1. Buying a car – new or used – can be a nerve-wracking experience.  It’s a large investment and you want to be sure you are getting the best deal you can.  With a new car, you typically get a good warranty, making it a smaller chance of getting a lemon.  But, buying a previously owned car can be a very different story.  Knowing how to buy a used car isn’t always simple, but it can be an easier and better experience if you remember these top ten tips:

    Tip 1:  Do your research

    The more research you can do beforehand, the better.  Research not just the type of used car you want to purchase, but also the potential car dealers you plan on visiting so you can get an idea of their reputation.  Even research your own credit rating (everyone is entitled to a free credit report once a year) so you can understand what type of loan you can get and what interest you might have to pay so there are no surprises!  Consider getting a used car buying guide, or ask your friends or family their advice on buying a used car as well.

    Tip 2:  Know what you are buying

    Once you have picked out your potential new used car, test drive it and don’t forget to get that car report which tells of any accidents, flood damage, fire damage, etc.  Most, if not all, reputable car dealers will supply this report on the vehicle of your choice at no charge.

    Tip 3:  Have it checked out

    Before buying that used car, take your research a step further and have it inspected.  It’s okay to have your own certified mechanic check out the car.  If you can arrange it, have your mechanic come down to the car lot with you or arrange with the dealer to provide a demo permit so you can take the vehicle for a couple of hours to your mechanic’s shop.  Simply ask!  Used vehicles may look sound from the outside, but you never know what could be lurking under the hood!

    Tip 4:  Be honest and upfront

    This could save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.  If you have identified the amount of used car you can afford, the monthly payments you are comfortable with, and how much money you can put down, saying so upfront will save you hours of looking at (and maybe even falling in love with) cars you ultimately can’t buy.  If you have bad credit, the dealer will find out during the paperwork stage, so letting them know beforehand will give them the chance to tell you if they can even help you or not.

    Tip 5:  Know what you are getting into

    If you do have bad credit, don’t let the salesperson push you into a deal you are uncomfortable with, such as a ridiculously high interest rate or more money down than you can spare.  If you are able to get the financing but it is just too much to handle, the salesperson could try and get you to sign on the dotted line using guilt or other tactics.  Just walk away. 

    Tip 6:  It is okay to say NO

    Car salespeople have a reputation for being unscrupulous and pushy, especially used car salespeople!  While not all of them are that way, there is still a reason why they have that reputation!  If for any reason – with the financing, the used car they want to sell you, or even just the salesperson themselves – you feel uncomfortable during the deal, or the deal doesn’t fit your needs, you have the right to say NO!  You are not obligated to them in anyway.

    Tip 7:  Remember it is your time, too

    Most car salespeople work on commission and only get paid if they make a sale.  Because of this, many of them might be more aggressive and make it seem like you owe them the sale, especially if they spend a lot of time with you trying to make a deal.  They might even imply they are only there to help you and they are doing you a favor.  Don’t believe that their motives are that altruistic!  Refer to tip number six – you don’t owe them anything.

    Tip 8:  Know what you want

    Many car dealerships put their salespeople through special (unpaid) sales training before they can start selling their cars.  They learn psychological tricks of the trade meant to get you to stay on the lot until they get a YES from you to buy a car — any car!  Be strong and determined in your own outcome and go into the experience knowing they will try and sell to you at all costs.

    Tip 9:  An extended warranty could be a good buy

    When you do find that perfect used car, still consider purchasing an extended warranty.  Sure, that’s more money, but it will cover you for any unexpected major engine breakdowns and expenses that weren’t indicated by the car dealer or with the inspection you had done on the car.

    10.   Everything is negotiable! 

    That not only includes the used car’s price, but the financing, the interest, the down payment, and even the items available on the car.  Just don’t be afraid to ask, and know that they want to sell you that car!

    Overall, don’t give away your power!  You have more than you realize in this used car buying experience, so be confident and have fun picking our your new used car!

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