Buying a used car and getting a great deal is not as tough as many would lead you to believe. It is true that you can be taken if you don’t do the legwork, but getting a great deal is possible as well. The key is to be thorough, don’t take shortcuts and never act on impulse. Here are some tips to getting the ultimate deal on your next used car:
1. Accept the need for a quality mechanic
If you are buying a used car, the first step you need to take is to secure a really good mechanic. If you don’t have one already, find one through friends and family. A mechanic can assess a car with eyes that are not focused on the car but on the engine. Even if you are a mechanic yourself, you should have a different one check it out to remove the bias.
2. Follow the paper trail
Every car has a paper trail. Purchase receipts, mechanical work and oil changes all provide history and that history in front of you makes a car much more valuable. Try to find cars that have all that paperwork and actually look at it. People that keep paperwork and can show a history of good maintenance are far more likely to have a solid vehicle to offer.
3. Put extra emphasis on one-family vehicles
Used cars that stay within one family are also a great sign of a good car history. Generally speaking a car that hangs around in the family like that is going to be well cared for.
4. Never make a snap offer
Before you ever talk price, you should make sure the car is in great shape and you want it. Some guys purchase cars based on repairs that they feel they can make. This is almost always a losing proposition. Car repairs are far too unpredictable for the average person. Check the car out and then consider price.
5. Bring cash (as well as a couple of friends)
For safety, you should always meet in public and bring a couple of friends along. That said, cash still talks. If you have the cash in your pocket and extend it to them when you make your offer, that will sometimes sway them to take less than they normally would.
6. Never offer what they are asking
Except in the rarest of cases, people have added a buffer into the price of their used car. Because of this, they almost always will take less. The key is to work them to their absolute best offer. This begins by making a fair offer that is not your maximum out of the gate. For example:
They are asking $3000. That means they will probably take around $2500. You know that you have $2000 in your pocket, so you actually offer $1800. From there, you can work your way to as much as $2000 and you are more likely to actually get it. Stay firm on your offers until they give in a bit. Once they do, then you give in a bit. When you get to your final offer, make sure you say so and stick to it. (Even if that means walking away) Some people will make you begin doing so before giving in to your price.
7. Be patient
Ultimately, you may have to walk away from several used cars you love before you find the one that you are meant for. Many people get frustrated and either blow their budget or settle for less than they hoped for. Stay patient and vigilant and you will find the used car that is meant for you.
In the end, we hope that these tips will help you to maximize your investment and make the most of your used vehicle purchase and your money.
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