High-level Considerations for Buying Used Cars
Buying a used vehicle can be an excellent way to strike a balance between budget and value, but it can also be a very intimidating process. Americans find car shopping very stressful, studies say, as the infinite options and the complexities of budgets and loans can get overwhelming. To help you navigate through the process, here are some useful tips to keep in mind when shopping for a used car.
Budget is everything
The point of buying a used car is to get a good deal. Cars lose a huge chunk of their value the moment they’re driven off the dealer’s lot. Therefore, buying a second-hand car might make more financial sense than buying a new one.
The key is to figure out a budget — and stick to it. Come up with a number that makes sense for you in your current financial situation. Only take on limited debt through a car loan. Common-sense guidelines for acquiring a car loan are readily available online. Always keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to go into debt to get a car. It’s fine, and even smart, to pay in cash and avoid debt by going for a cheaper option!
Throughout the rest of the car-buying process, stick to your guns and make sure that you don’t go over your limits. It’s easy to get carried away when shopping for a car, but it’s very, very important for you to approach this major purchase sensibly.
Take advantage of research and safeguards
A car doesn’t just cost you money when you buy it. You’ll also be paying for maintenance and repairs — which, if you’re not careful, can make your used car experience a real nightmare. A super cheap used car may be cheap for a reason, and if you end up paying through the nose just to keep your clunker on the road, you’re not going to be a happy camper.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from the danger of buying a real beater. Start with a sensible budget that leaves you looking at cars with plenty of life left in them, and do your research. Check out the Kelley Blue Book for fair car values, and make sure that you get your hands on a vehicle history report before you make any vehicle purchase.
Buy your used car online
Want to save money? Skip the dealer and look for your car online. Thanks to the rise of the internet and e-commerce, it’s easier than ever to buy things online — including cars. Shopping online will give you a wide view of all the cars available within your search radius, so you won’t be limited to what’s on the lot at your local car dealer. Check used car auction websites to try to snag a really good deal: sites like Auto Auction Mall will usually also have buy-it-now features, in case bidding is not your thing. Consider cars from further afield than you might have initially thought of: you may find that a quick road trip or a paid car delivery is worth it if you find the perfect ride somewhere you might not have looked otherwise.
If you follow these simple tips and are sure to stick to your budget, then you should have a relatively painless used car buying experience.