How to Buy the Most Affordable Used Cars
A used car can be a real bargain over the cost of a brand new one, but not all used cars are great buys. Car dealerships still try to get as much money out of their customers as possible. Many customers end up paying much more than they need to for their vehicles. It is possible to get an affordable used car, however. Buyers just have to use the right strategies.
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Benefits of Buying Used Vehicles
New cars start depreciating heavily as soon as buyers drive them off the lot. At just one year old, the average car is a quarter to a third cheaper than it was brand new, no matter how much or how little the owner chooses to drive it.
There are other benefits, too. Used car owners pay much less in car insurance than new car owners. The allowable price range is wider at many dealerships, meaning that buyers can get better deals on used vehicles than on new ones, and used cars have never been more reliable.
Some used vehicles are even still operating under their factory warranties, which can be transferred to the new owner. That means that if anything is defective, it’s easy and inexpensive to get it repaired. Certified used cars don’t have the original warranty, but do come with special warranties of their own. This allows them to provide many of the benefits of new cars at a significant price reduction.
Getting the Best Deal
Buying an affordable used car does require some patience and care. Taking the first price that’s offered on the first car available is a sure way to end up with a poor bargain. Buyers can use a few special tactics to make sure that they’re getting the most affordable option.
Many used car buyers know what they want before they start shopping, but they don’t realize that many popular car models have lower-priced siblings. Buyers who are interested in the Toyota Camry, for instance, may benefit from checking out Chevrolet Malibus, Nissan Altimas and Honda Accords.
All these vehicles are built for the same market and provide a similar set of general features with just a few variations. The slight differences between the vehicles mean that buyers can choose a slightly less common vehicle and a better chance of a bargain. Often called second-tier cars, these vehicles are just as reliable, but are just a little less popular.
Knowing all about a car before making a decision allows smart buyers to get the best price, whether they’re purchasing from a dealer or a private individual. Many print publications and websites offer information about the appropriate price for a given vehicle in a particular condition. Buyers can’t always expect their used cars to sell at that price, but it gives them a good starting point.
Buyers who are worried about the condition of their used vehicle can trace its past using the VIN. This is especially helpful when dealing with a private seller or a suspicious dealer. VIN reports let prospective buyers know whether the car has ever been in a serious accident, declared as salvage or had other major problems. They can also uncover odometer rollback scams.
A car buyer’s financing method can actually affect the final price on a used car. For instance, if a buyer is able to pay entirely in cash, he or she can usually direct the negotiation much more effectively than a buyer who must borrow to purchase a car. Most people won’t be able to pay up front, but their financing choices can also affect negotiations.
Financing through the car dealership is appealing, since it allows the buyer to get all the paperwork done at once. It often comes with some disadvantages, however. Sometimes, dealers will even offer better rates for people with very good credit scores. Buyers can get the best rates on dealer financing by pre-arranging financing with a bank or other independent lender, though. Many dealers are willing to offer lower rates than the buyer’s pre-existing ones.
Independent financing is also a good choice for most people. It helps buyers keep the actual purchase negotiations simple and lets them look for competitive interest rates on their own schedule. Buyers do have to stick to the bank or other financer’s terms, however. It’s important to know what those are before choosing a specific used car.
It’s easy to be intimidated by a dealership, which makes it difficult to negotiate correctly. Potential buyers should remember that they have the right to walk out of any deal before the money has been handed over, no matter what. This is one of the most effective ways to get a good deal on a vehicle.
Of course, an affordable car isn’t as useful if it isn’t accompanied by an affordable auto insurance policy. Buyers should take the time to get quotes from a wide variety of insurance companies before signing any paperwork. This increases the chance of getting a good policy at a good price. The first option isn’t always the best, after all. Simply enter your ZIP code into the FREE comparison tool below to find the best policy!