories, haggling and negotiating extended warranty contracts. Concierges will even have the car delivered to your home or office so you can sign the sales contract.”

Services like Shift might charge an upfront flat fee, but this is often offset by the amount the concierge saves you by negotiating. Even better, this is all done without you having set foot on a car lot. It’s still a fairly new option, though; there are only a few companies that currently offer this kind of service.

5. Club Car-Buying Programs

Considering so many people are members of Costco, AutoClub, and American Express, it’s a wonder you don’t hear more about how these business have their own auto-buying programs. Some credit unions offer this, as well. All you have to do is go online and input the features of your ideal car, and representatives will search for that car for you. There might be a nominal fee, although most of these programs are free as long as you are a member. The only downside is that they might not be able to get you the exact car you want, but they can talk knowledgably with you about other options.

If the idea of heading into a car dealership to get your next vehicle makes your skin crawl, you’ll be glad to know that other options exist. Try one of these and you could end up with your ideal car, all without heading to the car lot.

1 thought on “5 Places to Buy a Car Other Than a Dealership

    • Auctions are great way of buying cars then flipping it for profit. If you play auctions well, you could get cars for a lot cheaper than buying it from their previous owners. Invest a little money in to your bought car, refurbish it a bit, then sell it for profit! A lot of people do this and its a great way to earn some cash.

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