How to Buy Collector Cars Online

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How to Buy Collector Cars Online

Buyers looking to acquire a collector car online should be prepared for a different type of purchasing experience in comparison to a face-to-face transaction. The car buying experience normally involves all five senses. The look of shiny chrome, the feel of a wood grain steering wheel, the smell of genuine leather, the sound of exhaust headers, and the taste of a dry mouth as the deal is being negotiated. Obviously the feel, touch, and smell experiences are not going to accompany an online car purchase. For some buyers, that could require a different approach to the art of the deal. The good news is that online car sales transactions are processed successfully and easily everyday. Collector car buyers are enjoying the ease and convenience of online shopping. Sites like eBay have advanced the concept to actually make purchasing online easier and safer than in-person buying scenarios. This guide will help collector car buyers become familiar with the process of making a major purchase online.

The Advantage of Buying Collector Cars Online

Collector car buyers often travel to countless auctions, search endlessly through local publications, and view numerous potential vehicles before finding that collectible car of their dreams. One advantage of buying online is that a collectible car buyer can accomplish the task of looking for a particular model from an easy chair. A computer, a mouse, and an Internet connection can save buyers miles of driving and increase the selection potential of their search. If a buyer wanted to purchase a late model Corvette, there are likely many vehicles fitting the description within easy driving distance. However, a buyers looking for a 1959 Corvette may have trouble locating one in their home state or even within their region of the country. With eBay Motors Collectors Cars, thousands of sellers are eager to showcase their automobiles for buyers to review. Collector car buyers can examine potential purchases from sellers regardless of their address. Shopping for a collector car is not limited to a buyer’s location or travel restrictions thereby expanding the potential available market. Selection is certainly one of eBay Motors advantages, and buyers can bid or make offers on vehicles listed similar to an in-person, live auction or person-to-person purchase negotiation. Another advantage of buying a vehicle online and using eBay Motors is the buyer protection that is offered with a qualifying purchase.

Important Steps in the Online Purchase Process

After a buyer has searched online collector car listings and spotted a vehicle with potential, there are several key steps that should be followed. To be certain the vehicle is exactly what the buyer envisions, a certain amount of due diligence is required. Online buyers must know how to verify the authenticity and worth of a potential purchase. Additionally, they should understand how to properly negotiate and complete the purchase transaction to avoid potential problems during and after the sale.

Review Comparable Vehicles with Ease

Buyers seeking that just-right collector car can take advantage of the ability to comparison shop purchase possibilities side by side. A Mustang Cobra in the New York area can be evaluated with an identical car being offered by a seller in Florida. When looking for equipment options and studying price variables, the online aspect of shopping for a collector car can provide the buyer an edge over in-person shopping for similar cars at various locations. The online shopper can more quickly assess all the variables that play in to making a purchase decision. This wealth of online knowledge will allow buyers to make a more informed purchase decision. Online buyers are also less likely to make a regrettable snap purchase decision based on the lack of availability within their local market. 

Get as Much Information About the Vehicle as Possible

Buyers considering a vehicle for purchase will often ask questions to find out something about what they may be buying. Is the seller the original owner? Are there any known conditions present with the vehicle? Is the paint job original? Online buyers should be just as proactive in considering their purchase. Contact the seller and ask about the particulars of the collectible car they have listed. The seller’s "Ask a Question" feature of eBay Motors makes this task easy. Don’t hesitate to request additional pictures of specific aspects of the car. If there is a view that will provide information to the buyer that will assist them with their purchase decision, a seller should be more than happy to oblige that request.

Use eBay Motors Vehicle History feature to verify title worthiness and any accident history the car might have. Buyers should ask the seller to provide documentation of the vehicle’s authenticity if it is a limited production or unique specialty car. Buyers should be certain they have all their questions answered and concerns addressed before moving forward with the purchase process. Let the buyer beware is another way of saying that it is the buyers responsibility to know exactly what they are buying. Collector cars can vary greatly in price depending on the unique attributes of the vehicle, and buyers should know the difference between an original and a copy. Purchasing based only on a seller’s provided picture and description could result in the buyer receiving something less than he or she assumed. Buyers need to ask specific questions to be assured they understand completely what they are purchasing.

Discuss Terms and Conditions of the Sale

Buyers should reach an agreement with the seller on the terms and conditions of the sale prior to entering into a purchase agreement. A buyer may want to stipulate that the sale is dependent upon an independent vehicle inspection report as to the condition of the vehicle. Collector cars command premium prices, and an unbiased opinion helps buyers make sure they receive good value in return for their purchase price. Buyers should always seek an impartial third-party evaluation before making a major purchase of this type, which is especially true when it comes to premium collectibles. Be certain the seller is agreeable to any buyer-specific requests before placing a bid or committing to purchase. If the seller expects certain performance conditions from the buyer, make sure they are agreeable or negotiate with them prior to continuing with the purchase process. For example, it would be a reasonable request of a seller to insist a buyer have financing in place prior to bidding if the buyer is planning to finance his or her purchase. The uncertainty of the credit market and time delays in receiving approvals could create an extended delay that would be unfair to the seller. Likewise, sellers expecting buyers to complete the purchase immediately after their bid is accepted is an unreasonable expectation given the need to arrange safe payment procedures. Both parties deserve a satisfactory completion of the sales process, eliminate and resolve the unsatisfactory stipulations for the benefit of the buyer and seller to ensure each receives fair treatment.

