More than 40 million used cars change hands every year in private and dealership sales. This is an indication that people are looking for ways to save while still getting something that is in a good condition. Most people look for cars that are under $5,000, and with a good plan in place, it is possible to get the right used car. With so many choices, finding the right option can be quite trick without a plan.
What Brand and Model Do you Want?
The first step is to build a target list of cars that you would love to own. Most people usually opt for Honda and Toyota since they are usually the most popular used cars. But, if you are looking to save, stick to one brand and make a list of three options that you love. For buyers who want used cars for sale that are less than 5 years old, it is wise to opt for one that is certified pre-owned (CPO). These options have long-term warranties, which are backed by the carmakers.
What’s Your Budget?
How much are you willing to pay for the used car? If you are taking a loan to pay for the car, the car payment should not be more than 20 percent of your take-home pay. If you have a tight budget, you may want to get a cheaper option. Keep in mind that there are other costs such as maintenance and new tires that come with a used car. Remember other ownership costs that shoppers forget to account for such as insurance and fuel. If the car you want to buy is out of warranty, ensure to set aside some funds to cater to the unexpected repairs.
Check the Prices
When you have your options and budget ready, it is now time to check the prices from different auto dealers or other potential private parties. Prices differ widely by where you are shopping such as dealerships, used-car retailers, and independent used car lots. Private party sellers usually have the lower car prices and CPO cars usually cost the most. If you find something that interests you, first check the history report.
Getting a used car is not as easy as expected even though there are varied options to consider. It pays to take the time and find an option that will not give you additional problems after the purchase. Car dealerships can help you to find an option that is already inspected, tested and certified.