Buying on a Budget: Useful Tips for Buying a Used Car

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Cool Driving, Defensive Driving Online

 
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Cars start to depreciate in value the minute they are sold. So buying a used car–even if it is just a year old–can be one of the best ways to save money on a vehicle that will feel as good as new. But sometimes when you are looking at used, rather than new, cars it can give you a few extra things to think about. And in order to take advantage of the opportunity that it provides, you have to make sure that you go into it with the right amount of research behind you. So to help you out, here are some tips for buying a second hand car.

factors to consider

Before you even go into a dealership or start looking online for a car, there are a number of things that you need to consider. If you go into the process blind, before you are ready, you could end up with a vehicle that you didn’t actually want or need. Here are some of the things that you should think about.

–How big of a down payment can you afford?
Being able to pay a certain amount of money up front is a huge advantage for someone looking to buy a car with financing. It can significantly lower the amount of money you end up paying each month on your loan.

–How much you can pay each month?
After you have set aside the amount that you can put down up front, you will then need to figure out how much you can afford to put towards your car each month. You can do this by budgeting for a few months and figuring out exactly how much of your salary you can afford to put towards car payments.

–What kind of car do you need?
This might seem an obvious question, but a surprising amount of people go into this process without even thinking about what kind of vehicle they are looking for. This can end in an expensive mistake. Put together a list of needs–essential features on which you will not bend–and a list of wants–things that you would like, but are not essential. Obviously your financial constraints will dictate what sorts of used vehicles you can actually look at in the first place. You will also need to consider the added costs of maintaining a more luxurious used car.

–Do you want to buy from a dealer or an independent seller?
This is not an instance where you necessarily have to pick one or the other, but it helps to think about it beforehand. There are advantages and disadvantages of each, and you should be aware of these.

other tips

–Secure finances ahead of time
If you know that you will need financing, you should sort out a loan before. This will help you when you are looking at cars, as you will know exactly what your budget is.

–Run the VIN
Check out the car’s history. There are a lot of online services that will allow you to do this easily. This will help you to figure out what kind of shape the vehicle is in. Has it been in a lot of accidents? Has it consistently undergone scheduled maintenance? Are there any consistent problems? Checking the history of the vehicle will help you to spot any red flags.

–Dont assume that a dealer will do everything right
Some people mistakingly believe that going through a big dealership will ensure that they get a good deal. They may try to blind you with talk of full inspections and such, but you still need to do a full background check and make sure that you are not getting sold short.

–Dont get trapped by the seller
Car salesmen get a bad rap, and they are often not as untrustworthy as people like to claim, but they still have a business to run and they are trying to make a sale every time someone comes into their dealership. Something may sound like an amazing deal when you walk into a dealership, but there may be much better out there. Take some time, think about it, look around other places, and come back later if you are still interested.

–Never pay the initial asking price
Anyone who is selling a car is expecting you to negotiate the price. As such, they often start off with a much higher asking price than they are expecting to receive. Be prepared to negotiate, and more importantly, be ready to walk away if they are not willing to offer you the right deal for your needs. There are a lot of “tricks of the trade” that they will use, such as checking with their manager and offering you “special” deals. This is why it is important to figure out what you want before you even step foot in a dealership. There are always other options, so don’t let them panic you into making the wrong choice. Always stick to your guns.
 
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