The need-to-know on private sales

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The need-to-know on private sales


Private sales are rather convenient, are they not? Browse online for people selling the random, yet in-demand, items from their homes, or even selling their homes privately. There’s hardly a limit on what is possible in the private sales sector. There are, of course, a few things to be aware and wary of when it comes to buying or selling through these classifieds.


Anonymity of online

This is both a good and bad thing. Because, as a buyer, you don’t necessarily want every potential seller to know all your details when you’re only showing a mild interest in the item being sold. Likewise, as a seller, you aren’t too crazy about the fact that your email or, generally, cellphone number is out there for the world to have and see.

That’s why certain online classifieds have a contact-window platform through which buyers and sellers can communicate without necessarily needing private details, or buyers have to show enough interest in a sale to complete a sign-up or contact form in order to get a seller’s details.

But, even with that said, not everyone is keen on buying from a private seller who has a question mark as a profile photo and almost zero details. Because then we think it must be a scam.


Precautions when making the deal

When you show interest in what a seller is offering, you need to be aware of how you communicate with them. Don’t be quick to give out all your information just to affirm your interest in the product. There are more than enough cheap cars for sale by owners around your area who are happy to answer your questions without pushing for personal details in the initial discussion.  

And that can go for any online, classifieds, private sale. Don’t feel forced or obligated to disclose any and all information about yourself for the sake of a sale. There are more sellers out there. But the reality is that questions need to be asked, documents need to be found and communication has to happen between buyer and seller. Just be mindful of any “extra” information that you may be unnecessarily giving out. Like your pet's name, mother’s maiden name, the fact that you live alone or that your house is the one with the broken fence. Things like that can be kept to yourself.


Precautions when going for a viewing

When it comes to meeting the seller for a viewing, you can sometimes get away with meeting at a public place, like when it’s an electronic device, used car or another small and portable item. And that’s the best option for both buyer and seller with regards to safety. But when it’s a house or appliance, you generally have to go to the seller’s house.

Buyers and sellers should not handle private sales on their own. Always have someone with you. Especially if you’re someone who isn’t certain on certain sales or handover aspects when it comes to ownership documents, find someone who knows how things go down and might be able to handle haggling situations better than yourself.

It’s a matter of support and safety and numbers. You’re likely dealing with a complete stranger and you don’t know what they’re taking notice of.

As a seller, try to restrict them to the area of the house applicable to the item(s) being sold and don’t leave other valuable items lying around. Buyers, don’t get lured into unrelated areas of the house and be vigilant of the general area you are in.


When it’s time to bring the money out

Crime is a daily reality. And it’s not that we want to think the worst of every private seller listed on an online classifieds page. But when it comes to our personal and financial safety, we are relatively sceptical of anyone who is about to take our money.  

When it’s time to bring the money out, it’s sometimes just a couple hundred bucks. But when cars, appliances and cash are involved, it’s big bucks. You need to have a plan (as the seller) on what you are going to do with the cash as soon as you’ve received it. Keep in mind that the buyers know where you stay and they know how much cash you’ve got on-hand.

And buyers, before you hand over a cent, make sure you are happy with the condition of the item and that the necessary paperwork has been completed (especially when it comes to vehicles and property).

And if you are dealing with an online payment system, make sure it’s a trusted platform that you’ve preferably used before, and that payment reflects before a handover is made.


Advantages of private sales

With all of that said, private selling still has its advantages that make the possibly risky process, worth it. It’s as convenient as online shopping, but usually with much better deals that you can actually afford. Not to mention the “one of a kind” products of the past that you wish you had bought back then but are no longer manufactured. And there is also so much variety.


Private sales encourage community. An, almost, levelling of the playing field for people who cannot afford brand new but are in desperate need of an item for the home, their children or selves.

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