You have many reasons to consider buying a used car instead of a new one. The market for used cars has all the latest models of vehicles and most of them are still in good condition. You can get your dream car at a lower price in the second-hand market. Another reason why you should consider this market is the savings on insurance payments, taxes, and registration fees. Here is a guide on how to buy a good used car.
Determine your budget and source of funds
How much are you willing to spend on a car? The prices of cars vary depending on the model and the number of miles covered. If you go for the latest models of your favorite brand, you will spend more. You can either pay for the car in cash or get a loan. Your budget will help you determine if you will need a loan to supplement your savings. Some people prefer to take a loan for a second-hand car and use their savings to buy a new model in the future.
Choose the right model
You may start with a particular model in mind but as you shop, you will come across other models that may serve you better. Look for a model within your budget that will meet your family’s needs. You may require a model with enough room and cargo space if you have a large family. The secret is to make a list of all the features that the right model must have before you go shopping.
Identify reliable markets for used cars
You can shop for a second-hand car online or offline depending on your preference. Shopping online may be the best choice if the models in your area are limited. You also have a chance to compare different models and prices from different sellers from the comfort of your home. Do not shy away from buying a car from a seller in another city in your state if it meets your specification.
Compare the costs and prices
Most online markets give you the option of filtering your results based on the car model, year of manufacture, miles covered, and price. Use such filters to narrow down the cars on offer to the models that fit your budget and specifications. The price is not always the ultimate guide to the full cost of the car. Compare related costs such as maintenance, registration, depreciation, and taxes.
Check the history of the car
The comparison of prices and costs will help you pick the best car for you. The next step is to learn everything you can about it even before you contact the seller. Every legitimate car on the market has a vehicle identification number that allows you to check its history. Check if the car has been involved in any accidents and has a clean title. You can get this information from online classifieds that offer free reports on cars. You can go a step further and buy a more detailed report.
Contact the seller for more details
The seller can give you further details about the car if you ask the right questions. Remember that each seller wants to sell his or her vehicle to the highest bidder within the shortest time possible. Ask the seller about the ownership history, service records, and possession of a clear title. Ask if a qualified mechanic has inspected the vehicle and the availability of service records. You need such information before you make an appointment to view the car.
Inspect and test drive the car
Having gathered all the information you can from online records and the seller, book an appointment with the seller. Inspect the car to determine if the information provided by the seller is accurate. Check the service records and its title where possible. Take a test drive as well. It is advisable to go for the inspection and test drive with a trusted mechanic if you have little information about cars.
Negotiate for the lowest price and close the deal
The last step is to negotiate further for the lowest price possible. The seller may be willing to reduce the price further from the advertised price. You need to have the average market price in mind when negotiating the price. Offer a price below the market price such you can negotiate up to the right market price. Ask about any additional fees and read all the terms in the sales contract before signing it.
The contract document should have the agreed price, registration fees, sales tax, and documentation fee. Most dealers charge for the documentation and registration process if they do it for you. Sign the contract if the figures and terms are satisfactory. The car changes ownership as soon as you sign the sales contract.