Buy a Used Car With Cash

Cash is the easiest way to purchase a used car. By buying a used car with cash, you won't have to worry about taking out a loan and making monthly payments. It also gives you more negotiating power with the seller because you can make a lump sum payment for the vehicle.


  1. Settle on a year, make and model of a used car you would like to purchase. Before you make your final decision, check out a website such as Consumer Reports so that you can read some reviews on the car.
    • You may also want to look up the vehicle with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine if the car that you are interested in purchasing has been recalled.
  2. Look up the car's worth in Kelly Blue Book to determine the value of the car you would like to purchase. Kelly Blue Book will give you both a private seller and dealership value.
  3. Choose between purchasing a car at a private seller or dealership. While you may save money with a private seller, many used cars sold by dealerships are certified and come with a warranty.
  4. Visit the seller to look at a used car. Do not tell the seller how much you would like to spend on a vehicle. Simply ask to take the car for a test drive and perform a visual inspection of its interior and exterior.
  5. Ask the seller if you can have the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic. If the seller says no, it is likely that there is a hidden problem with the car. Look at other used cars if your independent mechanic finds a problem with the vehicle.
  6. Negotiate a price with the seller and purchase the used car. Ask the seller to give you the best price that the used car can be sold for. If that price is over the Kelly Blue Book value you found, let the seller know that you won't be paying a dime over that value.
    • Private sellers expect cash, so they generally won't sell below the Kelly Blue Book value. You have some wiggle room with dealerships because they prefer cash and can afford to go below Kelly Blue Book value since they do a higher volume of sales.
  7. Sign a contract, also known as a bill of sale, for the used car that you are purchasing. The bill of sale must also include the date of sale, the make, model, year, and VIN of the vehicle, the current odometer reading, and the sale price. If a warranty is included with the used car, that must be mentioned, as well.
  8. Get a receipt. A receipt will show that you paid for the used car in cash and must have the signature of the seller from whom you purchased the vehicle. The receipt must also include the invoice number from the bill of sale or the VIN of the vehicle.
  9. Receive the title from the seller of the vehicle. Both you and the seller are required to sign it. Check with the Department of Motor Vehicle in your state to determine if the title needs to be notarized.

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