May 21, 2024

5 Tips to Buying the Right Used Car

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Many people are looking for pre-owned vehicles. Every year, nearly 40 million used cars change hands. These sales are by dealers and individuals. If you are looking at used cars, there are some steps you can take to get the right one at the right price.

  1. Look at your finances. Before you set out to make any large purchase, you need to take a good look at your finances. Take a look at what money do you have coming in and what your monthly expenses are. Finance experts recommend that you purchase cars that will require payments that equal no more and 20% of your take-home income. If your budget is tight, you should make it a point to spend less than that. Many used cars may need more attention than new models so you need to factor that into the cost of the vehicle. Before you look at used cars for sale, you need to know how much you can afford to spend. Keep in mind, there are other costs associated with buying a car then the sticker price. You have to think about insurance, the cost to register the vehicle and other fees associated with the purchase. This may mean you have to look at even cheaper cars than you expected.
  2. Run your credit report. Before you go to dealerships to look at pre-owned cars for sale, you need to pull your credit report. When you go for a car loan, whether you talk to a bank, a credit union or the dealership itself, you do not want to be surprised by anything in your credit history. It is also important to check your credit report for mistakes. If you find any, you will need to contact the credit bureau to have those mistakes removed from your report. If you need to look at cars for sale before those items are removed, bring with you proof that you are disputing items on your credit report to the dealer, bank or credit union. You need to know where you stand in terms of your credit score before you seek a loan for vehicle.
  3. Try to get pre-approved for a loan. While it is true that car dealerships offer financing for the cars that they sell, you will be in a much better position to get better terms for that loan financing if you already have a pre-approved loan. You may still go with the financing offered by the used car dealership but the terms and conditions will be much more favorable. You should talk to your current bank, especially if you have a mortgage, or to local community banks or credit unions whose whole purpose is to help people in the community. They may say no but they cannot say yes if you do not ask.
  4. Set your budget and stick with it. Now that you know your credit score and know what you can afford to spend, when you go to the car dealership you can give that information to the salesperson. That may narrow down your choices and vehicles and help the car sale person find only the cars that you can afford. One good thing about looking at used cars versus new cars is that you can get more features and options with the preowned vehicles. If your budget allows for it, you can even look at used luxury vehicles, used luxury sports cars and other makes and models that may otherwise be out of your price range.
  5. Do not be intimidated by the used car salesperson. Many people assume that when they go to used car dealership, the sales people there will descend upon them like locusts. They assume the salespeople have one goal and that is to sell to anyone and everyone who enters the dealership regardless of their ability to pay for the vehicles. This is not true. The salespeople at the local used car dealership want to sell cars, for sure, but they also want the customers to be happy with the purchase. Happy customers will refer their friends and family, unhappy ones will not.

You can buy a used car that works for your needs. It just takes a little work and effort.

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