What Should You Know About Purchasing Your Next Vehicle At An Estate Sale?

30 May 2017
 Categories: Finance & Money, Blog

If you're like many American adults with a mortgage, rent payments, or other regular bills, you may find the price of a new (or even gently used) vehicle on a dealer's lot to be beyond the limits of your monthly budget. However, purchasing an older vehicle can be a penny-wise and pound-foolish prospect if you end up inheriting a vehicle with years of expensive deferred maintenance. In some cases, an estate sale may be your best bet for a gently-used but affordable vehicle. Read on to learn more about how vehicles can transfer ownership at estate sales, as well as what you'll want to keep in mind while browsing local estate sales for your next car, truck, or SUV.

How are vehicles sold at estate sales?

Estate sales generally take place when a recently deceased person's heirs find it more efficient and cost-effective to liquidate a home's contents (as well as the contents of the surrounding outbuildings, including tools, tractors, and vehicles) in one large sale rather than on a piecemeal basis. 

This allows the heirs to go through an estate sale company, taking away much of the burden of organizing and planning this sale themselves. From the buyer's perspective, it can offer a unique opportunity to purchase heirloom furniture, glassware, tools, and other items at a lower price than might be available at antique malls or similar retailers.  

This same principle goes for vehicles being sold at an estate sale. Often, the heirs have little to no information on a vehicle's history or prior ownership, which can make it difficult to sell for fair market value in a private party transaction. This is especially true with older vehicles that have developed at little wear and tear with age. For buyers, estate sales can offer you the opportunity to purchase a reliable late-model vehicle for well under the dealership price. 

What should you consider when deciding whether to purchase an estate sale vehicle? 

Some types of vehicles, especially late model SUVs and heavy-duty trucks, can sell quickly at an estate sale; as a result, you'll want to be ready to act quickly if you decide you'd like to make a purchase. You may want to bring someone with some vehicle knowledge with you; although not all estate sales will allow you to examine or start a vehicle prior to buying, others may.

You'll want to consider the retail value of the vehicle you're hoping to buy. If this vehicle turns out not to be the best fit for your family, one with a relatively high retail value compared to purchase price should be fairly easy to sell on your own; on the other hand, paying far more than the book value for a vehicle can make it hard to get your money back if you sell within the first year or two of ownership.

Finally, you'll want to consider financing. Estate sales generally require cash or a loan at purchase, so if you don't have the credit for an auto loan or the cash to buy a vehicle outright, you'll want to investigate your alternative financing arrangements. 

Speak to a company like Remember When Estate Sales, LLC for more information.