Buying a car is an exciting experience whether it’s new or used. However, there’s a lot more to be concerned about when buying secondhand. Used cars can last for years or months depending on their condition and dealers often overcharge, but how can you know if you’re making the right choice? Check out these tips to get the best deals and avoid buying a lemon.
Do Your Homework
Never walk into a dealership or head to a private seller unprepared. Take the time beforehand to research car rankings, reviews, and prices. Keep in mind that the most affordable used cars are rarely the best. If it doesn’t fit your budget and reliability needs, it isn’t a good deal.
Spend Time Searching
Unless you’re in a pinch, don’t jump on the first deal you see. You might end up buying a vehicle with a substantial defect or unseen issue. Not only that, but you’ll probably end up paying more than you should. Take your time as you hunt for the best deal possible.
Take Things One Step at a Time
Confusion is a car salesperson’s best weapon. It gives them the upper hand as they intertwine trade-in values and financing costs in with the car’s price. As a consumer, you want to treat all three of these as separate costs.
During negotiations, keep the actual price of the vehicle as your primary focus. You can choose to lump the other costs/savings in if you want, but you could also sell privately sell your car and finance through a bank. Credit unions are an excellent option for financing as well.
Forget the Payment
A salesperson’s second-best weapon is keeping the buyer focused on the cost of a monthly payment. If you keep the actual price your primary focus, you’ll see that the monthly payment game attempts to get the buyer to ignore interest charges.
To get the best deal, you’ll need to combine the lowest selling point of the car with the lowest interest rate. Picking the shortest loan period you can is also highly advised. This keeps you from overpaying for cost-affecting factors like punitive damages from a car accident. Don’t worry, the monthly payments will fall in line if you follow this tactic.
Put on Your Poker Face
Sellers love taking advantage of the excited buyer. To combat this, some people try to be standoffish or even jerks, which doesn’t help either. The trick is to stay neutral and calm throughout the buying process, never letting your emotions get the better of you. Treat it like any other business transaction or conversation and you’ll do just fine.
Dealers vs. Private Parties
If you’re skipping the dealership, the potential for savings is enormous. You’re also skipping overhead and sophisticated sales negotiations. That doesn’t mean you can drop your guard, though. Make sure to review the vehicle’s history on Carfax and utilize a pre-purchase inspection.
If you’re taking the dealer route, you can guarantee the vehicle is factory-certified and professionally refurbished. Dealers are more likely to pull a fast one during the negotiating process, and you will undoubtedly pay more. The choice is yours, so weigh the pros and cons wisely.