You’re ready to consider the purchase of a used car. Whether it’s to replace the one you already own or to add another car for a new driver in the household, you’ll want to feel confident with the buying process from the start. Follow these tips for best results.
Create a Realistic Budget
You’ll have better luck in the long run when shopping for a used car if you first create a budget. Determine how much you can afford. Will you be paying cash up front in addition to taking on monthly payments? Are you planning to trade in your current car as down payment? Figure out how you will pay for the car first before you start your search. Don’t forget to include new insurance coverage costs into the budget. You won’t want to get your heart set on a car you can’t afford to insure.
Figure Out Your Financing
It’s important that you get a pre-approved financing deal in place before you start shopping for a car. Financing a used car is considered a higher risk than financing a new car, in the lender’s perspective. This risk stems from the fact that you’re more likely to have unexpected repair costs as the car ages, which may cause difficulty in your ability to make your monthly payments. The value of the car becomes more unpredictable with age as well, making it more difficult for a lender to value its collateral, your used car. Look at your credit score, as this is one of the key elements lenders will use to determine your loan approval and the interest rate that will be applied to the loan.
Ask the Right Questions
Finding the right used car means you must ask a lot of questions. First, ask yourself why you drive, where you drive and how you drive so you can find the vehicle that fits both your needs and budget. Once you begin car shopping, questions will be aimed at the sellers. Who owned the car and for how long did he own it? How many different people have owned the car? Was it ever in an accident or had it been in a flood? Is there documented repair and service history available? Be prepared to gather plenty of information so you can make an educated decision before you buy.
Drive and Inspect It
Get behind the wheel of your potential car and drive it around. Does it make any unusual sounds that are concerning? Does it hug the road well or will the tires soon need to be replaced? Especially if you’re on the road often for work, is the seat comfortable for long-distance driving? Be aware of how the car smells when you get in. Will it need to be detailed before it’s yours and does that cost fit into your budget? Confirm that the car’s manual is available, if the spare tire is accounted for and that all the windows and doors function properly.
Enjoy your new car and read about ways to keep your newly purchased car safe and prevent theft.