Buying a Used Car Makes Sense.
Nowadays, buying a used car just makes more sense than buying a brand new one. Not only is it less expensive in the short and long term. But auto insurance rates and registration fees are also less expensive. There are just so many reasons to buy a used car, but how do you go about doing it?
Just follow these simple car shopping steps:
- Decide on a budget. Whether it’s cash or a small auto loan, make sure the figure is reasonable for your situation. Remember to also calculate the registration and insurance costs. These little details are often overlooked.
- Know what you’re looking for. Make a list of your current needs in a vehicle. Maybe you travel a lot and need cargo space. Or maybe you are planning on growing your family. Keep these kinds of things in mind. Now, picture some of the smaller details and must-have features. Do you need Bluetooth or automatic windows? Make an honest list and pinpoint at least 3 models that fit your needs.
- Is it reliable? No one wants a vehicle that is just going to keep having issue after issue. Save yourself the headache and check through J.D.Power to see how each contender holds up. Also make sure to check out the Cost to Own through Kelly Blue Book. Some cars may be cheap initially but will require frequent maintenance or foreseeable repairs.
- Locating: It is easier than ever to car shop. You don’t even have to leave your house! Many used lots have their entire inventory online. Or, perhaps, find a seller near you so you can see for yourself in person.
- Pricing it out: Once you’ve located the few cars you’re interested in, research their market value using Kelly Blue Book. This way, if you are interested, you have somewhere to start negotiations. This will also be helpful if you are considering a trade in! Knowing your current vehicle’s value helps ensure a fair trade.
- Getting the facts: Before you set up a test drive, always run the vehicle’s identification number (VIN) using Carfax or something similar. This report will show you how many times it has been owned, if it’s been in any accidents and possibly how recently it has been maintained. By doing this step, you will also be avoiding any potential scams where the odometer altered to show lower miles in order to increase the selling price!
- Making first contact: Now that you have any and all information at your disposal, you are now ready to finish the job. Contact the seller, private or not, and be prepared to ask questions. You are about to invest a large amount of money into something. You are allowed to ask questions. One of the biggest ones is “Can I have it inspected by a mechanic”. The reaction to this will tell you everything you need to know.
- Going for a test drive: It’s easy to like the idea of a vehicle. It’s another thing entirely to actually get behind the wheel. You’ve done your research, but now you need to make sure you’re comfortable and that this is what you want. Tip: drive with the radio off so you can hear the sounds of the car. Note if anything sounds funny. Be sure to also drive in different areas with different terrain.
- Negotiate: This is the part most people dread. Here are some tips: 1) Start low in price. Don’t completely low-ball; that’s unprofessional. Keep the price in the ballpark and slowly bring it up. (2) Go slow and repeat the numbers you hear. 3) Ask for a break down of fees before signing anything. (4) Feel free to walk away. If you get the feeling they aren’t going to budge and you can’t seem to make it fit your original price point, don’t stay. Don’t want to negotiate? Shop at BVM for amazing prices from the start.
- Sign on the dotted line. You’ve decided on terms, now all that’s left is to make it official. As you look over the contract, read carefully. If you see any charges you don’t understand, ask. They can simply be removed if they can’t properly be explained. Make sure the title is signed over correctly per state requirements. Finalize your payment of choice, add it to your insurance and there you go! You got yourself a new vehicle.