If you want to buy a car without going to a dealership, purchasing a car privately is the way to go. As a buyer, private car sales can help you get a better deal on your vehicle. Who doesn’t want that? But before you start searching for the perfect ride, you need to make sure you have all the facts first. 

In this handy guide, you’ll learn everything you need to do to make a smooth, successful, and stress-free private car purchase. 

Step-by-step process of buying a car through a private sale 

Ever wondered how to buy a car privately? Wonder no more! Follow these steps to make your private car purchase as easy as can be. 

Step 1: Do your research and apply for a loan 

Before you set out to find the perfect car, you need to figure out how to finance it. This is where doing your research comes in. Check out the different lenders in the area and find a car loan that lets you buy a used car from a private seller. 

Get in touch with lenders to find out what kind of used car loan they offer, as well. The type of loan you get depends on how much you’re planning to borrow and the kind of loan you want to get. See what terms and rates a lender’s secured and unsecured loans offer. 

Use this time to familiarise yourself with the financing process. Take note of the requirements when applying for a loan so you can get them ready. Make sure you obtain a car loan pre-approval before looking for car. A clear-cut budget will help you find a car faster. Plus, you’ll avoid the disappointment of finding the perfect car only to find out it’s out of your price range. 

If this all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re here! At Aussie Car Loans, we can help you find a car loan that matches your needs perfectly. Get in touch with us today or get a quick quote. Be one step closer to finding your dream car. 

Step 2: Find the right car 

With so many cars for sale privately in Australia, it’s difficult to know where to start looking. To make this step easier, you have to narrow down your options. Think about your needs and list down what features your ideal car needs to have. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • How much is your budget? (include upfront cost, maintenance costs, and everyday costs) 
  • How many seats do you need? 
  • How much storage space should it have? 
  • What will you use it for (daily commute, towing, camping, etc.)? 
  • Do you need additional features (parking cameras, safety features, etc.)? 

Once you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to start looking. Go to online check out private car sales websites. There are sites like AutoTrader where you can reach out to sellers. Or go to Gumtree and social media groups to contact sellers directly. 

Remember that finding the right car may take time. Be patient and don’t settle for a car that doesn’t meet your needs. 

Step 3: Check the vehicle history 

You’ve set your eyes on a good car. You’ve talked to the seller. Now, it’s time to make sure there’s nothing amiss. Ask for the VIN and engine number, and the registration details too. Use the information to check the car’s history. Go on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) to make there’s no pending loans attributed to it, it isn’t in danger of being repossessed, it wasn’t stolen, and other red flags that may pop up about its current ownership. 

Check how many times the car has been sold, if the list of previous owners is a bit too long, take that as your sign to look for something else. Be wary if the current owner seems a little too eager to sell the car. There might be some underlying issues they’re trying to hide. 

Step 4: Inspect the car 

You’ve found your ideal car! Awesome—but now you have to make sure it’s as good as you think it is (or as the seller says it is).  

Take the car out for a test drive so you can see for yourself. Regardless of how good it looks; the test drive will reveal the actual condition of the car. Make sure the car has these attributes: 

  • Can start and stop without issue. 
  • Can change gears smoothly. 
  • The hand break works well. 
  • The clutch engages and disengages fluidly. 
  • The steering wheel can turn back and forth without issue. 
  • The car doesn’t make any suspicious noises. 

Test the car out on different roads and at different speeds if you can. The car might be fine on the highway, but it might be a different story once you get in on a bumpy road or up a hill. Note whether the inside of the car is well-maintained, as well. 

Don’t forget to check under the bonnet. Look for any signs of leaks, cracks, and general wear and tear. Lift the dipstick to check that the oil is clean and not too dark, thick, frothy, or milky. Keep an eye out on anything amiss because it could mean costly repairs for you in the future. 

Have the car inspected to get a professional’s opinion. When purchasing a car, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Step 5: Negotiate for the best deal 

There are plenty of negotiating tactics you can employ when it comes time to make the deal. Before you go to the negotiating table, arm yourself with knowledge. Know the car's market value so you know if it’s overpriced or not. 

Be honest about your expectations and tell the seller how much you’re willing to pay upfront. You can continue to haggle and see if the seller is amenable to lowering the price if you provide a sizeable deposit or other compromises.  

Most importantly, know when to walk away. Negotiations can get heated quick. If you and the seller can’t agree on a price, perhaps it’s time to move on and find another car.  

Step 6: Finalise the purchase  

Discuss the terms of sale with the seller in detail. You need to agree on the terms beforehand and review the vehicle sale agreement to make sure everything is aligned with what you’ve previously discussed. 

Some important information to include in the sale agreement: 

  • Terms and conditions of the sale 
  • Description of the vehicle 
  • Cooling off period 
  • Finance conditions 
  • Condition of vehicle after inspection 
  • Termination clauses 

The buyer or the seller may include other conditions and clauses to added to the agreement for added protection of both parties. 

Step 7: Arrange payment 

Once you’ve made a deal with the seller, it’s time to pay up. If you’re paying for your car with a loan, the lender typically takes care of the purchase on your behalf. All you have to do is give your lender the seller’s details. Communicate with the seller about how you’ll finance the purchase and let them know that your lender will be in touch. 

