When it comes to driving a car in North Carolina, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is owning one is one of the cheapest in the country. According to Huffington Post, a one-time purchase cost is about $1,058 while the annual ownership is no more than $2,800. Overall, a car spending may be roughly $9,500.
The bad news is the maintenance costs are high – in fact, one of the most expensive. Moreover, by 2016, the state increased its car-ownership-related costs such as registration steeply.
If you want to save a good amount of money upon purchase, you can consider buying a used car. Now, you may judge, “Aren’t used cars very expensive to maintain?” The answer is it all depends on the condition. Many of them may be 3 to 5 years, but they are as healthy as brand-new ones. Moreover, a car’s lifespan can be as long as 15 to 20 years, depending on quality and maintenance.
Where to Find Them
If you’re interested in buying a used car in North Carolina, then you’re lucky as you have a lot of options:
Hundreds of people buy used cars on Craigslist for many reasons:
- The website is free. In fact, you don’t need to register. You can just browse through the pages. Moreover, owners can upload photos of their vehicles while interested parties can send a private message (direct to the owner’s inbox) if they wish to negotiate, buy, or get more information.
- They can save money. After all, you don’t deal with middle persons. The website also doesn’t ask you for any fee for any successful transaction.
- You can be specific with your location. In Craigslist, you can sort used cars in North Carolina according to counties, cities, and other popular neighborhoods. This is helpful when you don’t want to travel long distances to buy a car. It also gives you no excuse not to check the vehicle before buying.
There are, of course, some downsides. One of the biggest issues with Craigslist is safety. Since it doesn’t require any registration, it doesn’t have any ability to check a person’s information such as name and address. Further, scammers are aplenty on this website.
- Used Car Dealerships
Car dealers can offer used cars, new cars, or both. The advantage of going to a used car dealer is you can take a look at multiple vehicles at one time. They are also open to test drives and inspections. There’s also a representative who’s knowledgeable enough to answer your questions. If you cannot afford the car for a one-time purchase, you can apply for its financing. Processing of papers is also quick and convenient. If the car is already nearing end of warranty or doesn’t have one anymore, the dealer may give you one.
Some of the cars are sold as is, but a number of dealers are willing to repair or upgrade them for you for extra fees.
The biggest disadvantage is the possibility of paying hidden charges. Moreover, just because you’re buying the car using financing, it doesn’t mean you’re saving money. Interest rates, for example, can be very high. Moreover, many of them may hype vehicles, concealing certain information so they can dispose them.
- Auto Comparison Websites
Some of the most popular ones are Auto Trader and Edmunds. These places don’t necessarily sell used cars, but they can point you to those who do. Their main job is to let you compare available vehicles in North Carolina using certain parameters such as mileage, color, model, year, and trim. These websites too are already comprehensive. They can give you plenty of data at one time including the resale price. They are definitely handy as far as comparing and making decisions are concerned.
- Franchise Dealer
A franchise dealer offers only very specific types of cars, according to the stipulations of the franchise of their contracts. At first glance, it looks like they’re only selling new cars, but they also offer old ones especially those that have been traded in or have been repossessed after default payments.
Banks can also advertise used cars. This is because they offer auto loans. A person who applies for financing is required to pay a monthly amortization over a period of several years. In cases when the owner cannot make repayments for three consecutive months, the banks can begin the process of repossession.
Repossession is a legal process, so it takes some time to complete. In the end, the owner loses the vehicle, the bank acquires the car, and then sells it in order to recover the losses.
One of the best places to buy a used car is an auction. There you can get your own vehicle for as much as 25 percent less than its book value. In many cases, they have much lower amounts than the published resale prices.
Why is that so? First, you need to know where these cars come from. Many of these vehicles come from lenders such as banks. They may also be from the government through a process called civil forfeiture.
In civil forfeiture, the police or defense force has the ability to seize your asset if they believe it is evidence to an alleged illegal or criminal activity such as money laundering, embezzlement, or terrorism. Owners can get them back if the court believes they don’t have any wrongdoing. If they are guilty, the cars remain on the custody of the police.
The problem is police don’t have any budget for car maintenance. They also take up more space. To raise funds for their operations, avoid maintenance costs, and clear up space, they sell these cars through an auction.
Other sellers may be ex rental car owners. Actually, you can approach these owners yourselves, but more often than not, they sell their old used cars to their loyal clients. Moreover, they would prefer to sell as many vehicles as possible in one go.
You can hear about these auctions online and offline, but it’s not as common as the other choices above. So where should you go?
You can subscribe to an auction listing. It works like a database for all auctions around the state as well as the rest of the country. It is updated almost every day to reflect the ongoing and upcoming auctions near you.
These lists don’t sell vehicles, but they can provide rich information such as the following:
- Links to the actual auctions
- Name of the auctions
The database can be so extensive you can access thousands of auctions. So if you cannot find the car you like in North Carolina, you can keep track of auctions in nearby states.
A long time ago, when you’re looking for an item, you check out the dailies. That option is still available today, but there are also others. As a potential used car buyer, it gives you an opportunity to compare, budget wisely, and pick a car that you truly love to drive.