Buying a used car isn’t as easy as grocery shopping. We can’t pick it out, head to the cashier and simply swipe our credit card. If only it were this easy. When buying a used car, it will involve many steps along the way, and if you fail to do your homework ahead of time, you may be paying much more than you should. To help you save as much money as possible, here’s a simple checklist you can use the next time you go used car shopping:
Going outside of your budget will be sure to trigger that “buyers remorse” feeling the day after you make your purchase. Determine the most money you’re willing to spend on a car and be sure to stick to it. At any given moment, there are thousands of cars that will fit within your budget.
Money isn’t everything you want to worry about. You will want to worry about the car you’re purchasing as well. If you have your eye on a few models you’re interested in, learn more about the car. What kind of problems have owners experienced? How safe is this vehicle? Now that we’re an online society, you should be able to find information on just about anything.
Most dealers will almost always include a Carfax or AutoCheck vehicle history report with their vehicles, but this isn’t always the case with private buyers. Regardless of how you’re purchasing the car, you will want to know what this car has been through. These reports will show its accident history, its service records, its ownership history and much more.
If you found your dream car online, don’t get excited just yet, especially if you don’t have the cash to pay for it. Since there’s a good chance you will need an auto loan in order to make your purchase, it’s important to get this loan lined up before you head to the dealer or a private buyer. Doing so enables you to get the best used car loan interest rate on the market and avoid the pushy finance department at a dealership.
Any reputable dealer or seller will allow you to take the car to your mechanic to allow them to visually inspect it before you purchase. While this inspection will cost a few dollars, it can save you the headache of an underlying problem you didn’t know about. Even if the vehicle history report comes back clean and it runs like a champ, it doesn’t mean it’s going to last for years to come.
If everything works out and it’s now time to purchase the car, the purchase price will never be set in stone. In fact, most dealers and sellers will price it a pinch higher because they know people will negotiate. With that being said, don’t come in with a full price offer; instead, offer a price that’s close to the Kelley Blue Book value.
While a used car can save you money, doing your homework, as you can see, can save you even more. Take these used car buying tips to heart, and hopefully, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
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