If you are thinking about buying a used car, whether out of financial necessity or just feeling like you don’t need a brand new car, there are lots of things you need to consider. The process can be a bit more involved than buying a new car, at least from your end as far as what to know and what to be on the lookout for. Here are just a few important considerations:
Don’t Wait Until You Need a Car
This might be a moot point for some of you reading this, but for the rest of you, it can be a good idea to start the process earlier, when you still have your current vehicle. When you are forced into car shopping because your last ride went kaput on you, you won’t be as likely to do your homework and you will probably not get the best deal you can because you’ll be a bit more desperate to get a car, and a dealer or private seller will know this.
Start weighing your options right now. Get an idea of what type of car you would want. Lots of dealers, like the Car Show, a used car dealership in Colorado Springs, offer the option to get notified of when certain cars come into their lot. This can be a great way to snap up the right car for your needs more easily.
Crunch Some Numbers
This is really, really important because it is really easy to get all starry-eyed by cars you really can’t afford…you may think you can by running some rough estimations in your head, but end up being off the mark. Or you will convince yourself you won’t mind cutting corners elsewhere to make the payment, but then the thrill wears off, and you just feel nothing but regret. So, really think about what you can afford to pay if you are going to be financing the purchase, either through the dealer directly or a third-party loan. As a general rule of thumb, car payments should account for no more than 20 percent of your take-home pay. When you have a better idea of what sort of payment is feasible, you will be in a much better position to shop around. And just a tip here…when going to dealers, don’t reveal your ‘ideal’ monthly payment…that can leave you open to spending a lot more for a car in the long-run than you would probably want to.
Get a Target List of Used Cars
Now that you have a budget in mind, you can start putting together a list of cars that may fit the bill. Consider what features are important and what you can do without. What is the primary purpose of your vehicle? You also want to remember that many second-tier cars come from solid manufacturers and you can save a lot of money while still getting a reliable car. Instead of a Toyota or Honda, consider a Chevrolet or Nissan. Are you planning on buying a standard used car or do you have a bit more to spend and would like a newer model certified pre-owned? Don’t go into the search totally blind.