What to Know When Buying a Used Car

Interested in buying a used car? With the sticker price of brand new models going up, many drivers are on the hunt for a more affordable option. Used cars are often a go-to, but finding the right investment is tricky. Not only do motorists have to consider budgets and features, but they also must sort through transferring ownership, checking vehicle maintenance and other potentially time-consuming tasks.

Before you cut a check for a used car, consider some of these tips that could help you through the process.

Do your research
Starting your journey toward purchasing a used car requires a lot of effort. You have to work out your budget and determine which features you want in a vehicle. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. You'll also need to examine what qualities carry the most weight financially and which leave room to negotiate. Similarly, check out what the demand is like in your area. If you notice the model you have your eye on tends to take a while to sell, it's probably because it's priced too high, which means you likely have time to wait it out. The sticker price often decreases as many as three times, occasionally dropping about 10 percent from the original cost.

Know when to act
When you're shopping around for a used car, you may be so overwhelmed with information that you're hesitant to make any decisions. Carlypso, a company that helps drivers sell their used cars, recently released a study that detailed why some motorists should act fast. According to the organization, people who find great deals should act quickly. Vehicles that were advertised below market price usually sell in 10 days or less. If you find a competitive price, don't be afraid to make your move.

Color matters
It may not seem like a big deal, but the color of a car can actually impact its value. Carlypso noted that more popular tones, such as black and silver, have a slight edge when it comes to resale price. Vehicles in hues like yellow, red and green tend to sell for 2.1 percent less on the used car market compared to the other colors - even though they all start out as equally priced models. Those who don't mind a unique shade on their exterior should consider this as a way of saving money.

Judge the market
Many of the sites you come across during your research may offer insight as to used car prices, but you should take this information with a grain of salt. Factors such as geography can have a major impact on average expenses, and national websites don't necessarily take these into account. Use these organizations as a baseline, but be sure to look into the options at local dealerships. Not only may you end up buying from one of these facilities, but you'll also be able to compare local prices to national trends. Additionally, this provides an opportunity to scope out sellers and determine where you would like to take your business.

Look over the vehicle history
Once you've finally settled on a certain make and model, be sure to scope out the vehicle history for a specific car. This report should provide a look at any auto repair that an automobile has gone through. It may also include a complete history of scheduled maintenance and servicing. Should this not be available, be sure to reach out to a local auto repair franchise after buying the car to get maintenance on the right track. The experts can keep track of any work done and ensure your car remains running at a high quality.

"What to Know When Buying a Used Car" (2015, January) Precision Tune Auto Care. Retrieved from: http://www.precisiontune.com/what-to-know-when-buying-a-used-car

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