Are you looking to buy a used car for you or for your family? In this case, you most definitely need our advice. Often, people rush to the first used car dealership and start looking around for their next car. It’s easy for car dealers to make these people believe that a certain vehicle is perfect for their needs. Only later do these people realize that the car is not exactly what they had expected. But it’s too late because used car sales are final. You can’t return a vehicle just like you would return a pair of jeans.
This is why you need to know the right approach to buying a pre-owned vehicle. There are millions of used cars being sold all over the United States at any given time. There are thousands of different vehicles in your area, in other words. Why would you go to the first dealership and buy the first car the salesperson shows you? Keep in mind that it’s the dealer’s job to sell you a car and make a profit for the dealership. But it’s your job to do your homework and be prepared.
Buying Used Cars Is Not Easy
Buying a used car is not easy. It’s not that the paperwork is difficult to do. It’s not even the fact that some cars are Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) and others are not. Buying used cars is difficult because there are so many options around. You can pick any of the thousands of cars in your area. So, which one do you pick? Which one is better? Which one requires the least maintenance? These are questions that you have to answer yourself. The car dealer will tell you that all the cars on the lot are excellent choices for you.
Nowadays, you have the Internet at your disposal. You can find out everything about a specific make, model and year just with a quick Google search. You can even find reviews from professionals for almost any make and model you can imagine. And most importantly, you can find the average price that make and model goes for on the market. Let’s take a look at the five major mistakes you can avoid simply by doing your research.
The 5 Mistakes You Can Avoid
- The first mistake – obviously – is not taking time to research various vehicles. It takes just a couple hours to select the most reliable and economical model out of a list of 10 vehicles. Find out exactly which cars are a good fit for you before you leave for the dealership.
- Setting your heart on a specific model is another big mistake. The used car dealer will quickly notice that you are in love with one specific car. Your chances of negotiating the price will be slim because the salesperson knows you will buy the car no matter what.
- You need to test drive the car. Doing otherwise would be a mistake. When the dealer tries to get you to follow the planned test drive route, refuse. You want to do a thorough test drive of the car, so go ahead and drive it around town to see how you and the car get along.
- Not negotiating the price is another mistake. Used car dealers are open to negotiations and to sensible offers. Don’t miss the chance of getting 10% — or more – off the price of the car! However, you need to do the research and find out how much that specific make, model and year really is worth.
- Never focus on just the monthly payments. The dealer will try to offer you a financing option with low monthly payments but with an extended term. You can end up paying a lot of interest over the years. To cut costs even further, increase the size of your down payment.
The reality is that people can buy used cars and save a lot of money in the process. However, you need to come prepared. This will not give the dealer the chance to mislead you. Furthermore, don’t discuss payment terms until you’ve agreed to a price with the dealer. And remember, no matter how nice the car may be, always test drive it at least 10 miles. You want to make sure that you like the car and that you can drive it every day. You can’t return the car in a week because it’s not a good fit, like you would return a pair of jeans for example.