If you're interested in finding the value of a used car, you have a couple of resources at your disposal: the Canadian Red Book and the Canadian Black Book.
As well, look for other cars of the same year, make and model online to see what others are asking for in price. There are oodles of online classified websites that you can check out to see what the going rate is.
There are special considerations for someone buying a car from a private seller. While many people sell privately, there are some unscrupulous people you need to watch out for: "curbers" or "curbsiders". These folks are looking for unsuspecting buyers. They pose as private individuals selling their car, but are actually in the business of selling stolen, rebuilt or odometer-tampered vehicles. They sell damaged or defective cars to people. Don't be mistaken in thinking it won't happen to you, because according to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council, "surveys have shown that one in four classified vehicle ads are placed by curbsiders."
Tips on how to make sure you're not dealing with a curber/curbsider:
- Check the car's history
You'll need the car's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model and model year to do this and if the seller won't give it to you, beware! They obviously don't want you finding something out.
Also, check with your provincial government. They may have a standardized report that the seller has to make available to you. For example, in Ontario by law, private sellers of most motor vehicles, including motorcycles, must provide buyers with a Used Vehicle Information Package. This package includes:
- Description of the vehicle
- Ontario vehicle registration history
- Odometer information
- Outstanding debts (or liens) on the vehicle
- Wholesale and retail values for the vehicle's model and year, if available
- Retail sales tax requirements
- Bill of sale
- Tips on vehicle safety standards inspections
If the seller refuses to give you the information necessary to obtain a report on the car's history or make available all required information about the vehicle, walk away.
- Check the car's registration
Make sure the car you are buying is registered in the name of the seller. If it isn't, ask why. Otherwise, you may be buying the vehicle from a curbsider.
- Have your mechanic check the car
Before you agree to buy the car, get an unbiased opinion from a mechanic you trust and not someone the seller suggests.
Inspect the vehicle during daylight