Secrets to Buying a Used Car


 

What are the secrets to buying a used car? There really aren’t any or at least there shouldn’t be any.

The purchase and sale of a used car is like that of any other transaction. The price the purchaser pays consists of the cost of the item to the seller and the gross profit the seller realizes from the sale. The major difference with a used car is the wealth of information that the customer has available before finalizing the purchase. The internet has made it possible for anyone to establish the reasonable value of a used car and to do comparison shopping from the comfort of his/her own living room. No one needs to enter a car dealership not equipped with enough information to know whether that dealership is really willing to attempt to make a sale in good faith.

Information about the average value of a particular make and model can be obtained from several popular websites such a Kelly Blue Book ( www.kbb.com ), Edmunds ( www.edmunds.com ) and NADA ( nada.com ). Average prices obtained from these sites can vary widely. We recommend NADA as it is one probably used by most dealers as being a consistent source with high reliability. Of course, any of these will only provide an “average” value. Since no car is “average,” a buyer must dig a little deeper. “Give me the Carfax” is not only a catchy slogan but a critical part of any purchase. Knowing the history of a used car can help establish a truer value than reliance on an “average” value.

An additional factor (which is incorporated in the cost to the dealer) depends upon the type of financing the purchaser requires. Perhaps little known is that most transactions where the dealer arranges for the financing costs the dealer money, thereby reducing the profit margin of the whole transaction. That cost can be reduced or eliminated (thereby reducing the final cost) by paying cash for the car or by arranging for one’s own financing, for example, with a credit union.

A final “secret” is that dealers get nervous when a vehicle sits on their lots for an extended period of time. “Old inventory,” meaning even latest model cars that have been on the lot beyond the desired number of days, tend to come down in price as each day passes. Sometimes a dealer will even be willing to sell at no profit or small loss a vehicle that has been tying up his investment for a long time. Look for the vehicles with the lowest stock number. You may just find a bargain.

At CarSmart, we encourage you to take advantage of these tips. Compare our prices to the website “averages.” Do comparative shopping with our competitors. If you don’t have access to a computer, come on in and use one of ours. Let us help you find the car of your dream and arrange your best financing. Best of all, buy our old inventory. Please.

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