The best ways to find a deal on a used car

Buying a used car is a deal in and of itself; you don’t have to pay as much money, and there’s a good chance that you can find a vehicle that’s either well-maintained or doesn’t have too many miles on it. And, if it does, you’ll have more money to put into maintenance because it didn’t cost you an arm and a leg like a new set of wheels!

But you can earn even more savings when you buy a used car than you might think! Here’s a few savvy tips and tricks for the first-time buyer.

Save Up

The best part about buying a used car is that the price will likely be very low (compared to new vehicles). You might be able to pay for the vehicle in full instead of getting financing from a bank or credit union. When you take out a loan, your vehicle will be even more expensive because you’ll have to pay interest with every monthly payment. A loan might give you a low monthly payment, but you’ll pay a substantial amount of interest if it takes you 2 to 4 years to pay off the loan.

Try and save up money so that you can pay for the vehicle in cash. Obviously, it’s easier said than done. Saving for a used vehicle is similar to saving for an expensive vacation. But with the right financial preparation, you could save a whole lot more money in the long run. At the very least, you could save money to put a larger down payment on the car. A larger down payment = less interest on your loan.

Private Sellers

You can find great deals from private sellers. What exactly is a private seller? A private seller refers to anyone who’s selling a vehicle who isn’t a licensed dealer. That could mean it’s your next-door neighbor who’s selling his old Volkswagen, or a small business owner who has a fleet of about 5 to 10 cars for sale. Private sellers are often looking to make any kind of decent profit on their vehicle, and most of the time they’re not as stringent about maxing out their profits. Some private sellers are just trying to get rid of their extra car, while trying to get a little pocket cash to use for a down payment on their next vehicle.

Where can you find private sellers? The best place to look is online. Websites like Craigslist make it easy to find private sellers that are close to your area.

Buying from a private seller does come with some risk though. Some private sellers might be untrustworthy—con artists, at the very worst, who are trying to run off with your money—and they might have lied about the quality and condition of the used car. Always make sure that you take the vehicle into an auto mechanic to be inspected BEFORE you buy the vehicle. Make sure that all transactions and agreements are recorded in writing and that you receive copies for your records.

Do A Little Road Tripping

The area where you live might affect how easy it is for you to find a deal on a used car. If you live in a metropolitan area, for instance, there will be much more people in the market for a used car, and so prices will be driven higher than what you’d find in a more rural area. Don’t be afraid to go on a short road trip! Drive away from your area and find car dealerships that are lesser known. For example, if you live in downtown Baltimore, drive out to a used Audi dealer near Timonium to get a luxury car at a good price. You’d be surprised at how such a short distance can result in major price drops.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Negotiation should be one of your key strategies, whether you’re buying from a used car dealer or from a private seller. Cars are a depreciating asset, which means that they lose value over time. Since you’re spending so much money on something that’s going to be worth considerably less in 5 years, you do have a little bit of leverage when you’re negotiating. If there are any imperfections about a car, like minor scratches or worn seats, point out those imperfections and make them a reason why you should receive a lower price. Don’t be shy. Used goods of any sort are entirely negotiable products, and vehicles are no exception.

To recap, here are the best ways to save up money on a used car: save up money and pay for the call in full, buy from private sellers, travel to areas with better deals, and negotiate for a better price. A vehicle—even a used one—will cost you quite a bit of money, so do everything you can to keep as much cash in your pocket as possible.

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