Step 8: Transfer registration 

After you’ve successfully finished the steps above, all that’s left to do is transfer ownership from the seller to you. Here’s what you can expect when you transfer ownership: 

  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - Residents can transfer car registration through the http://accesscanberra.act.gov.au . You’ll have to fill in the required details and pay the registration fee. 
  • New South Wales (NSW) - The buyer must transfer ownership within 14 days of finalising the purchase. Buyers must log into their MyServiceNSW account and transfer the ownership online. The seller must also submit a notice of disposal to confirm they’re no longer the current owner. In some cases when you can’t transfer ownership online, you must visit the NSW Service in person to transfer ownership. 
  • Northern Territory (NT) - Buyers check if they need to schedule a vehicle inspection and compliance check. After, they have to complete the R11 application form complete with supporting documents. You need to submit the documents to the NT Motor Vehicle Registration and pay the relevant fees. 
  • South Australia (SA) - You can transfer car registration online through your mySAGOV account. If you transfer the registration within 14 days, you don’t have to pay an additional late fee. Just provide the information needed like seller’s name, licence number, proof of ownership, and the like, and you’re good to go. 
  • Western Australia (WA) - You can transfer ownership by submitting an MR9 form in person or do it online through DoTDirect
  • Tasmania (TAS) - You can transfer the vehicle registration online as long as you and the seller have a Tasmanian driver’s licence. If not, you can transfer registration at a Service Tasmania shop. 
  • Queensland (QLD) - If you’re transferring the car ownership to one person, you can do so online as long as the seller has filed an application to transfer the registration. You’ll need to transfer the car registration in person if the car is being transferred to a company or organisation.  
  • Victoria (VIC) - Notify VicRoads when you’re in possession of a used car—within 14 days of purchase or coming into possession of the vehicle. Complete the transfer online with your myVicRoads account after the seller submits the notice of disposal online through their myVicRoads account. 

State and territories have their own process for transferring ownership with different fees. Always research the rules and regulations in your residence. 

Private car sale: Do's and don’ts for buyers 

Here are some essential things to keep in mind: 

  • Do obtain financing from a lender as soon as possible. Apply for your loan early so you can start your car purchase sooner. 
  • Don’t apply for the first loan you see. Always shop around and compare your loan options. See what’s available in the market and find a loan that suits your needs best. 
  • Do check your credit score. Keeping a healthy credit score puts you in a great position when it comes to applying for a loan. A high credit score could mean lower interest rates and a quicker approval. 
  • Don’t be late for payments. Always make timely payments to keep your credit score up and avoid any financial troubles in the future. 
  • Do understand your legal rights. If you’re buying privately, you have less protections compared to buying from a dealer. Private sellers aren’t subject to give buyers a cool-off period or warranties compared to dealerships. 

Aussie Car Loans’ private car sale financing 

At Aussie Car Loans, we specialise in financing cars purchased privately and offer a number of free services to ensure the purchase is quick and easy. 

If you’re looking at a car that’s being sold privately, we’ll help with: 

  • Free vehicle inspection – Not a mechanical inspection, but we will check all the major identifiers such as the engine, VIN, registration and odometer are correct. 
  • Free Personal Property Security Register (PPSR) Certificate – To make sure there are no loans out on the vehicle already. 
  • Conduct process and payout procedure – If there’s interest in the vehicle with a finance company in Australia, we can organise the transfer and assist with the payout process. 
  • Free vehicle write off report – To ensure the car has not been previously written off by any insurance companies and repaired for resale. 
  • Provide car insurance options – We have several choices in car insurance and warranty product. 
  • Liaise with the vendor – We’ll clarify that the seller has the right to sell the vehicle. Once approved and the loan is settled the proceeds will be transferred (EFT) directly into the car seller’s nominated account, eliminating any potential delays to the sale. 

Ready to buy a car? 

Talk to the team at Aussie Car Loans to organise private car finance. We can offer secured car loans on vehicles bought privately. We’ll even look after all the above services so the sale goes through as hassle-free as possible. 

Contact us to talk about rates or apply online today


What is a private sale car?

A private car sale is when a buyer purchases a car from a private seller instead of a dealership.

How do I find private sale cars?

You can find tons of private sale cars online. Search Gumtree, AutoTrader, or go on social media to see if anyone is advertising.

Is it safe to buy a car through a private sale?

Buying through a private sale offers you less consumer protections compared to buying through a dealership. But as long as you do your due diligence and make sure everything is above board with the seller, then it’s perfectly safe.

Do I need to have the car inspected before buying it?

Yes, you need to have the car inspected before buying it to make sure that everything is in working order. In some cases, an inspection is needed before you can transfer the car registration, as well.

Can I get financing for a private sale car?

Yes, just like any other type of car purchase, you can get financing for a private sale car. Get in touch with Aussie Car Loans today to get started.

What paperwork do I need to transfer ownership of the vehicle?

This differs depending on what state or territory you reside in. However, some common document requirements include: 

  • Proof of identity 
  • Proof of ownership 
  • Proof of sale 

You’ll also pay a transfer of registration fee and stamp duty.

How do I negotiate the price of a private sale car?

Be forthright with the seller about the amount you’re willing to pay. Haggling with the seller is also an option, but you’re likely to reach a plateau if neither side is willing to compromise. The best negotiating tool you can have in your arsenal is knowing when to walk away from a deal when it’s not right for you.