If you have a neighbor or friend that is selling a car and you're considering purchasing it from them, you have to do your due diligence even though you know the person. You want to know you are buying a car that isn't problematic so a misunderstanding doesn't cause problems in your relationship with your friend or acquaintance.
You will want to ask them for details about the car, when it was serviced last, and how long they've had it. You'll also want to do the following things before you purchase the vehicle or commit to buying it.
Find a Mechanic
You can't learn everything about what's under the hood of a car when you take it for a test drive, so it's important to have it checked out by a licensed mechanic that can verify its soundness. You want to avoid common scams, so finding a reputable mechanic is key. A licensed mechanic can look at the car and give you a list of the concerns that may be present and what they expect those issues to cost. If there are concerns, you'll want to go through the list with the seller to see if they are aware of the issues and see whether they'll pay for the repairs or lower the price of the vehicle before you'll buy it.
Research the VIN Number
Take the time to research the VIN number on the car so you can see how many times the title has been transferred and to learn if the vehicle has been in any accidents. A research report which you can get online will show if the car has been in a fire, flood, bad accident, or another problem so you can decide if you want to buy the car or if it's not worth the value.
While you are cruising down the road, make sure that the cruise control works, the radio plays, the disc plays CDs, the chargers all work properly, etc. You don't want to buy the car and then find out that you can't get FM radio because you didn't test it while you were driving or that the interior lights don't work because you were behind the wheel during the day and didn't turn them on.
Just because you know someone selling a car doesn't mean you should automatically buy it from them. Talk with the person you know to express your interest, and tell them that you would like to take the car to a mechanic and that you need to get the VIN number. For further tips or to get an inspection completed, speak with a representative from a shop like Professional Automotive.