If you want to buy a for sale by owner used car (a car being sold by the current owner), you want to schedule a showing and a test drive. A quick inspection and a test drive can give you great insight into whether or not the vehicle is worth the buy, but you are still encouraged to ask a number of questions. One of best questions to ask the car seller is why are you selling this car?

Right away, you may think “but I don’t want a sob story about how someone needs the money from this car to pay their electric bills and put food on the table for their family.” Yes, you may come across this so-called sob story a time or two, but that is not the most common reason why individuals decide to sell their vehicles.

But wait! Then, you might also be afraid to put the vehicle seller on the spot. You might get defensive if someone grills you inquiring about why you are selling your car, so it is only natural someone else would feel the same way right? Right! However, there won’t be a problem if there is nothing to hide. Yes, some of us automatically do go into defensive mode, but this is most common when a person has something to hide. Buying a used car from someone who has something to hide typically doesn’t work out well for the buyer in the end.

A few legitimate and common reasons why someone decides to sell their used car is because they need the money for bills, they need a small car as their kids are grown, they need a bigger car because they are about to start a family, and so forth. Another legitimate reason is “I need a good car that I can drive to and from work each day; I work an hour away.” But wait again! What is wrong with the car and how will it impact you as a buyer? Is the car on its last leg or does the seller want a newer car with better gas mileage? As awkward as it may seem, ask these questions to get the full picture.

When it comes to buying a used car, never ask right away “why are you selling?” Instead, get the seller to let their guard down a bit. See the car, inspect it, and engage in conversation with the seller. Talk to them like you talk to any other friend or family member. Your goal is to get them to put that “I must sell this car no matter what” guard down. So when you then turn around and inquire as to why they are selling; they are more likely to provide a quick and honest answer to you.

So there you have it! You now know why it is so important to get the answer to question “why are you selling” when looking to buy from a car owner. As a reminder, this is just one of the many car buying questions you should ask. However, when properly asked, this question typically arms you with valuable information.