With the price of new washing machines going through the roof many people choose to go the used route instead. While this can be a great money saving idea as many used machines have years of useful life left in them, there are certain warning signs to be aware of.
Facebook Marketplace, Offerup, Craigslist, Letgo, etc. are great ways to find used machines but there are people looking to unload pieces of trash on unsuspecting buyers and you need to be careful. My biggest recommendation is to buy a machine from an individual only if you are able to test it first! There are just too many things that can be wrong with the washer that will not be evident without running it first. While you don't necessarily need to run it through an entire cycle, that would be best and I highly recommend that you do so.
Major things to watch out for include determining that the washer does turn on....you would never know this without testing it out first! On electronic models there should be no error codes displayed on the screen, as the washer runs through the cycle verify that there are no strange noises coming from the motor or transmission (no loud screeching, grinding, or buzzing noises), verify that at the end of the cycle your test clothes have been properly spun out i.e.. they are not dripping wet, and last but not least look around the base of the washer on the floor and verify that there are no leaks. Typically if a washer passes these main tests then there is a high probability that there are no major issues with the machine.
As I mentioned before, the only way to truly know if there are any major issues is to test the washer. If you decide not to or you are not able to test the washer please be aware that you are taking a big risk as most individual sellers are NOT going to give you a warranty or refund your money if you get the washer home and find a problem. And don't let the apparent age of the washer fool you.....just because it looks like it's new or almost new doesn't mean that there are no major problems.
In wrapping up, my recommendation is to never purchase a used washing machine from an individual without running it and preferably running it through an entire cycle with clothes in it. If you can't or don't want to properly test the washer first then I highly recommend that you buy your washer from a reputable used appliance dealer who offers a warranty. Yes you can save significant money by purchasing a used washing machine however you need to be careful especially if purchasing from an individual.