Handy tips for buying a used car

Of all the essential goods and services that people buy, perhaps the one purchase that is fraught with the potential for headaches and anxiety is the purchase of a used car.

Buying a vehicle in used condition, as opposed to brand new, is the preferred option of the majority of car buyers. 

There is always an inherent risk with buying a car in used condition, but with the right preparation and management, a wise purchase can potentially save money and minimize the risk of frustration or future disappointment.

The used car market is huge

The used car market is significantly larger than the new car market, and the online marketplace is booming, as people typically prefer the option of browsing online to narrow down their potential purchase. A glance at used cars Warwickshire demonstrates the plethora of vehicles and operators vying for the attention of potential buyers.

For the average car buyer, equipped with a basic knowledge of cars, the sheer scale and complexity of the used car market can actually be a source of confusion.

Following a few commonsense first steps could spell the difference between a rewarding experience and a nightmare.

Work out your budget

The first logical step in the process is to figure out a budget – how much is available to spend on the purchase? How much is the purchaser prepared to spend, and what is the maximum amount he or she is prepared to go to?

Setting this ‘spending range’ serves two important purposes:

  • It narrows down the range of potential vehicles available for purchase.
  • It gives the buyer a strong limits that can assist in negotiating a price with a seller.

Have an idea of type/style of desired vehicle

Next, establish the preferred type of vehicle. This is a personal choice and could be based on a range of factors including intended usage (country or city driving, towing trailers or carrying luggage), the number of people traveling (family or couple), fuel efficiency and economy. From the exterior design to the interior accessories, the automobile design and overall look of the vehicle may also matter to some people. 

Some people will have a specific idea of the exact make or model they want. Others will be open to a broad range of potential makes in a certain style range. Either one is fine – the buyer is now in control of the market.

Get familiar with the market

With budget and target vehicle(s) set, it is time to check the market and get familiar with current market prices. With the range of sites available online, it becomes easy to get a sense of the expected price range for your target vehicle. Note that prices for a specific make or model will vary dependent upon factors such as mileage and vehicle age and condition. Prices may also differ for options such as petrol or diesel engine variants, as transmission type (manual or automatic).

Within the planned budget range, choosing a vehicle in better condition, with fewer miles on the clock is preferable. 

Visit the car yard

Having narrowed down the purchase and watched the market, it is likely that several potential buys have now revealed themselves. It is now time to visit the yard and give those candidates a closer inspection. 

By following the basic steps outlined, the potential buyer should thus arrive at the car yard with a sense of confidence and control. By narrowing down the field in the preparatory stages, the visit to the yard now becomes a targeted ‘pre-purchase inspection’ and can be approached with confidence rather than anxiety and uncertainty.

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