How To Buy Cars From Family and Friends Without Hating Them For The Rest Of Your Life

When you buy cars from family and friends, you need to do all the same things I tell you to do on this site when buying a car from anywhere else on this site!

In fact; in some ways it is even more important.

But you can always trust a friend and family, right? Well, I'd like to think so, but as honest as they might be, and as great as they might think their old car is and how perfect it will be for still need to check it out as thorougly as you would if you were buying the car from a total stranger!

I bought a car from a family member pretty much sight unseen once. I had seen the car many times before I bought it but didn't look at it closely because I wasn't interested in buying it at the time.

Anyway, I was insanely busy with work then and left the details about the condition of the car up to my wife. Besides, this was family I was buying from and nothing uncool could come from buying a car from family, right? Wrong!

I was surprised to find AFTER paying for it that the front windshield had a huge top to bottom crack in it ($150.00) and the AC was blowing warm. Mind you; these were both things that I specifically asked my sister in-law about when I was talking to her on the phone before we bought her car. Now, I don't for a second think she was being dishonest. I really don't. I know she was just super busy with life and kids and had completely forgotten about those details when I asked her...especially considering she hadn't driven the car in a few months since buying her new car. The problem is that it left me feeling kinda bummed about the whole situation later. So its just not worth having the bad vibes in your family if you were to buy a car without checking it out first. Its up to you to do your due diligence when buying from anyone, both to save you money and hassles, and in this case, to preserve your connection with friends or family because a bad car deal between friends or family can be extremely divisive and usually unnecessary.

Here is a checklist for making sure that buying a used car from family or friends is as harmonious as possible... 

1) Make sure the price they are asking is realistic because even if they sincerely tell you they are giving you a "good deal"...with the best of intentions, it might not actually be a great deal for you. If the price is obviously more than you can afford, then now is the time to gracefully back out by just telling them that its more than you can afford.

2) Have the car inspected before buying it. Tell your friend or family member that you totally believe them when they tell you it is in great condition but that you are "dumb" about cars and wouldn't be able to afford unforseen repairs.

3) Be sure they are cool with the price you are paying and aren't selling it just because they are your friend or family member to avoid future resentment. Ask them this: "Are you absolutely sure you are totally cool about selling me this car at this price?"

4) Be sure you are both clear on who is responsible for acquiring whatever car paperwork or anything else needed to complete the sale of the vehicle. That includes: registration fee's and forms, license fee's and forms, transfer of ownership fee's and forms, smog certificates, safety checks, bill of sale form, etc., etc. If the friend or family member is giving you a killer deal then it would probably be best if you handle tracking down a lot of this stuff - especially if their lives are super busy with kids, etc.

5) If everything is cool with the car and you've done your due-diligence - just like you would when buying a car from a total stranger, then its up to you to NOT whine about the car later because that is something that can breed resentment between you and your friend or family member.

Business between family and friends can have its pitfalls, so even if you do ALL that stuff and your friend or family member chooses to be a butthole about "the killer deal they gave you," then at least you will know that YOU did the best you could and aren't responsible for them being a dick.


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