Even if you have cash in hand and money is not an issue, some things should be taken into consideration when buying a car, used or new. All it takes is a bit of free time and a bit more of research.
1. State your needs. The first thing you need to make clear is what you need from a car. According to the needs of your family and the type of driving (city or highway) you will narrow down the choice. After you have opted for a make and determine the year you wish, take time to compare models in terms of gas consumption. EPA’s website, www.fueleconomy.gov offers this insight based on the year, model and the make. Once you know this and are sticking to it, you can always ask for a lower price based on gas consumption.
2. Get the best deal. Scotwork negotiation lists 3 questions to see if you are headed for the right deal:
Do I understand the marketplace well?
Are my objectives defined?
Are outcomes for each item defined as well as my walk away point?
What follows is that you should not go to a car dealer to find out the price, but prepare yourself using online pricing websites such as TrueCar, Dave Smith, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds.com. These websites can also help you to be one step ahead of the car dealers. They will try to persuade you to opt for a specific car and pay a certain price by saying, for example, that it can be easily resold later. But, with user’s insights and comments collected from the websites, you can avoid this trap, set the price and be firm without going over it. Furthermore, as the customer is always right, you get to leave if not getting what you want. Your research can start with AutoTempest, a search engine for used cars on websites such as Craigslist, eBay, AutoTrader, Cars.com and many others. The good thing about these websites is that you can focus on car prices offered in your area listed for cars similar to the one you are interested in. It is beneficial to see the prices people really paid for used cars in recent period, or even to negotiate the prices, and for this eBay Motors is the best tool.
3. Inspect the car and the seller. Many people make mistakes such as not trying out the car beforehand or buying it immediately. By all means, this is not something you should do. Inspecting the vehicle and its history can get you to a better deal, since you can talk about the minor drawbacks such as scratches, mileage or things not mentioned in the advertisement or in the description on the website. Furthermore, the price set by the seller is the one he wishes to accomplish, not the one you are bound to pay. One way is to offer a specific amount of money, reasonably lower than the one offered, and say that you wish to buy today, or to be upfront and politely ask how low the dealer would go.
4. Take a stand on haggling. This one is all up to you. If you do not like to haggle be sure to let the seller know. Offer the amount you want to pay, stay firm, include all the repairs and maintenance in your conditions and if they are not ready to answer immediately leave your phone number asking them to contact you if they change their mind. On the other hand, if your choice is haggling, be sure to play it smart, lowering just a little bit and staying in the seller’s price range. Unfortunately, this way always involves some risk of you being without a bargain in the end.
5. Have it all on paper. It is very important to have on paper everything concerning the promises the seller gives with the contract. Before signing the papers and all the paperwork is done, make sure you will not pay for anything other than government sales taxes. Never sign a blank contract, and do not accept fees or service charges.
Hopefully, these steps can serve as guidelines for buying a car which is of a high quality, cost effective and which meets your needs.