Used cars are the next best option for those who want to buy a good car at a good price. The best news is if you know how to negotiate, you can buy the car of your dreams without ever having to exceed your budget.
Here are some tips:
- Research. Ignorance is never bliss especially when you’re trying to buy a car. When you don’t have any idea of their resale, market, and trade-in value, it’s easy for car dealers and even auctioneers (if you’re joining public auctions) to ask for a much higher price for a reasonably priced vehicles. You can check their values using Kelley’s Blue Book, Edmunds, and NADA. Of the three, it’s best to begin your search with the last one since it’s also the guide used by car dealers.
- Double-check the VIN. VIN, or vehicle identification number, is the unique number given to every vehicle. It is composed of 17 characters, which are a combination of numbers and letters. When checked, the VIN report should detail information such as accidents, original attributes, and whether it’s a lemon. You can also compare the mileage listed on the VIN report to the one found in the odometer, or as described by the seller.
- Think it through over and over. This is especially true if you’re buying a car from a dealer. Although the dealer will try his best to close the sale as quickly as possible, in the end, it’s going to be you who will spend the money. You need to make it truly worth it. Make sure you can include the repayments in your consideration.
- Bring a professional auto mechanic. It’s highly advisable to have an independent mechanic with you for two good reasons:
- You don’t know a lot about cars. They may appear very sleek and beautiful, they can still have many defects and issues that only a mechanic can spot.
- Even if you know how to inspect a vehicle, it’s still great to have a different perspective.
You can bring your mechanic during an auction and even when you’re buying the vehicle from a car dealer. It may not sit well with the dealer, but it’s your right to get as many details as you can about the vehicle.
- Secure auto financing. There are many ways on how dealers earn money from used cars. If they are not increasing the price, they are getting the profit from the add-ons and, of course, auto financing. Unless you can pay the car in cash, get your auto loan from an independent lender. You can have yourself pre-qualified or pre-approved and bring your digits to the dealer.
You may also need to have an auto financing in place when you’re thinking of joining an auction.
- Test drive the vehicle. It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying the car in an auction or from a dealer. You need to test drive the vehicle before you close the deal. Once you’ve signed the paperwork, returning it may be a challenge.