Purchasing a vehicle is a big investment for anyone. Luckily, there are many different ways that buyers can find a vehicle to purchase. They can buy a brand new vehicle or a previously owned vehicle through a dealer, or they can purchase directly from a previous owner looking to sell their own vehicle. For wheelchair users, we would argue that they have even more options to consider.
Wheelchair users can buy new or reconditioned wheelchair vans directly from a conversion manufacturer, they can purchase through a wheelchair vans dealer, and sometimes they can even find a previously owned handicap van for sale through a standard car sales lot. Wheelchair users can also buy a new or previously owned standard van and have a conversion added to it, or they can buy a previously owned wheelchair van that is for sale by the owner.
With so many options available to wheelchair users, it can be difficult to know which option is best. In this post we will talk a little more in depth about the do’s and don’ts for buying a handicap van that is for sale by the owner. We will cover some of the benefits to this method of purchase and also some of the disadvantages, so you can have as much information as possible before buying a van directly from the previous owner.
The Benefits of Buying from the Owner
The single biggest benefit is often the lower price. Private sellers likely do not sell vehicles every day, so they may not be skilled at negotiations and you may be able to talk them into a lower price than what they had originally listed the vehicle for. Second to that, is that owners are generally in a hurry to sell the vehicle, so it can be a relatively quick process. When it comes to buying a wheelchair van, buying direct from the owner can usually save a wheelchair user quite a bit of money at the time of the purchase.
What Should You Do When Buying from the Owner?
While getting a new-to-you wheelchair van for a much lower cost is the best scenario, there are still many items to take into consideration when buying directly from the vehicle’s owner. Here are our recommendations for what to do if you buy a wheelchair van from the previous owner.
- Bring a mechanic to inspect the vehicle (if at all possible). They will be able to identify any big issues the vehicle may have that you may not be aware of.
- Check for a lien against the vehicle. This will need to be taken care of by the seller prior to the finalization of the transaction.
- Check for a salvage title on the vehicle. A salvage title on the vehicle could mean that there are underlying issues from the previous damage that may or may not have been corrected properly. It’s always best to avoid the purchase of a vehicle with a salvage title whenever possible.
- Ensure the selling party is the owner of said vehicle. The vehicle title will have the name of the rightful owner of the vehicle.
- Take possession of the title immediately. It’s important to retain the title, even while it is being transferred into your name.
The Disadvantages of Buying from the Owner
The biggest disadvantages to buying directly from the previous vehicle owner all have to do with the condition of the vehicle. While the vehicle may look and sound like it is running in perfect condition, there could be issues with the vehicle that are hidden, that the seller may or may not be aware of. Because you are buying from an owner directly, there would be no warranties or guarantees, and the condition of the vehicle purchase would likely always be as-is with no improvements, mechanical checks or changes. This can be risky, as you would then be responsible for anything that could go wrong with the vehicle directly after purchasing.
Additionally, financing the vehicle may not be possible if you do not qualify for a personal car loan through your bank or another third party loan servicer. If you are okay with the risks and decide to purchase directly from a previous owner, here are a few recommendations on what not to do.
- Spend your entire budget on the vehicle. It’s best to reserve some of your funds for unexpected repairs the vehicle may need right away.
- Don’t make payment without receiving the title. Again, this is an important step for you to obtain full ownership of the vehicle.
- Wait until you find the vehicle to get financing. Private sellers often want to move the vehicle quickly and get the cash in their pocket. It’s important to line up your financing (if needed) in advance of finding the vehicle, so you can move quickly.
Value Versus Cost
At the end of the day, it is important to determine if the value of the vehicle is worth the overall cost. A previously owned vehicle purchased directly from an owner is very different than buying one from a dealer. With a dealer, they would likely thoroughly inspect the vehicle and repair anything that may be wrong with it in advance of selling it to the next owner. When it comes to working with a wheelchair van manufacturer, like our team at Rollx Vans, all previously owned vehicles are reconditioned and often have warranties in place to ensure a quality van and experience for the buyer. Buying directly from the previous owner doesn’t come with those assurances and guarantees.
Looking to Get Started or to Sell Your Wheelchair Van?
If you would prefer to purchase your next wheelchair van from one of the most experienced companies in our industry, our team at Rollx Vans is ready and waiting to help you get behind the wheel. And if you already own a wheelchair van and are looking to upgrade or if no longer need your vehicle, our team can take a look and make you an offer to trade-in or purchase your vehicle. Once purchased, we will recondition the vehicle and add it to our previously owned inventory lineup. We can’t wait to get to work for you!