How to Buy a Used Car From a Dealership
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Buying a used car vs a new car can save you thousands of dollars. And while many opt to buy used cars through private sellers, buying a used car from a dealership can give you added security and peace of mind.
Buying a used car from a dealership does not have to be a painstaking process. With the appropriate preparation and knowledge beforehand, it can be both satisfying and easier on your wallet than you initially think. In this article, we'll explain what to do before you get to the dealership and show you how to approach the process of buying the car at the dealership.
Prepare Before Heading to the Dealership
Step 1: Determine the car you want. Before you set foot on a dealership’s lot, get an idea of the car you are thinking of purchasing.
If you show up without any sort of preconceived ideas, then the seller may steer you towards pricier cars that are outside of your budget or that have features you really don’t need. This does not mean you cannot or should not be convinced by other offers, but only that if you have firm notions when you show up, you’ll likely be persuaded by good offers only.
Step 2: Figure out a price point. The dealership probably has the car at an advertised rate, but you may be able to get it even lower. Check out the car of your choice on Kelly Blue Book to get more information about it's worth.
Pick a price you could be happy paying for your new vehicle so you can be prepared to negotiate effectively. If it is possible for you, paying for the vehicle in full on the day you purchase the car is a great way to save a lot of money.
Step 3: Check reviews on dealerships. This might seem unusual, but checking reviews will help prepare you by giving you an idea of what to expect.
Be on the lookout for shady business practices. A good resource is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also do a Google search to find customer reviews on the selling process, how the dealership interacts with people, and any tips or cautions.
Buying a Used Car from a Dealership
Step 1: Go to the dealer. Once you are ready, visit the dealership and find the car you are interested in to get the process started.
If you had any questions about the car, such as features it has or level of interest in it, you could always call beforehand. This will save you time and energy, but making your presence known in person also has its value as you’ll wield more influence that way.
Step 2: Get a vehicle history report on the car. These reveal what sort of past a car has and any significant damage or repairs that have been performed.
Vehicle history reports help potential buyers determine if the car is worth the risk. At the very least, it is wise to find out what you should be on the lookout for.
Generally, dealers will have this information ready for you, so it won’t be a hassle.
Step 3: Test drive the car. Take the car for a ride to determine if you like it as much as you think.
Try and imitate your usual driving habits and patterns. If you commute via the freeway, take it on the freeway, for example. This way, you’ll get a sense for how it performs in similar situations to your own.
Step 4: Negotiate a price. Making and negotiating an offer for a vehicle is one of the most important parts of the process, so be ready for it.
You should, first of all, keep the price point you settled on above in mind. Sticking to your guns will prove to the seller that you are serious about buying the car at that price. If the seller is not budging on the price at all, then you can always tell them you are leaving to shop around at other dealers.
This may give them a reason to worry about losing a customer, so when you return later on, they’ll be more lenient on the price.
Step 5: Fill out necessary paperwork. Once you settle the price, fill out and sign any paperwork, and you are on your way.
Buying a used car from a dealership can be both stress-free and friendly to your wallet. If you approach the process carefully, then you won’t be taken advantage of and you’ll leave the dealership in a reliable car at a price point you are happy with.