When it comes to buying or selling a car in Australia, there are various options available. One of the most popular methods is through private car sales. In this article, we will discuss what private car sales are, how they work, and what buyers and sellers need to know.

What are Private Car Sales?

Private car sales in Australia refer to the sale of a vehicle between a private seller and a private buyer, without the involvement of a dealership or a salesperson (which would require a used car loan). With a private sale, the seller is typically an individual who owns the car and is looking to sell it directly to another person, rather than trading it in to a car dealership or selling it to the dealership. It is worth noting early on, if you are looking at a private sale vehicle, it is valuable to ensure it has a roadworthy certificate as this will be required to register the car. While not mandatory, it will be beneficial for your long term ownership to ensure it has gone through a detailed mechanics inspection and has a log book detailing frequent servicing.

How do Private Car Sales Work?

Private sale cars typically starts with the seller advertising the vehicle for sale. This often happens on websites such as, gumtree, facebook or newspapers. Interested buyers will then contact the seller to arrange a viewing of the vehicle. If a buyer is interested in the vehicle, they should progress to a test drive to ensure the vehicle suits their needs and drives as expected.

When the buyer goes to inspect the vehicle, they will have the opportunity to inspect the car and ask questions about its history and condition. Depending on how many owners the vehicle has had you can get an understanding of how the car has been driven. Some cars may have high kilometres but low stress driving by completing mainly highway kilometres, while other cars may have low kilometres but have been stuck in traffic for lengthy hours. Many cars will also be a blend of the two.

If the buyer is interested in purchasing the car, they will typically negotiate a price directly with the seller. It is advised to do research on the cars market price before this point to ensure you are getting a fair deal. At this point buyers looking to finance their car will approach lenders such as for a private sale car loan.

Advantages of Private Car Sales

There are several advantages to buying or selling a car through a private sale, including:

Lower costs: Private car sales often have lower prices than buying the same vehicle from a dealership. This is because private sellers don't have the overheads of running a dealership, such as rent, staff wages, and marketing expenses. The dealership is also looking to churn a profit from what they purchased the vehicle for and are selling it for.

More control: Private sales give buyers and sellers more control over the transaction, as they can negotiate directly with each other and set their own terms and conditions.

More options: Private car sales offer a wider variety of used vehicles to choose from, as buyers are not limited to the stock available at dealerships.

Personable: In some cases, private sales occur from family and friends allowing a direct and personable sale without the need of a middle man.

Disadvantages of Private Car Sales

While private car sales offer several advantages, there are also some disadvantages to be aware of:

No warranties: Private car sales typically do not come with warranties, which means buyers are responsible for any repairs or maintenance needed after the sale. The exception to this is if the car is still within its manufacturer warranty period where it could be passed on to the new buyer of the car.

Less protection: Private car sales offer less protection than buying from a dealership, as there are no consumer protection laws or cooling-off periods.

Risk of scams: Private sales can be riskier than buying from a dealership, as there is a higher risk of scams or fraud.