Buying a car can be a frustrating, stressful, nerve wracking experience for anyone. But add in the stress of credit checks and down payments and you can see why many people hate car shopping. But it doesn’t have to be. The easiest way to purchase a car with ease is to know how to negotiate and know the right questions to ask. With some good negotiating skills though, you can buy used cars at reasonable prices and without the headaches. Here are the four things you must do before making a used car purchase.
1. Determine if you are trading in your old vehicle and how much it’s worth
You’ve found the dream car you want to buy and think that the price is fair. You also have a car you need to get rid of. But how much is your car worth? People who trade in their used vehicles often do not know the value of their vehicles. It’s common for the buyer to focus their attention on the potential gain of the new car and not putting much thought into the value of the old car that you are trading in. The truth is that the value of your old car is as important as the benefit of the newer car. It is good idea to determine the real value of your trade-in before looking for its replacement to avoid leaving money on the table. Also, your trade in can directly affect the cost of the car you’re buying, by lowering the amount of money your spending.
2. How much can you afford to spend
Before you walk into a dealership know how much money you have been approved to borrow (if you need to borrow). If you’re paying cash, know the amount you are willing to pay, and write that amount down on a piece of paper. The point of this is to let you know exactly how much you can spend and you know what cars you can afford. It’s one step that makes negotiating a breeze. You would be surprised how many people buy a car without knowing their credit and and their spending limit. These people often end up in cars they can’t really afford.
3. Know the exact car you want to see
So, it’s a beautiful Saturday morning and you’re out looking for a used car. You’ve seen the ads and specials. If there is a specific car you want to see, ask to see that one. But be careful, while most dealerships are trustworthy, there have been occasions where dealers advertise a specific car at an unbelievable price. Once you arrive you find out that was for one specific car. Luckily there are laws all across the country to combat this, like in New Jersey. If you look for used cars for sale in NJ, there are very specific regulations prohibiting false advertising and tactics. As a buyer, it helps you to know the car you want to see and test drive ahead of time.
4. Check the value of the car you like
Just like you shouldn’t trade in your car without knowing it’s worth, you shouldn’t go looking for cars without know what they’re worth either. You can check out Kelley Blue Book to get an idea of what a car should cost. Typically a good dealer will be within 2% to 4% of that price on a comparable vehicle. This is just more information to have handy and know before you buy.
It’s understandable that purchasing a car is stressful. No matter what, you’re spending a good chunk of money. There’s no reason for it to be any more stressful than it already is. Follow these four guidelines before buying a car and have a relatively easy time at it!
Jillian Johnson is a professional content marketing writer and blogger with a particular interest in writing about cars. To read more writing by Jillian, follow her @MissWritey.