Many people opt to purchase a used car over a new car to save money. With the sheer number of valuable information and resources available online, consumers can exercise their choices with confidence. Selecting a used car is more than just choosing the “cheapest” automobile. It means finding the the most affordable car that meets your needs and desires. Like shopping for a new car, you need to do your homework to brush up on your education, even if this isn't the first time you purchased a used or second-hand vehicle. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to find the right use car or SUV you will love that is also well within your budget.
1. Assess your budget.
Source: Farotto Auto
The first step to purchasing a used car is to determine how much you can spend. Chances are you already have a vague number of how much you can afford, but you still need to do some serious number crunching. You need to decide if you want to purchase the car in it's entirety, make monthly finance payments, or lease the vehicle. You also need to tally up the extra costs including registration, title, and tax.
2. Determine your needs.
Can you afford a used SUV or crossover? Could you buy a sporty coupe with your budget? Or are you just looking for a family car to get you from point A to point B? Since you will be the person most likely driving the car on a daily basis, it's crucial to consider what you want, what you don't want, and what you can afford. Other factors to consider include climate/weather, family changes, and lifestyle. If you're looking for a family car, you want to choose a spacious car with plenty of room to tote the little ones around town. If you're looking for a car to take to work, you may be able to get by with a smaller vehicle.
3. Research before you shop.
Knowledge is power. It is vital to research the most current makes and models just to see what is available on the market. You will want to keep notes on vehicle pricing as well to ensure that you can negotiate like a pro. It's also a smart idea to research used car dealers in your area. You should also contact and communicate with sellers. Take special care when contacting individual sellers, and don't be afraid to ask important questions. Ask the seller why they are selling the car and what the car's current condition is.
4. Examine before you buy.
Don't buy a lemon! Protect yourself by ordering a report including vehicle history and safety history reports. Ask to take a look at the car, take it for a test drive, and bring it to a third-party mechanic with you to help you properly inspect it. Another thing to look for is the car's 17-digit vehicle identification number. This number can be found as a sticker located on the pillar of the driver's door. If the sticker doesn't match the VIN in the title, something is amiss and you won't want. One you have the VIN, you can locate a more detailed vehicle report online.
5. Learn the art of negotiation.
Source: Huffington Post
Once you find the used automobile you want, it's time to start the negotiation process to ensure you get the best deal. Start with a low but fair price, make sure you do your research first on what the car in question is worth. Before the negotiations begin, be sure to have a have a higher number that you aren't willing to go over. Check out these 10 Things You Should Always Negotiate.
6. Complete the purchase.
When you finally secure the deal on the used vehicle you want, you can finalize the deal and sign the paperwork. As tempting as it may be, it's generally advised not to pay for the car with cash. Paying with a credit card adds security and protects the buyer from potential fraud. If possible, it's also a smarter move to buy the car from a dealership, which has to abide by rules and regulations that protect the consumer. If you buy a used car from an individual, you have less legal coverage if something is wrong with the car or the purchase.
Buying a used car doesn't have to be a difficult transaction, particularly if you know how to navigate the ins and outs of shopping smartly.