From a financial perspective, buying a used car as opposed to a brand new car is beneficial in a number of ways. Not only is the asking price lower, but you are in a position to avoid the massive depreciation in value that occurs during the first year of new car ownership.
Of course, just because you are saving money by purchasing used does not mean you should agree to pay the sticker price. There are steps you can take to negotiate a better deal – so why not save even more money?
1. Know the Market Value
There are many tools that can help you establish the market value for a used car – the most well-known is Kelley Blue Book. In addition to using professional tools, you can do your own research before meeting with the seller. For example, if you are planning to buy a 2009 Honda Accord, you may want to find as many as possible that are currently for sale in your region. Take notes on the asking price of each, as well as the mileage, condition, and included features. This can give you a leg to stand on as you begin to negotiate with a seller.
2. Use the Car’s Condition to Get a Better Deal
Let’s face it: When you are buying a used car, you cannot expect it to be in perfect condition. However, you can still take note of imperfections and use them to your advantage to lower the price.
Is there a ding on the door? How about a scrape on the bumper? Minor cosmetic issues will give you the upper hand in the negotiating process. The more of these you point out, the better chance you have of talking down the price.
If you are really looking for a great deal, have the car inspected by a mechanic. Once you have their report in hand, you can have a better idea of whether or not the car is worth buying, and if there is anything else you can use to your advantage while negotiating.
3. Ask for Extras
You may not be able to shave any money off the asking price, but this does not mean you should give up on trying to add value to the transaction. Why not ask for repairs to be made? Why not ask for an extended warranty to be added to the vehicle? When buying from a dealer, as opposed to a private seller, it is often simple to get these extras added to the deal.
Buying a used car is going to save you money. Regardless of the sticker price, though, you should feel compelled to negotiate. You never know how much money you can save until you try. The seller expects you to haggle with him or her, so do what you can to bring the price down to a level that is fair for both parties.
What other tips can you suggest to save money when buying a used car?