It’s easy to say “use car dealerships are better than private sellers” and just leave it at that and call it a day. Actually proving that point; however, this requires a little more work – and anytime someone makes that kind of declarative statement, you should ask for proof. If you want to buy a used car, but you’re not sure if you should start looking at used car lots in Milwaukee or search for private sellers, then let me help you out a bit.
Before we go any further let me say one thing: yes, you will probably pay less when buying a car from its previous owner. That is absolutely true, so if the only thing that matters to you is paying as little as possible, then a private seller might be your best bet. But there are some serious reasons to look beyond that one thing, and focus on the big picture to make sure you get the best deal you can.
#1 – Variety and Choices
Personally, when I’m shopping for something, I like having a lot of options and variety to choose from. Whether I’m looking for a loaf of bread, buying a computer, or shopping for a car, I want options so that I can find something that really meets my needs. It’s not just about colors and flashy options (though don’t get wrong, those things are great), it’s about real choices and being able to find something that ticks all of the boxes I’m looking for.
When you choose a used car lot in Milwaukee, you typically get a lot more options than when you buy from a private seller. I can already hear you saying, “But the internet!” Yes, the internet – you can find websites with seemingly endless options from every private seller from Waukesha to the Rocky Mountains. That’s all well and good, but it’s also complete chaos with very little in the way of quality control. With used car dealerships, you know the dealership has done its due diligence to ensure their vehicles are in the best condition possible.
#2 – Financing Options
This is one of the big ones, and really could be the only reason you need to choose a used car lot in Milwaukee rather than a private seller. If you buy from someone directly, then you typically have one choice: pay the full amount in cash. That’s it. Private sellers aren’t interested in helping you get a loan from a bank or giving you a loan that you pay back – they want the full amount upfront.
With a used car dealership, they want to sell you a vehicle, and they will work with you to get you financing. Whether that’s a traditional auto loan through a bank or other lender, or a “Buy Here Pay Here” loan from them, their goal is to help you buy a car. Unless you have the money to pay the entire asking price for a vehicle right now, your best bet will typically be a used car lot in Milwaukee rather than a private seller.
#3 – Trade-Ins
Speaking of paying for a vehicle, one of the best ways to reduce the price of a used car is with a trade-in of your own. Few and far between are the private sellers that are interested in taking an old car off your hands to reduce the price of what they’re selling you. For the most part, they don’t care about a trade; they just want cash for their vehicle.
Used car lots in Milwaukee, however, are often more than happy to take a trade-in to help reduce the price of a vehicle. The quality of your trade-in will impact how much it helps, of course, but even a thousand bucks off the vehicle price can make a big impact.
#4 – The Wisconsin Buyers Guide
This is another huge reason to shop at used car lots in Milwaukee rather than with a private seller, as a car-buyer if you shop at a licensed Wisconsin dealership (and you should definitely only buy at licensed dealers), you are protected by the state’s Motor Vehicle Trade Practice Laws. Specifically, these laws cover a number of things dealerships cannot do to try to deceive you – and they require the presence of the Wisconsin Buyers Guide label on every used vehicle.
The Guide has to be clearly placed on the window of a used vehicle and must provide the following information to you:
- Vehicle Use – If it was owned privately, leased, used as an emergency vehicle, etc.
- Title Brands – This includes information about flood damage or if it was rebuilt.
- Year, Make, and Model – This will also include the VIN and engine size with transmission type.
- Warranty Information – Either any warranty still covering the vehicle or “as is” if there is no coverage.
- Condition – This includes the general condition of the vehicle and specifically the condition of any safety equipment.
To ascertain this information, the dealership must take the vehicle for a test drive and give it a thorough inspection to check the exterior, underside, and under the hood for signs of damage or repairs. Anything they learn in their inspection must be provided on the Wisconsin Buyers Guide. This law only applies to licensed dealerships – private sellers are under no such obligation to provide this kind of information.
#5 – Legal Protection
This goes hand-in-hand with that last one, but since the Wisconsin Buyers Guide is required by law, if a used car lot in Milwaukee violates it in any way, you have recourse. That means if they don’t perform a proper inspection, or they find issues that they are required to report on the Guide but fail to do so, then you can hold them accountable. If you end up with a vehicle that has a poor electrical system, for example, because the dealer didn’t tell you about it, then you have legal protection and can take action against them.
With a private seller, you might be able to take action if they are actively deceptive, but they don’t have to provide you with information like a dealership does. As such, you have much less legal protection for your purchase if something is wrong that they didn’t tell you about.
#6 – A Long-Term Relationship
This is another point that matters to me, but I think a lot of people tend to overlook it. When you shop at a reputable used car lot in Milwaukee, you have the potential to build a long-term relationship with the dealership and the people there. A good dealer wants that – they want to get to know you and turn you into a repeat customer, so it’s in their best interest to treat you well and show you the respect you deserve.
A private seller doesn’t care – they don’t have to. They’re just trying to get rid of an old car and move on with their life. Not only will a good dealership want you to want to come back to them, but they’ll provide long-term support through options for service, maintenance, and repairs when you need them. That’s valuable and well worth paying a little more for.