Used buys made easy

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New vehicles are great, but unlike homes, they begin to depreciate in value the moment they are driven off the lot. Because of that fact, some people prefer to buy used. With a thorough inspection and detailing, used vehicles can be just as nice as new ones on the showroom floor. If the time has come for you to buy a vehicle and you’re focusing on used ones, here are some tips to make your purchase easier.

Determine first what kind of vehicles you are interested in. Are you looking for a truck, SUV or car? What models appeal to you? What features appeal to you? Research and compare vehicles online. Keep in mind that the more popular the vehicle, the harder it will be to find used. Be flexible and consider similar models.

Review your budget. Do you have a lot of cash on hand? Used is a great choice, particularly if you have enough to pay for the vehicle outright. If you can’t afford the whole kit and caboodle, a healthy down payment will make it easier to find a good loan. When it comes to financing, shop around.

Don’t assume the dealership is your best option. It might not offer financing, and even if it does, you might not qualify for it or like the terms. A bank loan might provide you with better rates, especially if you have a good credit rating and a good down payment.

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Once you have an idea of what you want and can afford, you can start the shopping. Don’t leave a stone unturned in your search for a used vehicle. Check out all of the possibilities from dealerships to private parties. Browse the classified and dealership ads.

Check bulletin board and online listings. Keep an eye out for sale signs on vehicles. Take a cruise through major dealership and independent car lots. Get a feel for what’s out there before you consider making any offers.

When you have a list of prospects, take the time to check them out. Find out as much as you can about each possibility by obtaining a vehicle history report. This will provide you with an extensive review of the history of the vehicle, such as whether the odometer has been rolled back. Ask for a copy of the service records as well. That way, you can see how well the vehicle has been maintained.

Never buy a vehicle without a few test drives. Bring along someone who knows about vehicles and listen closely as you start up the engine. Go for a drive during the day and see how the vehicle handles. Does it run smoothly? Does it have enough room, in particular headroom and legroom? Does it feel right? You should check out the condition of the interior and exterior as well. Damage there could mean damage in the mechanics.

Should you suspect there are issues, trust your instincts. More than likely, there are problems, and to be certain, you should arrange to have the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic. Even if everything seems fine, you might still want to have the vehicle checked out by a mechanic.

If you are really concerned about getting a lemon, you might want to look into purchasing a certified used car. These typically cost more, but they have been thoroughly inspected at the dealership and often come with a warranty.

When you have found a vehicle you like and are ready to make an offer, be prepared to haggle. Make a low offer, somewhere in the ballpark, to show that you are serious. Then get ready to wheel and deal.

Know how much the vehicle is worth and how much you are willing to pay for it, and should you reach either limit, back out. Be patient but firm. Don’t exceed your budget or fall for other pitches like an extended warranty. If the salesperson gets too pushy, walk away. There are other dealerships offering quality selection and service.

Insist on a contract when the price negotiations are done and take the time to review it carefully. Know what you are getting into before you sign on the dotted line. If there is repair work to be done, get it in writing. If you are buying the car outright, make sure you get the title and the previous owners have signed it.

Buying a used vehicle is not a decision to rush into. Take your time, do your homework, and with any luck, there won’t be any surprises.

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