Buying a car on Facebook Marketplace can be fun, fast, and affordable. However, there are plenty of risks to consider. You will have to talk with strangers who may be dangerous or hide faults that the car currently has. To manage the risks, use a consumer savvy approach.
There are a lot of roadblocks that come up when buying a used car. It’s important to make smart decisions when embarking on the journey.
Back in the day, there were only so many ways to go about this task:
- The Classified Advertisements in the Local Newspaper: Looking at the classifieds was once a popular hobby. Car listings told shoppers the price, condition, and location of used vehicles. A phone call was made to arrange a meet up, and the sale went from there.
- Trade Magazines: These still exist and are a favorite for the older generations. In diners and taco stands across the city, there are magazines filled with information on used cars available in the local area. It can be a fun way to pass the time, but the Internet sure is faster.
- Used Car Lots: Used car salespeople have a bad reputation, but it isn’t their fault that used cars break down more often than new ones. These machines aren’t built to last more than 12 years, and that’s pushing it for many makes and models – especially when the milage adds up!
- A Sign on the Window: People used to just get a special window marker or put a sign in their window: CAR FOR SALE. A phone number and some other details are listed for all passersby to see. If you want to know about the car, you wait for or call up the owner.
These methods may still work, but the Internet has switched things up in many ways. For example, today, there are people who used Craigslist, eBay, and of course, Facebook Marketplace.
Is Buying a Car on Craigslist Safer than on Facebook?
Many believe that looking at the cars for sale on Facebook is a better idea than Craigslist, but it’s not a universal philosophy.
Craigslist can have some great deals when it comes to used cars. There are people out there who make a living buying, fixing, and selling used cars via this website.
Car shoppers have to be smart, however. Listings with no pictures are a major red flag. Look for listings that provide plenty of photos, details about the car, fair prices, and reliable contacts.
Anything that’s “too good to be true” probably is, so stay away from something like a recent year BMW that’s being sold for just a few thousand bucks.
For safety reasons, it’s advised not to show up to check out a car at somebody’s home or by yourself. Instead, bring a friend (especially a mechanic or great negotiator) and arrange to meet in a public location during the day.
There is another to risk to consider: What if that old car on Craigslist is actually a piece of junk!? This does happen. Some people take their used cars to a mechanic and walk out with a huge estimate in hand. Rather than pay for the repairs or call a junkyard, they opt to sell the car.
There are some cases where this advantageous for the buyer. For example, some mechanics love a fixer upper. They already have the tools and the knowhow to handle a problematic vehicle. They might even fix up the car and sell it later for more cash.
In other cases, sometimes the seller just doesn’t have the funds to pay for the repair, but if they did, the car would be in great shape after the fact. For example, sometimes people who own older foreign cars (BMW, Mercedes, etc.) don’t want to pay for repairs.
They sell the car to somebody who is willing to fork over a cool $2000 for a new transmission if it means they can drive around the vintage luxury ride for a few years.
Remember, sometimes people are dishonest.
There are plenty of Craigslist horror stories of cars that break down the same week they are purchased. The bad news? Contracts and warranties are virtually non-existent when it comes to a Craigslist car, so that means “BUYER BEWARE!”
Facebook Marketplace for Buying a Used Car
Facebook Marketplace is changing how local community members do business; people are even looking into Facebook Cars for Sale.
Before Facebook had its Marketplace, community members found apartments, used furniture, and cars the old-fashioned ways – the newspaper, pounding the pavement, asking friends and family, etc.
Now, modern technology shows us what’s going on in our neck of the woods with ease and functionality. In fact, plenty of people have made it their new hobby to browse Facebook marketplace for apartments and cars just to stay up to date on what’s going on in the market.
A little browsing never hurt anybody!
The cars that are for sale on Facebook range in dependability. The ability to use “filters” to set a budget and maximum distance can be very helpful as well.
For example, if you only have $2400 for a used car and you don’t want to head out more than five miles away to make the purchase, Facebook allows you to set those parameters and make it happen.
Tips for Buying Used Cars for Sale on Facebook
If you are on the hunt for Cars for Sale on Facebook, use these tips to help.
- Use the filters to your advantage. Set the price you want. Only look for manual or automatic cars. How far can you travel to get to the car? These factors are important, and the filters allow you to cut through a lot of red tape in finding whatever it is you want to drive.
