5 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Used Car

There are some important things that you should take into consideration when looking to purchase a used car. Buying used can be a great way to save money, and even build equity in your vehicle. It’s a widely known fact that a brand new vehicle can depreciate as much as 11 percent the moment you drive it off of the lot. A used vehicle is really the best option for many people.

To some shoppers, hunting down the right car for the right price may seem like a daunting process. Knowing beforehand what your game plan is will help simplify the entire process and help it to go more smoothly. A good idea of the buying process may even save you some money. In this article, we will review 5 key points to keep in mind when looking to purchase a used vehicle.

1. What will your budget be?

Your budget will determine what vehicle you will ultimately end up purchasing. Some people prefer to purchase a vehicle outright in cash. Others save a few thousand dollars for a down payment on a car and then pay off the vehicle over time through an auto-loan. It’s important to decide beforehand how much you want to spend on a car, and what wiggle you may possibly have in your budget.

2. Are you buying from a dealership or an individual?

Deciding whether you will be purchasing from a dealership or from an individual is an important aspect of the car buying process. Both of these options have their benefits and drawbacks. Purchasing from a dealership may be a safer option, as if there are any issues with the vehicle, you will likely be able to resolve them and have a team of staff available to guide you.

On the other hand, purchasing from a dealership can be more expensive in the long and short term. Purchasing a car from an individual seller can be less of a hassle in some ways, as the person you are buying the vehicle from may be willing to negotiate on pricing and help you fix any issues you notice with the vehicle beforehand.

The problem with purchasing from an individual seller is that you get what you pay for, and once the title is in your name, there really isn’t anything you can do if problems arise with the car. Individual sellers also can not offer any sort of financing in most cases, so you will most likely have to pay for the vehicle in full on the spot.

3. What year, make, and model do you prefer?

knowing what year, make, and model you are interested in can guide the buying process and give you clear direction. You are less likely to be talked into purchasing a vehicle that doesn’t really fit your needs. There are many vehicles that retain their value well and are very reliable.

When purchasing a used car, this is really what you want to look for. Edmunds list of used vehicles that retain their values may be a good place to start. A few examples of vehicles that retain their value are the Subaru WRX, the Toyota Camry, and the Toyota Avalon. Possibly, you will be purchasing a used vehicle for other reasons, but it’s still important to know exactly which vehicle you are looking for before you start shopping.

4. Is the vehicle of your choosing mechanically sound?

It’s critical that you test drive the vehicle you like before you commit to buying it. Test driving the car is a good way to see how well it runs. During your test drive, you will want to listen for any strange noises that may indicate mechanical issues.

You’ll also want to see how well it accelerates, if the brakes function properly, and whether all of the electronic components are in working order. It’s also a good idea to make a stop at your local mechanic’s shop on your test drive. They can take a quick look at the vehicle and identify any serious issues.

For more tips on test driving a used car, check out this useful used car guide. You may also want to ask for a report on the vehicle that indicates any past accidents or if there are any liens against the title. Autocheck.com can be a great website for this type of vehicle history report.

5. Make a step by step list.

Though purchasing a used car may seem like a stressful and difficult process, it can be simplified by keeping a few things in mind. Having a good idea of what steps are necessary really can make things easier. For a step by step purchasing guide, take a look at this handy piece by Nerd Wallet.

Off you go!

Hopefully you’re better prepared for your purchase upon reading our post. If you’re not in a rush, take your time when buying, the longer you have to think the better.

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