Buying the perfect car at a bargain may prove to be difficult. Honestly, it really is. That’s why we’re here to help you, in seven steps, on how to find the perfect car for you.
When buying a second hand car, you’ve got a lot of things to worry about. There are still dealers out there that sell lemons. And, to be extra careful with those, you’re going to have to go through a quick checklist. This checklist will help ensure that you’re getting the best deal while still getting a car that’s in mint condition. So, what should you look out for? Here are seven steps to finding the perfect car for you. The most important part of buying a car that a lot of people leave out is parking. So, before even going through these steps, make sure you have a parking space where your car won’t get towed. Let’s begin with the checklist.
To be able to find a great car, you must know within what range you’re capable of paying. Therefore, it’s important to really have a budget set, so you can find cars within that range. If you don’t like any of the cars within your range, then you might consider increasing your budget a little bit. A general rule of the thumb especially when you’re taking out a car loan is making sure that it doesn’t take more than 20% of your take home pay. For example, if you take home at least $2,000 a month, then you should only be paying around $400. But, if you’re sticking to a really tight budget, you’re going to have to rethink on buying a car, even a used car. Why? Because sometimes used cars may need new tires, require maintenance among other things. Also, don’t forget to account for fuel, insurance as well as the initial ownership costs. Consider, especially if the car you’re buying doesn’t have warranty. It may be a good idea for you to have an emergency fund to cover repairs that may be unexpected. However, if you’re careful, you’ll see some of the red lights of not buying a car.
#2 Make a List of Cars
If you’re looking to save money, you may have to consider more than just one brand that you like. It’s suggested that you should make a list of at least three cars that’ll meet your needs as well as fall within your budget. You can compare cars online. If you have time, you can go to your local BHPH lots. While there, you can check the cars that fit within your budget. Once you know the make and model of the car, you can go home and compare the pros and cons of the cars. Plus, if you’re considering buying a car that less than five years old, find one that’s certified pre-owned, or CPO. These vehicles usually have long term warranties through the carmakers and not just the dealerships.
#3 Check Prices
Once you’ve got a list of cars ready to go, you’re also going to know the prices of each car on your list from different dealers. If you aren’t too busy, you could also jot down what type of plan each dealer has. This will ensure that you’re getting the best car for the best amount of money. Besides noting the prices, maybe you could note the maintenance the car needs once you get it. This can help you even out your options on the possible expenses as well as the best car that’ll fit within your budget. Don’t forget to ask dealers if they have added administrator/broker fees, auto inspections fees as well as other fees besides the price of the car. This will really help you gauge whether the actual price is within your budget.
#4 Vehicle History Report
This is probably one of the good things the DMV can provide you online. You don’t have to line up for this or anything, so just go visit their official site. We’ve provided the link for you, so you can visit it. It tells you the history of a used car. This is a very important and essential step to take. Because if you’re looking into a car that has a bad history report, at least you won’t run into trouble if you don’t get it. But, if you’re buying from a close friend or family, you can just simply ask them to vouch for the vehicle’s history. With the vehicle history report, you’re looking for warning signs. You’ll need to look at if the odometer has been rolled back. Maybe it has a salvage title. This means that it’s been declared a total loss by the insurance company, meaning it’s a lemon. To get this information, you’ll need either the car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN. Sometimes though, you can just grab the license plate number, and you can already check its history report.
#5 Contact Seller
Once you’ve found a car that you really like, getting more information about it is essential. A used car questionnaire may come in handy for this part. Yes, there’s such a thing. It’ll have information on the make and model of the car, and what year the car was made. Plus, everything you need really. By doing this, you’re eliminating the possibility of getting a lemon and instead get one that’s in mint and running condition. Don’t be fooled by what people say on the phone though, go set a date and do a test drive.
#6 Test Drive Car/Inspect the Car
When the appointment is dealt with for test driving the car, inspect it while you’re at it. Check for any leaks or any weird sounds the car makes while driving. If the owner/seller of the car does not agree to a test drive, then it may be best to move on with the next prospective car on your list. Unless the car is far away, then you may have to negotiate a meetup point. Make sure to pop the hood and check what’s in there. If you’re in doubt, bring a mechanic with you that knows what he’s doing. He’ll be able to tell you the subtle differences you may not know. Plus, he’ll be there to inspect the car if you don’t know how.
This is the final part: actually finding the right car that fits within your budgets and needs. So, the next step is to negotiate the price if you can. If talking about numbers makes you uncomfortable, it, honestly, shouldn’t. You’re paying for it, and you should also have a reasonable plan on how you’ll be paying for it. So, it’s important to know ahead of time how much you’re really willing to spend. But, don’t start your conversation with the dealer/seller with this. You should open with a lower number than your maximum price. Maybe an average of the price of the car when you did your research. If it’s higher than your budget, maybe you should rethink if you can really afford the car. If it isn’t, then you can say that you did your research and the car should only cost this much. But, make sure that you’ve got facts that support your offer. You and the seller/dealership could arrive at a good price that works with your budget. And, this is great!
Once all of the negotiating is good and the price you’ve talking about is good with both you and the seller/dealership, then talk about payment terms. Afterwards, you’ve got to get all the paperwork done. This only depends if you’re buying from a private seller or a dealership. If you’re buying a car from a private seller, you’ll have to go through the steps of paperwork. So, think about insurance and finance offices that’ll help you out. Furthermore, don’t forget to do the transfer of ownership to your name as well as any extended warranties etc. If you’re buying from a dealership whether traditional or BHPH, they should more or less get the paperwork done for you. Once you’re done with all of these things, and you’ve gotten your car, it may be time for a celebratory drive around your neighborhood to look for parking! We’re kidding! Go on a quick road trip with your friends to celebrate, just don’t forget to ask them to chip in for gas.