Buying a used car, rather than a new one, is a great way to save money. As cars age the effect of depreciation decreases, so a used car will be losing less each year, compared with a new one.
Make a checklist to take with you to each car you inspect.
However, used cars are still an expensive asset and any saving you make has the potential to be a significant amount of money. Here are five ways to save money when buying a used car.
Research is vital for any important purchase. It serves two purposes; firstly, allows you to pick something that is right for your needs, and secondly, makes you look like a serious customer in the eyes of the seller.
Don’t head straight out to a car yard, or the salesperson will do what they do best, sell you something. If you need finance, sort out a pre-approval before you start looking for a car and compare car loans.
Buy the car you need
Once you know what you want and need, look for a car the fits that purpose. Buying a car that is too big, powerful, fancy or unique will cost you more, compared with a regular sized, common car. It isn’t only the higher upfront price, but the ongoing costs that will hurt you in the long run.
Make a checklist to take with you to each car you inspect. What you put on the checklist is up to you, but it should be the things that you really need. Fill in the checklist dispassionately. This will help temper your emotions should you happen to see the car of your dreams, which is, however, completely impractical.
Be in control of the sale and yourself
You should try to look like a serious buyer who is ready to make a purchase, if given the right offer. Know what you are looking for and how much you willing to pay for it. Leave room in any offer you make for a bit of back and forward between you and the seller.
You need to be able to walk away from a deal that isn’t right, or perhaps wait for a seller to move to your price.
As much as the seller is trying to sell the car to you, sell yourself to the seller. Focus on things that make their life easier like quick sales, paying on the spot, and getting inspections done quickly.
Calculate the costs
Cars are only part of the equation; there is registration, insurance, and repairs to consider. Before you commit to any car, have an independent, qualified mechanic check it out to see if it needs any work. Even if you think it looks alright, there could be thousands of dollars in maintenance due in the coming years, which you obviously don’t want to find out about after you have bought it.
With a little bit of patience and discipline you can save a decent amount on a used car. Just be sure to have the car check out so you aren’t left paying out any saving you make on fixing it up later.
Do you have any tips to save money when buying a used car? Comment below.