Your first step should always be to reflect on what you'll want on your checklist. Make a list of all the things you want from a vehicle, as well as all the things it needs to do. A soccer mom may need extra seating for carpooling and lots of room for sports equipment, while a bachelor or bachelorette might enjoy a smaller sportscar for zipping around town and easily parking in tight spaces.
Additionally, consider gas mileage. If you have a long work commute, a gas-guzzling SUV may not be the best choice for you. You'll also want to think about how long you'll keep your new ride, because that will determine if its resale value is a concern. As you discover your needs, be sure to write them down.
While your budget is important, so is your credit. If you plan on taking out a loan when you start visiting used car dealers, your credit score will play a role in what you can afford. If your credit is good, the bank may be willing to work with you to lower your interest rate. If your credit is bad, the APR may be higher. Many of the larger used car dealers work hand-in-hand with banks to ensure they can assist people, regardless of their credit score, in obtaining the best possible loan rate and payment plan. Of course, you may independently obtain your own financing before making an offer on a car. The choice is yours.
Next, check the vehicle history on a site like Carfax.com. If the vehicle checks out, schedule a test drive of the car, and try to test it on roads like the ones you would typically encounter during your day-to-day routine. Ask any used car dealers you visit for records. After considering all the aspects of the car and whether it fits your budget, make an offer to a trusted salesperson.
While negotiating, feel free to take time to think about counter-offers, use the bathroom, or eat a meal. There should be no rush when making this decision, and the salesperson should help you feel at ease.
When you are in the market for a pre-owned vehicle, you may not know who to turn to. Private sellers may not be selling you a reliable auto, and you have no warranty to protect you if your ride breaks down. The best way to buy a new-to-you vehicle is to trust used car dealers. Find out three reasons you totally can.