Buying a new (or new to you) car can be a fun and exciting experience if you approach it in the right way. It can also prove difficult and frustrating if you fail to prepare accordingly. Here are just a few strategies to try if you want to ensure a successful used car buying experience every time.
Know What You Want
If you head to the used car lot wanting nothing in particular, you’re probably going to find just that. If you’re serious about buying a used car, it behooves you to have at least some idea of what you’re looking for.
Are you in the market for a truck, sedan, or SUV? Are you more interested in a convertible? Will you often transport passengers, including children? Are you looking to save money on gas, maintenance, and other services? Do you want a newer, certified pre-owned vehicle with low mileage and some warranty remaining?
Even if you haven’t nailed down the make and model you want, you can at least put together a wish list of features to get started. This will help to make your car buying experience a lot smoother. Don’t forget to decide on a budget, as well.
By the time you arrive at a used car dealership prepared to make a purchase, you should have already spent some time comparison shopping to ensure you have a good handle on competitive pricing for the makes, models, years, and conditions of vehicle you’re looking at. Remember, you can always refer to KBB.com to check recommended pricing, although you should keep in mind that value depends on a number of factors and can vary from one vehicle to the next, depending on mileage, wear, upgrades, and so on.
Prepare to Haggle
Even when buying a new car, there’s a fair amount of wiggle room in pricing, especially if you’re a cash-in-hand kind of buyer. When it comes to used cars, haggling is expected. Never assume that the sticker price is a done deal – you might walk away from an opportunity to get a great car at a price you can manage if you never even try to negotiate with the dealer.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
If you’re on a budget and you’re just not prepared to pay what the dealership is asking for, don’t be afraid to walk away and give yourself some time to think about it. You may decide that the value is worth the extra expense, or you might want to look into other options that are more in keeping with your budget.
What you’re bound to find is that seasoned professionals at used car dealerships like Car America are more than willing to work with you to help you have the best car buying experience possible. They want to ensure that you leave happy, with a car that’s going to serve your needs. When you have a clear idea of what you want and your budget going in, you have the best chance to work with a dealer to find the used vehicle that’s going to meet all of your needs, now and for the foreseeable future.