Buying a Used Car? This Is What You Need to Know

While buying a used car is usually considered a smart financial move, an impulse buy could mean a disaster. Whether you’re buying from a private seller or heading to the dealership, arming yourself with resources and knowledge will help you make an informed decision. 

Keep the following in mind before you buy a used car:

Identify What You Want and Do Your Research

Take some time and define what it is that you want from a car: its size, features you don’t want to compromise on, the number of passengers you want to accommodate, etc. 

Once you’ve done this, research which cars suit the description and find out what their prices are. 

If you want to go to a dealership just to browse, you might not be able to find the best deals because you might be pressured into the sale by a salesperson. Before you set foot into a dealership, look at ads and gather information on cars from different dealers so that you know what cars are available and what you might have to pay for similar cars in your area.

Set Your Budget

Don’t extend your budget just because a pushy salesperson is trying to persuade you. By setting a price range for yourself, you can narrow down your search and negotiate a price that fits your budget. 

When you speak to a seller, stick to your budget range, and until the seller or dealer makes an offer, don’t reveal your target price. This will give you more power while negotiating. 

Keep in mind that the budget shouldn’t only be able to finance the car, but it should also provide you with money for small repairs that may be necessary and an inspection. 

Consider All Financing Options

You might want to consider financing options beyond the dealership if you don’t want to buy the car with cash. For instance, you may be able to get a great rate on a car loan through a credit union. 

Try to get quotes from different places, and discuss with each potential lender about the types of vehicles you want and the price range you’re looking at. 

Run a Carfax Report

Carfax reports give you the history of a car, and they let you know if the car might have been in any worrisome events in its history, like an accident. While some dealerships will run reports for you, you might need to run a report yourself in some cases (or if you choose to buy the car from a private seller).