If it weren’t for my sister and her husband deciding to go down to a single car for their household, I wouldn’t be enjoying my lovely little 2003 Chevy Malibu right now. I’d still be driving my 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that I totaled a few years ago and was still driving around even though it was a POS. I got a great price and an excellent payment plan (I paid off the car in 8 months), but there are definite things to consider before you buy a car from your family members.
First off, get the price and payment plan in writing. My sister sold me the car for $3,500 under the condition that she would replace the tires and the windshield prior to me buying it. We didn’t draw up a contract, and she failed to replace any of the agreed-upon things the car needed, and I had to buy these things myself after getting the car. We also agreed upon $200 a month payments, but my sister called me constantly asking for more money every single month because her family wanted extra cash, and held the title above my head so I would fork over more dough. Trust me, get a contract of some sort drawn up to avoid payment issues and agreements gone sour somewhere along the way.
Anticipate seller’s remorse. My sister began begging to buy her car back from me within a month of me paying it off. At first, I said OK, but only if she bought it for what I paid for it, cash upfront, so I could go out and get another car right away. This caused a minor rift for a few months as she wanted to buy “her” car back and I just wanted to keep it. Be prepared to have family members wanting to go back on your purchase because they realize too late that they didn’t want to sell in the first place.
Beware of stipulations. My sister and her husband required me to carry full coverage on the car while I was paying it off, since they were still holding the title. That was all fine and dandy, but they also wanted me to carry insurance through their preferred insurance provider, which is where I balked. After some heavy discussions, I convinced them that I could have full coverage through my preferred insurance provider and they could still be satisfied.
The car could be held over your head for a while to come. It took me over a year to finally get the title to my car after I paid it off, and my sister constantly nags at me about getting my car serviced yearly, keeping my car cleaner, washing it more often, etc. She still refers to MY car as “her” car, and it’s a pain in the ass trying to remind her that hey, who’s name is on that title? (She also still wants to buy “her” car back one day).
Expect the price to change. When my sister and her husband first offered to sell me the car, they wanted $3,000, then changed their minds. I paid the $3,500 they wanted, but shortly after I made my down payment, they wanted to change the price yet again to $4,000. I had to remind them that I spent over $600 replacing the tires and windshield so they would quit trying to up the price (once again, a contract would have been handy…).
Would I buy a car from family members again? Hell no! It’s too much drama, and while I love my car it has been 2 years of unwanted arguments and disagreements ever since I bought the car. I felt I got an awesome deal, and definitely paid the car off conveniently for my sister (they wanted it paid off in 18 months, I paid it off in 8 just to get the purchase over with), and if I ever choose to sell my car I will go to her first to see if she will still wanst it, but it’s a lot easier just to keep family out of it when you are going to buy a car. I’ll know better for next time.