First of all, the simple fact that you’ve decided to purchase a used car is a smart decision. You can get a very good car and you don’t have to undergo the painful process of paying for the dramatic depreciation a new car suffers especially in the first two years. Ever purchasing a car that is only one year old will be at least 20 percent less expensive. Not to mention the other huge advantages involved in purchasing a used car.
First of all, you get to save a lot of money on insurance. Used cars always have cheaper insurance compared to new ones. Besides, if you plan on keeping the car for a longer period of time, you can always get an extended warranty to further protect your car. If you’re an experienced buyer, you can find much bigger bargains when dealing with used cars compared to new ones. If you’re lucky enough, you might even find cars that still have their factory warranty active, so more protection for you.
If a couple of years ago, a car history were something to be “feared”, nowadays you can easily verify the entire history of the car by simply tracing the VIN number, especially when you’re dealing with a private party. Purchasing a car from a private party can have loads of perks: you don’t have to handle that stressful situation when negotiating with a car dealer since you’re purchasing the car from another simple guy just as yourself. Private parties are less likely to try and hoodwink you or try to sugar coat a busted car. Since they have as much interest in selling the car as you have in buying it, they will present the car exactly as it is.
When you’re at the beginning of the car purchasing process, you probably know what kind of car you would like to have. The problem is: can you afford to buy this car? This question has to be answered before you do anything else. One of the best things you can do is expanding your horizons. Let’s assume that you’ve picked a car. Now you should pick two more cars within the same price range and compare them. Don’t be narrow, because you may be surprised with the results. Many times the first choice isn’t necessarily the right one. Let’s put it this way: if you’d like to get a Toyota Camry, then you should also look for a Honda Accord or a Nissan Altima. Although all of these cars cover just about the same market segment, they were built with different specifications and features.
Another important thing to watch for is the car’s condition. This is the cornerstone of a used car’s value. Depending on the number of miles it has registered, the performance delivered and last (but definitely not least) the car’s popularity, a car will be valued at a certain price. Naturally you would want a sturdy car which you can rely on, but do you want it to be the same as everyone else’s? If so, be prepared to pay some serious premiums for it.
Before making a decision, you should seek out car rating websites such as KBB or Edmunds. These are the two major websites for car ratings, reviews, compares and pricing. The KBB Market System and Edmunds True Market Value System are the perfect tools when attempting to find the best car for you. Once located, you must figure out how you want to pay for it. Edmunds comes to your help again with an Affordability Calculator.