For busy moms, buying a used car can be simultaneously stressful and exciting. The market is packed with plenty of cool and affordable car options, but the prospect of dealing with salesmen while avoiding a bad deal can be anxiety-inducing.
However, if you are armed with a better understanding of what you should be looking for, where you should be looking, and how you should be approaching negotiation, can actually make the process—believe it or not—enjoyable. Buying doesn’t have to be stressful if you know what you’re looking for and how to avoid a lemon!
1. Set Your Budget
The first step is setting your budget. Before you go into any negotiations, be honest with yourself and consider how much you’re willing to spend. If you decide to take out a car loan with a bank like Chase, try to get preapproved before heading to a dealership. If you enter a dealership with guaranteed financing you’ll have leverage once the negotiations begin.
2. Research Makes & Models
The next step is research. Where should you be looking for your next car? You can either find a private seller, shop online, or go to a local dealership. If you do decide to check out a car lot, look locally and make sure the dealer is reputable; for example, if you live in Washington, check out a certified dealership like the Audi dealer in Kirkland, a dealership that offers a structured, tangible sales environment. Going to a dealership is a great way to try out the type of car you want before you actually buy it. Once you know what kind of make and model vehicle you want to buy, check out the Facebook Marketplace or
Should You Buy From A Private Seller?
One of the benefits of buying from a private seller is that they’re often more familiar with the history of the car. Thousands of cars pass through large dealerships each year, and it’s difficult for them to keep track of the records associated with every single one. Knowing the car’s history is important so you can anticipate future problems and be aware of changes made to the vehicle. Check out a vehicle’s history report on DMV.org. As long as the person is trustworthy and not trying to sell you a lemon, it can actually be much better to purchase a used car from an individual rather than a dealership or used car lot.
Should You Buy From A Dealership?
Car dealerships have their reputation on the line—you won’t be the first or last person they attempt to sell a used car to—and so they’ve implemented a more structured system for getting cars off the lot. Unlike private sellers, professional salespeople are trained in the art of negotiation, and it’s their job to get the most money they can out of every deal. However, there are a few simple tactics that buyers can use to take control of the situation and get a great deal on a used car.
When discussing a vehicle, the first question a buyer should ask is how much the dealership is selling it for. That forces the salesperson to set an outside price that they can never exceed. From there, you can attempt to talk them down by referencing identical vehicles being sold in other locations that are being offered at a lower price. Always remember to keep your cool—if you are rude or overly pushy, the salesperson won’t go out of their way to cut you a deal. Keep in mind that you hold the ultimate trump card: if you don’t like how things are going, or if you feel like the person is trying to rip you off, you can always walk away.
It’s also important to remember what is and what isn’t negotiable. You’re always able to discuss price—it’s expected that most buyers will—and the salesperson is given leeway by management to adjust the price if you make a convincing case for why it should be less. You are also able to negotiate delivery costs and refurbishment costs. Like your home, you want your car to be in the best shape possible, but you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to get it there. What aren’t negotiable are registration fees and taxes, which aren’t set by the dealership.
Don’t forget To Do A Test Drive!
Before buying a used car, make sure you take it for a test drive. When you get it on the road, check if there are any major blind spots that limit road
If everything checks out and you’ve negotiated the seller to a price that fits your budget, take the final step and finalize the purchase. Once you’ve done that, enjoy hitting the road with your new vehicle!