Buying a quality used car or truck is not as difficult as it may appear. Not all car dealers are out there to sell you a lemon, or to force you to buy services which you may never use. However, you must do your homework before you step onto any lot, to ensure you are fully prepared to negotiate with the dealership to get the best possible deal.
Consider these tips when planning to purchase your next used car. They are not in any particular order but you should pay close attention to each one of them.
Determine your budget
Before you visit a dealership to test drive a car, consider your spending limit, based on your ability to pay now and in the future. Often, during the sales process, buyers end up purchasing a vehicle that is beyond their budget. So, make sure that you are firm as to how much you want to spend, how much financing you need, how much monthly payment you will be able to handle, and how much down payment you can afford.
Finalize which vehicle you want to buy
Before you visit any dealership, you should know the make and model you want to buy. Do your research to make sure the model meet your requirements. Is it the color, fuel efficiency, personal or family use, or resale value that is important for you? Read Consumer Reports to narrow down your search.
Narrow down the dealership
Use social media sites, like Facebook, Bing, and Google Plus, to do research on local dealerships. See what people are saying about the dealership, its sales staff, after-sales customer service, and the way a dealership handles a complaint. You can also use sites like Dealer Rater and Yelp to read comments and feedback of customers.
You should also ask your friends for referrals and their experience with local dealerships. Nothing comes close to personal experience. If you do decide to visit a dealership, don't be afraid to ask questions.
Bring someone with you
If you feel intimidated by the car salesperson, then it may be a good idea to take a friend with you to help out during the test drive, finalizing your selection, and price negotiations. Be aware of add-ons that the car salesperson may try to sell you. Don't be afraid to negotiate and say no when the price is outside of your budget.
Don't be afraid to walk away
If not all of your expectations are met, walk away. Even if you feel you are ready to buy, we recommend you take a night to sleep on your decision and make sure it is the vehicle you really want.
Discuss the car, its price, financing costs, and other details with your family and friends. Review other dealerships' websites to see how your selection compares to other vehicles. There is no need to rush. A smart dealer will always have good deals for a willing a buyer.