For some, owning a car is a dream come true. However, not everybody can afford to buy a new car. This brings us to the idea of purchasing a pre-owned car. Second hand cars are much cheaper and can be in excellent condition if you buy from the right dealer. There’s nearly 40 million car used car exchanges done every year between dealerships and private parties. This means that you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right dealer. However, dealers won’t tell you everything about the car and you to do some testing yourself. Below is a few things that you should do before you purchase a pre-owned car.
- Have a List of Your Preferred Models
Growing up as a car fanatic has taught me one major thing about cars – brands compete with each other for the market. This means that you can easily get confused when choosing a car because they all look good, and the manufacturer claims that the car is the best. Different car brands will definitely offer different performance specifications and at different prices. As a buyer, you should have a personal list of cars that you’d prefer based on the specifications and features. That way, you can narrow down your options.
- Check Your Budget
As much as cars can be costly at times, it’s important to note that your budget is the first criteria that you’ll use to single out the car that you want to buy. This means that it wouldn’t make sense for you to want a used foreign car that will cost almost twice as much as a used American car. Remember that the initial reason as to why you chose to go for pre-owned cars was because of budget restrictions. You can search here to get more insight into various used cars. Once you have narrowed down the cars that fall within your budget, you can now look at other features to make a sound decision.
- Start with Used Cars in your Area
You’d be very surprised to find out that there’re many car owners around your neighborhood that are willing to sell their cars at giveaway prices. Cars are good for convenience but are a liability because they depreciate in value every year. By searching the internet and visiting local dealerships, you can easily come across one or two suitable used cars in your area that may suit your needs and may still be within your budget range.
- Vehicle History Report
Getting a used vehicle requires that you be keen about the car history report. This is what will guide you to determine whether the car is worth buying. Furthermore, the car’s accident and mechanical history will tell you whether or not it’s worth the price you are paying for it. The report will help you know the owner, mileage, issues experienced in the past, and other small details that may be important to you. On the other hand, if you’re buying from a family member or friend, you can ask them if the car has ever had an accident. Sometimes, you may know the vehicle history report without your friend telling you because you’ve seen him or her with the vehicle from day one and know everything about his or her road trips.
- Reach out to the Owner
Once you come across a car that you want to buy, it’s best advised to contact the previous owner first before doing anything else. At this point, you still haven’t laid eyes on the car and that’s why you need to have a discussion with the previous owner to seek clarification on some of the vehicle’s features and ask further questions. You may notice that the seller may have left out some details from the ad which may lead you to change your mind. You can ask private-party sellers why they want to do away with the car or whether there are any mechanical issues that you need to know about. Ask the dealership to give you the previous owner’s number so that you can have a chat with them.
- Go for a Test-Drive
After you’re done discussing with the car seller, don’t be in a hurry to start negotiating the buying price. First, you need to make a booking to test drive the car and have a feel of it on the road. This will give you a chance to realize what exactly is wrong or right with it even if the seller hadn’t mentioned it to you initially. Be sure to check on the basic requirements such as car tech, handling, fuel mileage, performance, exterior, and interior upholstery and any other problems that may be present.
If you want to be extra careful, you can have your mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle before you purchase it. There are some things that even an experienced driver or car owner won’t notice until they drive the car for an extended period. That’s why you may need to inspect the vehicle thoroughly before purchasing it.
- Negotiate Fairly
Now that you’ve come this far, this is now the best part to ask for the buying price (if it wasn’t mentioned before) or negotiate it to be as low as possible. However, bear in mind that a very low priced vehicle could mean that there could be something wrong with the car. A fair negotiation should start by almost half the initial price of the car as you lower it to a preferable price.
- Finish up with the Paperwork
Once you have agreed on a price, you can go ahead and read the selling contract before signing it after confirming that the terms are favorable. Watch out for extended warranties and additional charges. If you are buying directly from the owner instead of through a dealership, make sure that the contract properly transfers ownership to you. After that, you can close the deal.
Choosing a pre-owned vehicle can help you save money when purchasing your first ride. Use the above tips to make sure that you get your money’s worth and don’t up getting the worse end of the deal.