Buying used cars is tricky. It’s cheaper than buying a new car for sure, but used cars can sometimes have changes made to them that you won’t realize until later on. Here are a few things that you should find out and that you need to do when looking at pre owned cars, whether you are at an auto dealers or buying privately.
- Find Out What You Can Afford.
Before you even go to a car dealership or look online at cars, you should know how much you can afford. A seller will probably try to convince you to pay a higher price than what you initially say you are trying to pay. This is when you have to make sure that you stand your ground and don’t get caught up in all the nifty gadgets and technology that they have to offer. You can always upgrade later on when you get more money but your goal for now, is to keep your monthly payments at less than 20% of your net income. Paying anymore than this for used cars is not a good deal.
- Find Out What Car You Need.
After figuring out what you can afford, you can then start to look at cars in your price range. The kind of car you get will depend on your needs; how often do you drive and where? Do you have any kids and how many? Do you have cosmetic specifications? What year, make and model do you want? These questions should be answered before even stepping out the door. Nobody can tell you the right car for you, this is something that only you can decide. Sure, getting suggestions from a salesman can be helpful, but in the end, you know what you need better than anyone else.
- Find Out What Your Car’s Value Is.
You can use your car for trade in value, at times. If you shop at a reputable dealers, they may take your car as part of your payment. Do not include this into your monthly payment affordability. This may only cover some initial costs. If your lucky, your current car may cover the cost of a down payment for your new-to-you car. However, don’t over and under estimate the value of your car. Do your own research before going to a dealership so that you know if they are giving you fair market value. Keep in mind that you may be able to sell it privately for more money but it’ll take longer.
- Find Out the History and Safety Report.
These are the most important things that you need to know about a car before you buy. Used cars have a paper trail if you look at Carfax or something similar. Using the VIN will help you determine the condition of the car you are looking into. If something looks different than what the seller is trying to tell you then take that as a red flag and move on to the next thing. You can also look at the car’s recall history on the NHTSA’s website. (National highway traffic safety administration.)
- Find Out How it Runs and Feels.
Going on a test drive will allow you to assess the car mechanically and cosmetically without committing to anything. This is when you need to not only listen to and look at the functionality of the vehicle but also make sure that it is comfortable and will work for what you need. For example, if you have young children will all the car seats fit? Or does the AC reach the back seat? All of these things are important factors in buying a car, used or not.
- Find Out if You Can Negotiate.
Sellers will usually mark up the price of the car in an ad or on the window sticker in anticipation of negotiating. There is a certain price that they are willing to go down to, you just have to find it. If you like the car and know that it is going to work for you, then you can start to negotiate until the two parties reach an agreement. Once this is done, all that is left is the paperwork and the car is yours for the taking.