If you cannot afford a new car at this given time in your life, don’t fret; you have other options. Used cars may get a bad rap, but that’s just hearsay! No matter where you reside in the U.S., there are plenty of used car options at your disposal. Once you have made the decision that you are in the market for a used car, make sure to learn exactly how to approach the process. The team at DriversLicenseAdvisors.org is here to teach you the tricks of the trade, so you can drive off the used car lot with a smile.
Step One: Estimate Your Budget
The first step in buying a used car – or any vehicle, for that matter – is to determine your budget. When it comes to crunching your numbers, it is also important to factor in things like gas, maintenance and auto insurance, as these expenses can add up over time. And, whether you plan to buy the car there on the spot or you need to finance your vehicle, you should have a square number in mind prior to visiting a vehicle dealer.
Step Two: Choose a Used Auto Dealer
Nowadays, there are several ways you can purchase a used car. There are local, family-operated used car dealerships, larger used car companies (like CarMax), online resources that have inventory from all around the country and private sellers. Of course, you can contact as many of these sources as you’d like in order to determine the best vehicle for your needs. Give yourself ample time to mull all of the information over, so you can schedule as many appointments as necessary prior to signing a used car over to your name.
Step Three: Visit the Car Dealer
Once you have decided on your best option – or options – the next step is to make an appointment with your potential car seller. Of course, you are always free to walk in as well; the choice is up to you. Once you are at the car dealership or the location where your potential purchase is located, go ahead and ask some questions. Request items such as a vehicle history report, learn the mileage of the vehicle, and try to find out about the gas mileage, if possible. Next, the team at DriversLicenseAdvisors.org strongly encourages you to inspect the vehicle. If you don’t know much about cars, bring someone with you who does! A full inspection prior to buying a used vehicle is non-negotiable – as is a test drive. Make sure you are able to take the used car for a spin, so you can ensure everything works to your satisfaction. Take note of any issues with the appearance or the operation of the vehicle, as these notes can come in handy when negotiating.
Step Four: Negotiate
Typically, when you are buying a used car, there is plenty of room for negotiation, as the seller’s main goal is to move the vehicle off his or her property, while making some money in the process. Now that you have asked all of your questions and have inspected and driven the vehicle, you should be able to negotiate properly. Here at DriversLicenseAdvisors.org, the experts know that one great way to negotiate is to offer cash upfront. There is no bigger incentive than cold, hard cash, and most sellers are willing to work with you if they can ditch the paperwork. If the car has any issues, you should factor these into your negotiations as well. In addition, if the used car is not offered with any sort of warranty or maintenance plan, this may be a red flag. If you are okay with this, then you can also use this to your advantage during negotiations, as you will have to pay out-of-pocket for anything no longer covered. One more great tactic in negotiating is to let the seller know you will need time to think over the purchase. Used car dealers and private sellers are trying to move vehicles as quickly as possible, so they are likely to work with you if you can take the vehicle off their hands that day.
Step Five: Drive off Into the Sunset
After following the above four steps, you are sure to land a great used car. Just be sure to take your time in working all the pieces into place. Once you have negotiated and signed the contract, you are free to drive off into the sunset in your perfect, used ride.