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things to consider before purchasing a used car

There are countless options out there for purchasing pre-owned cars, but that is why it is critical for the buyer to know exactly what to look for to make the best buying decision. The beauty of cars is that there are so many kinds - compact, sedan, sport, and even luxury. Before buying a used car, one has to have a game plan to use time efficiently and not be swayed into buying a car that does not feed your needs.


As with any pre-owned vehicle, it is imperative to research the best options before one commits to the purchase. Cars are not like trucks or even vans, which are vehicles that have a more predictable use. It is important for you to do your homework to find out if the car was used for personal or business purposes, and from there ask more in-depth questions that can better assist you in analyzing the condition of the vehicle.

* Condition of the car - If the vehicle has previous damage from a wreck or even flooding, then it is better to move on because this car is much more likely to give the new owner issues along the way.

* Maintenance - Ask the previous owner or the dealer if they can provide you with the maintenance history report of the car. If not, then at least ask a few probing questions such as when was the last oil change.

* Mileage - Cars can be used for a wide variety of reasons. For example, maybe the car has a lot of miles because a sales representative used it to make sales calls. Likewise, a car might not have a lot of miles if a college student, who didn't drive much and walked to campus, owned it. You should make sure to pay attention to a car's mileage. Know why it has or does not have a lot of miles. Knowing this will help you rest assured it won't start giving lots of headaches pretty soon.

New or Used?

When it comes to deciding if it is better to purchase a used or new car then we need to think about three key factors:

*  Depreciation - Vehicles, in general, depreciate about 19% of their total value once they are driven out of the dealership, so it is vital that you understand that new is not always the correct financial decision. When you think about how much value is instantly lost, you start to realize that it might be worth it to buy a used car that is not too old so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds (low price and comfort).

* Condition of a vehicle - Cars can be used for so many different things that it is essential to make sure the car has been taken care of. Ask as many questions as you can during negotiations so you can have a good picture of the real condition of the car.

* Resale value of the vehicle - Many times what makes a car great to resell is not only the brand but at what time during its life cycle it was purchased. Cars are easy to find and easy to sell, but the trick is to know when and how. It is highly recommended to buy a brand that is sought after and maintains a high resale value. For example, any Honda, Nissan, or Toyota will have excellent resale value. When you buy at the right time you are guaranteeing that you are gaining most of the benefit from the buy, and that already puts you ahead when it comes to reselling the vehicle because you did not lose a lot of money from depreciation.

If you think buying a pre-owned car is the wise decision, then these are the first three steps you should be taking to have an idea of where you stand.

1. Check your credit score and make sure you qualify for a reasonable interest rate. Remember, if you don’t have the best credit score there are still options such as in-house financing or subprime loans.

2. Analyze your monthly budget and decide how much you can spend in a car. With all the information in front of you, ask yourself how much you can afford at this time.

3. Now it’s time to look around for cars that fit your credit and budget criteria. This step sounds simple, but it is one of the most important because if you rush into a decision, then it can hurt you in the future. During this phase of the research, it is essential to ask yourself what is the reason for buying a car.

Now you are ready to go out and confidently walk into a dealership! Just remember to stay within your budget and think about the best loans available for your credit score if you choose to finance the car


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