Finding a car online is the newest trend that’s come from the digital age. You no longer have to know someone who knows someone if you want a great deal on a new set of wheels. This guide will walk you through the different sites at your disposal to find a car online.
Looking for a Car Online
There are three major groups when it comes to looking for a car online. There are platforms that connect you with sellers, places that sell cars online, and tools that help you screen through the listings.
Let’s take a closer look at these three categories and learn which options are the best.
Platforms to Use
The first category is an online platform. This is a way to connect directly with the person who’s selling the car. It means that you don’t have to pay a massive fee or give a percentage of the sale to a third party.
At the end of the day, you’ll use these platforms to arrange a meeting with the seller and look over the vehicle. You can think of this as a high-tech version of the classifieds section of a newspaper.
Facebook Marketplace is one of the biggest platforms to connect with car sellers. The marketplace is filled with every type of product you can imagine, and cars happen to be one of them.
People will list their vehicles with plenty of pictures and descriptions. You can see the seller, learn more about their history, and carefully look at the listing to check for scams.
This is done through your very own Facebook account. Certain selling marketplaces require approval from one of the moderators. At any rate, this is a “buyers beware” situation – Facebook won’t go up to bat for you if you get scammed and accidentally buy a lemon.
This is why it’s really important to inspect a car before handing over the money.
eBay is one of the older places where you can go to get a car. Since its first creation, eBay revolves around a trusted place to buy and sell items.
Through eBay, there’s a way to get protection for a car up to $100,000 with some restrictions. This equates to lower risk and a higher chance of getting your dream car.
Another local selling platform is OfferUp. It has fewer members than Facebook, but this is specifically built for people buying and selling items. When you see a car listing, you’ll be able to pull up more information about the seller and see if they’re verified or not.
This platform also comes with plenty of pictures and descriptions of the car. You can search for different cars within certain areas.
Every account owner has an opportunity to verify their ID. You’ll also get a rating for every deal that you do. Looking at these two metrics will tell you how trustworthy a seller is.
You can message directly through OfferUp so you won’t have to exchange personal information like a phone number or email address.
Just like eBay, Craigslist has been around for a long time. They have a whole section of people buying and selling cars, so you’ll find what you’re looking for.
This platform is an online advertisement for in-person purchases. You’ll still have an opportunity to meet the seller, ask questions, and take a test drive.
The other cool thing is that you can set up email alerts. If someone lists a car you’re looking for within a certain area, you’ll automatically get an email. This lets you jump on the deal before someone else beats you to it.
Online Car Sellers
Another category you might be interested in is online car sellers. This is your friendly neighborhood car dealership on steroids. The big difference is that they have a much larger reach and they have cars for sale across the States.
In this case, you won’t be dealing with a third-party seller. You’re often working directly with the online car seller. You’ll want to brush up on the differences between buying private and through a dealership.
You can search through the massive car lot of your dreams on Carvana. Filter for things like price make, model, and location.
Since it’s an online “dealership”, they also offer financing and some warranty options.
A big selling point of Carvana is that they do their own 150-point inspection on the vehicles they list. There’s no guesswork that goes into the buying process and they’re really good at helping you if you have an issue.
You can choose between delivery or pickup when you find the perfect car, almost like an UberEats order. They will send the car to your doorstep within 15 business days, or you can pick it up in person at a select location within a few days.
Vroom is another online seller that offers a lot of the same features that Carvana does. They can ship it to your door and give you a few different warranties to choose between. You can get financing through Vroom and you can even trade in your car for a new one.
Tools to Help
The final category is websites that help do the searching for you. These sites don’t host their own car sales, but they’ll connect you with the right listing to finish the deal.
In other words, these tools are middlemen that find the right car for you, then they segue you onto the right site.
The first option is SearchTempest. This isn’t specific to cars, you can find a ton of different products for sale on their site. When you’re looking for cars, you can search between Craigslist and eBay.
You’ll search the make, model, location, and price range that you’re looking for in their search bar. From there, they’ll show you a long list of options to choose between. You’ll see the origin site and you’ll be able to view details without going to the other site.
Search World Marketplace
If you want to save some time and search through Facebook Marketplace, you can use Search World Marketplace. This option will compile results from across Marketplace.
It even shows options that are usually restricted to certain groups. Search by country, price, make, model, and more. You’ll see an easy-to-read list of options to choose between after putting in the search criteria.
AutoTempest is a site that compiles millions of different results. You’ll see results from Cargurus, Craigslist, Autotrader, Carvana, eBay, and many more. You can screen per platform or do a general search on their site.
As far as tools are concerned, this might be the most comprehensive. This site gives you a clear picture of what’s available on the market.
Finding a car online doesn’t have to be a struggle. Choose between these options of platforms, online sellers, and helpful tools. It will make your life easier and help you avoid getting a lemon or finding yourself in a shady deal.