- Pay attention to the pictures. They say pictures are worth a thousand words. That couldn’t be truer when looking into used cars. Are there dents in the bumper? What’s the mileage? Look!
- Don’t be impressed by name brands and fancy details. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of driving something like a Lexus or a Land Rover. They’re pretty sweet rides. That being said, some years, makes, and models have problems. Don’t just buy a car for the emblem on the hood – you could end up paying a lot more for it in repairs!
- Research the seller. Check out the seller’s profile to see if they seem reliable. Somebody who has a full profile filled with pictures of their family is probably more reliable than a one-non-face-pic page posting 100s of listings. The seller ranking counts, too.
- Don’t check out the cars alone or in unsafe situations. This can’t be repeated enough – do not go to check out a used car alone, in a dark or suspicious place, or without telling your friends and family where you’re going. Most people are friendly, but there is a risk involved!
- Do your homework. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to find out what types of problems are common in cars. Use a search engine to identify common problems and resale value. Check to see if recalls were done and parts have been replaced. Try to get a guarantee if possible.
- Consider buying from a dealership. Facebook ads are fun and all, but if you need reliability and dependability, you should buy a new or certified used car from a dealer. Not everybody has the bandwidth for dealing with the tricky process of buying a car from a private seller.
At the end of the day, Facebook Marketplace has its benefits and drawbacks when it comes to buying a used car. On the plus side, it’s fun, fast, and easy (for the most part). On the downside, it’s not reliable and could be potentially dangerous. Sometimes the cars aren’t in great condition or are overpriced.
PRO TIP: Rather than buy cars on Facebook Marketplace, there’s another route many people forget. You can find car dealerships on Facebook. Like or follow their pages because they often post pictures of cars that are on promotion. You can message the dealership for info. It’s the best of both worlds!
Facebook Marketplace cars are great options for people who don’t have a big budget, like taking a little risk, know a lot about cars, or are looking for a hobby or project car.
What about eBay?
eBay had its heyday years ago, but now people don’t recommend it that much for buying used cars unless you’re looking for something very specific like a classic or antique.
The problem is logistics.
You can see cars across the United States, but how are you going to get them to your location? On top of that, buying such expensive products on auction websites might not be worth the hassle if you don’t know the process very well.
$1000 Cars on Facebook Marketplace Probably Aren’t Worth It
There will be some real steals if you look at Facebook Marketplace trying to find cars for sale. However, the cheapest of the cheap usually aren’t worth it.
Very cheap cars aren’t reliable. There’s an old saying that rings true: you get what you pay for.
$1000 cars can be great if you’re on a very tight budget and can make the car last for six to twelve months, but you have to have money ready for a tow or repair at all times. Often, these cars are purchased by young students who want to drive around the neighborhood, not around the state.
These cheap cars are also not reliable in the summer or winter. Sure, they might get from point A to point B on the cool days of Spring, but when the winter hits – the battery dies. In summer, it’s the AC that’s on the fritz. Maybe the whole engine overheats. It could be a recipe for disaster.
Is Buying a Car on Facebook Safe?
The buyer is responsible for ensuring the situation is safe when buying cars on the Internet. You have to ensure that you’re not meeting with a stranger in a location that is dark, remote, or otherwise insecure. It’s recommended to bring a buddy with you and to meet in a public place rather than at a residence.
How Does Buying a Car from a Private Seller Work?
Remember that buying a car on Facebook doesn’t really give you any special perks other than that they are easy to find and browse thanks to filters.
You still have to follow all local, state, and national policies regarding buying and selling automobiles.
For instance, in Illinois, you will have to deal with the regular title and emissions requirements that come with owning a vehicle. Don’t hand over cash for a car without the required title and paperwork.
Facebook Marketplace: A Blessing and a Curse
When it comes to buying a used car, there are plenty of hazards to consider.
You want something that looks cool, doesn’t guzzle down gas, and won’t break the bank with sudden and expensive repairs. Then again, that’s pretty hard to find when it comes to used cars!
Whether you buy the car from a dealership, Craigslist, or Facebook, buying a used automobile poses such challenges that make many car shoppers reconsider their strategy.
In some cases, it really is a better decision to buy a new car from a dealership.
Yes, you will pay insurance and a car payment – but you will not find yourself shelling out big bucks for brakes, head gaskets, and radiators. You won’t be pondering whether you should just send your new car to the junkyard just a few months after buying it.
Although car shopping on Facebook is fun, the buyer must remain vigilant so they’re not taken for a ride.