Getting a new car can be stressful.
But, whether you’re looking into junk cars or luxury cars, the process can be pleasant, if not all painless.
Buying a used car is not only something fiscally intelligent people like ourselves do, but it is also a way to make a purchase that is unique and memorable.
Now you already know that you need to vet your potential cars and buyers, negotiate to a price within your budget, and understand that your car will be part of your life for a bit and so you want to take it slow and consider your options.
Below we’ll give you the six things you need to know more specific and give you the 6 steps you need to go through from prospects to hit the road in your new used car.
Six Steps to Purchasing Your New Used Car
Budget, Budget, Budget
No, Beetlejuice isn’t coming to get you, but if you don’t take the time to draft a budget and come up with a magic number, the creditors will and that’s not very fun for anyone.
With today’s economy moving further away from job security and into the Start-Up of You, you need to make sure that you know what you can get in a range that is comfortable for you and know your credit score!
Make a List of Target Cars That Fit Your Lifestyle
Whether you’re an environmentally conscious hybrid driver or a high-powered executive who needs to impress the clients, you all need the same kind of car. The one that perfectly your lifestyle and reflects your priorities.
You don't need a sports car when you need a minivan for the kids and Mr. Rexy. And you don’t want junk cars when you need to pull into a meeting next week or don’t have the budget to fix it up.
Research which cars will best suit your lifestyle and draft a short list of makes and models that will suit both your budget and your lifestyle.
Get a Price Range for the Models You Want and Shop the Your Area
So, you’ve got your shortlist of cars you want and your magic budget number.
Now you have a concrete picture to work with.
The next step is to locate sellers in your area that are selling that car you want within your price range. When deciding where to shop you'll want to look at reviews of the different car dealerships.
If you are considering looking at private sellers, make sure to ask for references. If you are looking at junk cars or cars that need remodeling, ask if they've had past customers and verify that you're getting exactly what you're looking for.
Verify, Verify, Verify
I can't repeat the importance of verification enough.
After deciding where to shop, ask for verified histories of each car you chose to see. Sites like CarFax make it easy to look up a car's history and past owners.
Have a mechanic ready to check out the car you decide on for any concerns. It will help lower the risk that you are getting an unsafe car or one that will bring you unforeseen expenses.
Make the Phone Call and Feel the Car Out
Now it’s time to contact the sellers and test out your potential ride. It’s important to get a test drive to see how it feels to you when you’re in it.
This is the part where you get to test out the chemistry.
If it doesn’t feel good, then why bother with the rest of the process?
After you've decided on the top two or three cars that meet all the criteria you've set, and you know feels good to drive, it's time for the final steps.
Make and Close the Deal
Once you’ve decided on the one you can start negotiating the price and considering financing options. Make sure you know your credit score, know your budget, and have researching financing options beforehand.
Be willing to walk away.
You have one or two more options on your list.
Only close the deal when you feel comfortable and you objectively know the numbers work for you long term.
Then it’s time to shake hands with the seller and hit the road!