Become Comfortable With the Online Seller

First time online buyers often express concern about dealing with unknown sellers. Seller reputation is a valid concern, and eBay Motors has many tools to help buyers research a seller’s trustworthiness. Buyers should check seller’s eBay Feedback Scores to find out how a particular seller has been rated by past buyers who have done business with them. Understanding feedback ratings will help buyers gain a perspective as to a seller’s responsiveness in rated critical performance areas. Buyers should also read feedback comments to gather additional insight into the seller’s interaction with those buyers who have made previous purchases. If a problem is indicated, ask the seller to explain. Buyers should not hesitate to ask a seller to speak with them personally; this is especially true when making a major decision, such as purchasing a car. A personal telephone conversation to confirm details would be appropriate for both the buyer and seller. Buyers should judge sellers on the manner in which they respond to questions and inquires. Is the seller courteous? Does the seller respond promptly? Are they agreeable to reasonable requests? As with any transaction, the outcome should benefit both the buyer and the seller. If a buyer feels uncomfortable in any part of the process, either resolve the issue satisfactorily or walk away.

Complete the Sale in a Safe and Secure Manner

Car sale scams happen everyday. Online collector car buyers can greatly reduce their chances of being involved in a sales scam by following some basic suggestions to protect themselves. To be eligible for eBay’s Buyer Protection Plan, vehicle buyers must complete the sale on eBay Motors. By using eBay and PayPal buyers know their funds are protected and a viable avenue of recourse exists should problems with the transaction arise. Buyers should never send cash, either by mail or through wire transfer services. If a seller suggests an alternate payment method, walk away from the sale and report the event to eBay. By notifying eBay of a seller attempting to solicit direct payment may help to save another buyer from falling into a sales scam trap. Buyers should use good judgment, especially when finalizing financial arrangements: If the deal smells funny, it probably is. It is better to start the entire purchase process over on another vehicle than to be taken advantage of by a less than reputable seller.

Other Buying Tips

When making any major purchase there are a number of factors to consider. Buyers should apply the same thought process to an online purchase that they would to an in-person retail vehicle purchase transaction. Buyers that plan to purchase a vehicle using credit should get their loan pre-approved. Establish a budget and stick to it. Buyers should take the advice of their bank or credit union regarding the size of a loan that fits their financial situation. An overextended buyer will soon turn into an unhappy owner. Buyers should practice good fiscal management and factor all potential costs into the sales price.

Buyers should study their intended purchase and become an expert on the collectible car of their dreams. There is no substitute for knowledge: An informed buyer is much more likely to be satisfied with their purchase and the price they paid than the buyer who is driven strictly by emotion. Buyers should track the purchase price of their dream collector car to know what is a fair market value. The collector market does produce some premium prices on specific vehicles, but that does not mean every 1959 Cadillac is a million-dollar find. Buyers interested in a collector car that is unique due to its limited production or performance characteristics should be knowledgeable about what sets the vehicle apart from standard production models. Buyers looking for a 1995 Corvette Indy Pace Car would be very disappointed to end up receiving a standard Corvette with paint and decals and none of the high performance enhancements with which the limited edition came.

Buyers selecting a collector car online should remember to factor in transportation delivery expenses. Some online buyers enjoy traveling to the seller’s location to pick up their purchase, while others want the convenience of having the vehicle shipped directly to their door. The cost of transporting a vehicle can be a significant expense. Buyers who plan to use a delivery service should include their expenses or delivery costs into the price of the car when developing a purchase budget. Buyers who plan to drive their purchase home need to determine tag and registration requirements necessary to move the vehicle legally from state to state. Vehicle purchases are subject to sales taxes in almost all locations. Buyers should determine the tax liability and how it applies to the residence of both buyer and seller. Buyers should remember to cover their new collector car with insurance immediately upon completion of the sale and not wait until they actual take possession. It would be wise for buyers to check with their automobile insurance agent once they have decided on the model they intend to purchase. Collectible cars can result in significant insurance premium increases, which should be calculated into a buyer’s purchase budget.


Buying collector cars is a hobby for some and a passion for others. Regardless of the fervor a buyer feels towards the ownership experience of their collectible, all buyers want the best possible deal on a vehicle that returns good value for the money spent. The tools available to online shoppers and buyers can help them achieve their goals in an easy and convenient manner. Whether procuring a show car that will only leave the garage in a covered trailer or purchasing a one-of-a-kind classic to cruise up and down the boulevard, eBay can assist buyers in making their dreams come true.

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