Buying a Used Car and getting it checked out
think I'm going to start used car shopping in the $2000-5000 range and would like to be able to consider buying from a private party. The problem is, I would like to get it checked out by a mechanic before purchasing but it seems like that the way people do usually business around here is that you pay cash and you don't check anything out. It can be really competitve for the good ones - you'll go to someone's house and by the time you get there it's already been sold and gone.
I don't want to do that because to be honest I just am not that car savvy and I dont want to get screwed. A friend of mine never bothered to get her cars checked out and she continually got these disasters including one that looked absolutely gorgeuous... but dropped about a gallon of oil every 2 days.
So... what would yall suggest? I was thinking if I really like one I would offer the seller a deposit to hold the car... or maybe give them $50 they could keep whether I bought the car or not. Is there any customary ways of handling this kind of situation?
t. i. a.