Buying your van via private sale

by AH
(Brisbane, Qld, Australia)


I'm looking for tips and important info when buying our lap van via a private sale.

For such a big and important financial investment, I want to be sure we're doing our due diligence.

What is the process when buying via private sale? What pre-purchase checks are required/recommended? Are deposits required? When and how is the large payment made? What paperwork is required by both parties? What receipts of sale should be obtained?

I understand it may differ from state to state (for context, we are based in Qld with likelihood of buying a used van via private sale in Qld or NSW).

Thank you!

Comments for Buying your van via private sale

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Jan 12, 2023
Check any finance owing
by: D Brown

We bought our van privately in Qld. We did all the normal checks and made sure everything worked like it's meant to. We paid a deposit and then transferred the funds a day before collecting the van to ensure the funds where cleared in time.

We had transfer papers completed and the transfer in Qld was only about $30 as it's deemed a trailer so does not go on purchase price. The main thing we checked was the van did not have any finance owning

Jan 12, 2023
Rego Check
by: Anonymous

For under $20 (I think it's $9.95) you can do a rego check which will show if the van has been, or is a statutory write off or repairable write off (damaged, accident or flooded).

It will also show if the van is encumbered (money owing on it). If it is encumbered that adds a whole new level to the purchase where you need to make sure the institution they owe the money too (bank) gets paid the money outstanding to them. If they don't get that loan paid out, then the bank have the right to take back the van to cover what's owing to them regardless of the fact that you bought it in good faith. Ie: if the seller owes a loan of $40k and you are buying the van for $35,000 you need to make sure your purchase money goes to the bank and that the seller is paying out the other $5k of the loan and the loan is paid in full. If that doesn't happen I would advise not buying it because the bank can take your van to cover the other $5k.

Jan 12, 2023
Weigh it!
by: Anonymous

The tare weight in the compliance plate is generally wrong as it was weighed without lots of stud that came later. Then work out if you can fit what you want, in.

Many people get caught out with a true capacity that means you can’t put your stuff in and have full water tanks.

Jan 12, 2023
Van Check Over
by: H Farthing

In Melbourne I searched for someone who checks out vans for a living, like a roadworthy. He would check the van over, had a list which he provided and then he’d write up a report. They sometimes advertise via caravan

Jan 12, 2023
We bought ours privately
by: S Greenwood

We bought ours privately. It came with RWC & Gas Certificate. The only other paperwork we had was the rego changeover signed by the previous owner.
We sussed out the van ourselves, looked for evidence of leaks or water damage, had a look underneath, etc.

The seller didn't want a deposit so we just went into our bank branch & transferred the money so that they received it the same day. It's scary handing over that much money & hard to know who you can trust these days so you need to keep your wits about you.

You could also pay via bank cheque which you could hand over at the same time as picking up the van, probably a safer option

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