Used cars are often cheaper. And while there are plenty of options including making a direct import for Japanese cars, sometimes you can strike a gem from a friend.
However, buying a used car from an individual is not as easy as it sounds …indeed, stories have been told of first-time car buyers being conned into buying ‘ghost’ cars (due to fake log books).
Others have narrated about paying an arm and a leg for vehicles which turn out to be shells.
Now, the thing with buying used cars is that you need to do a thorough due diligence.
Here is how to smartly buy a used car from an individual in Kenya.
1.Research potential sellers
Visit the internet and offline and get the phone and contacts of people who could be selling your favorite car.
Kenyans are fond of listing cars for sale on Facebook groups such as Magari Safi +254.
Note the phone or email addresses of sellers and get in touch.
Know the car background
Whether you’re buying a Toyota, Subaru, Suzuki or any other model, get some details about the owners’ time with the vehicle on sale, how long they’ve had it, where they got it from, and such.
This is the stage you can catch crucial hints about what you’re getting yourself into.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What’s the vehicle’s condition?
- Has the vehicle been involved in any mishaps/accidents?
- What is its mileage?
- Why is the owner selling the car?
- What are the car’s precise features?
Check the car condition
If you haven’t noted any red flag, request to see the car and check all the essentials. You will also be verifying any relevant information you’ve so far gleaned.
For instance, if the seller talked about some recent engine installation, you will need to confirm this.
Don’t be afraid to drag your mechanic along for this exercise as they easily spot flaws.
It’s advisable to carry out the inspection in a public place, preferably proposed by you.
Test-drive the car
Happy so far?
If yes, get into the driving seat and test-drive the car both in a paved road and on rough terrain. Heighten your senses while driving and listen out for queer sounds, smells, sights, or feelings you experience while behind the wheel.
Test the various electrical controls, lighting system, brakes, opening/locking of the doors, and everything else.
If you can afford, book for a car inspection. Sure, it will be an extra cost but it may save you from a camouflaged jalopy.
Ask for clarification on any questionable findings and call off the process if unsatisfied with the given answers.
If impressed with everything, now ask for a copy of the logbook. You should then proceed to undertake an online search on TIMS for the car using its registration number to prove ownership.
Where the car is jointly owned with a SACCO or Bank, find it if you can access it upon payment by either calling or visiting the financier in question.
You already have a budget and want to get the best deal.
But here you’ve to be logical…
You see, going too low comes with a risk of getting a ramshackle while a higher price doesn’t guarantee that it’s a great car.
Make sure you have done your homework by, for example, by having information about other offers and the prevailing market conditions even for similar new cars.
Also raise any car weaknesses you discovered with the seller to try and bring down the price.
It’s time to make the payment. Using the bank (banker’s Cheque or direct money transfer) is considered a safer payment method because you’ll get proof of payment.
Plus, you’ll get an opportunity to arrange with the bank on how they will transfer the logbook to you- if it’s currently held by them.
Obtain the owner’s national ID card and PIN number then ask them to commence the online TIMS car transfer.
You will be required to pay for the applicable Transfer Fees plus Purchase Tax to complete the TIMS Online process.
Procure comprehensive insurance for your car from your chosen insurance company and drive off to joyful times with your newly acquired prize.
The insurer may ask for the inspection report so the previously mentioned car inspection report will come in handy.
Comparing insurance rates online may help you reduce premium rates.
Wrapping it up
Whether you want a car to enable you to participate in a car boot sale, for work commutes, adventure, or Fikisha taxi business, purchasing a car from an individual can save you big.
But you have to be super smart.
Do your research, negotiate it to the last coin, and involve a mechanic.
And that’s how to buy a used car from an individual in Kenya safely.