Buying a used car is almost like a rite of passage. A lot of times, especially with the cost of living so high, a used car is the only option. I have a teen looking into buying a car right now and let me tell you, it has been really stressful. So I listed some advice I was given through research and it has helped tremendously. So I want to pass them onto you.
Get Pre-Approved for Financing
Dealerships have professional finance departments set up to make the whole loan process easier. You can fill out a pre-approval form right on their website, letting you have an idea about what your budget will be. Its a good idea to get pre-approved, so you know exactly what price range you should be looking in.
Factor in Insurance Costs
When I bought my first used car I didn’t think about all of the other fees I would have to pay each month. I bought the car based on my budget and at the end of the month I had $50.00 left. Try buying tags and insurance with that. Needless to say it was a complete nightmare and I ended up almost working myself to death to pay for it. Always factor in your cost of insurance, tags, and any other fees. If you are not sure about what the insurance is going to cost, get a quote online or call your existing insurance company. They will guide you through the process.
Buy Based on Purchase Price, Not on Monthly Payments
Be sure to always negotiate based on the purchase price of the car, and not the monthly payment. Also make sure that you know the “full” purchase price of any car that you buy. There could be extra costs factored into the price including various taxes, car preparation and delivery fees, and dealership costs that you won’t know about unless you ask.
Buy a Car You Can Afford
You can’t just think about the monthly payments or insurance costs. You have to also think about the upkeep. Does the car have parts that are easily available? Will this car need constant Maintenance. If you find your dream car and can afford a mountain of repairs, then by all means buy it. But if you are on a budget and can’t factor in that cost, keep that in mind.
Look at Both New and Used Cars
Cars are built much differently today, than 15 years ago. People are holding onto their cars longer than ever and that has dramatically increased the price of used cars. While buying a used car may be your only option, it would still be viable to look into a new car. You may find it is cheaper in the long run!
Buying a used car doesn’t have to be confusing. Just take your time, get the deal you can afford, and then enjoy that first drive in your “new” car.