If you’re thinking about buying a used car, there are certain things to pay attention to in order to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible, without being taken for a ride. It may feel like there’s so much to look out for that it becomes a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you do everything properly, you can enjoy searching for your new gem worry-free.
Here are all the things you need to consider before signing on the dotted line.
Sort out your finances
Before you make any moves, you must create a budget first (and don’t go over it!) If you have money saved up already for the purchase, then you’re pretty much good to go. But if you haven’t yet got enough, it may mean you will need to take out a loan. This is why budgets are so important. You need to figure out how much you have, and exactly how much you need, and this isn’t just for the purchase itself – remember that after that you will be paying monthly in order to keep your car on the road.
If you do decide to take out a loan, make sure you shop around first because interest rates all vary, depending on what company you go with.
Familiarize yourself with used car market prices
The best way to do this is by going online. You will be able to find all the information you need on there, like if you are overpaying for something that shouldn’t be priced as high as they are telling you. It’s wise to take in as much information as you can, so when you do meet with potential sellers, you will be one step ahead of the game by knowing whether the deal is a good one, or if they are trying to take advantage of you.
Read the paperwork properly
When getting a car, you want to make sure that you are getting all of the paperwork that comes with it, like the history of the car service, as any problems or repairs will be relevant to you.
If someone is selling a car suspiciously cheap without any documents, then you should hear alarm bells in your head as the vehicle is most likely stolen, and you could find yourself getting into a lot of trouble, even if you didn’t do anything wrong.
When you do receive the documents, make sure you know what you’re actually reading, and if you don’t, either learn fast or bring someone along with you that does.
Inspect the car on a good day
It’s no good going round to view a vehicle on a dark rainy day. It will be so easy to miss areas that you may find to be a deal breaker, like a dent or scratch. Take your time and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you see something you’re not happy with, bring it up – they may be willing to knock off some money for you.
Minor scratches are to be expected if it’s a relatively old car, so your main focus should be on how it actually functions and if everything works as it should. Make sure you check the windows too. If they’re electric, do they go down and up without getting stuck? Does the aircon work? And do all the lights turn on?
Have a decent test drive
You won’t truly know how well a car can function if you don’t give it a test drive. You want to be sure it handles itself nicely, and everything runs smoothly. Be aware of any noises that are out of the ordinary, and does the car start up easily, or does it require a few tries? Can you see any smoke coming from the exhaust that shouldn’t?
As long as you stay in tune with your senses, you should be able to pick up on anything that isn’t quite right.
What exactly are you getting?
When viewing your potential new car, it’s a good idea to check in all the side doors, boots and any other storage compartments on the vehicle. If there is a spare wheel, along with some nuts and bolts or maybe even a whole repair kit – make sure you find out whether this is included in the price of the car or not. A lot of these things are actually quite expensive to buy, so if they are included, you should be aware that this is a very good deal.
Closing the deal
If you have both agreed on a price and you are sure that this is the car you want, then it is so important to make sure that everything has been agreed in writing, with a copy for both you and the seller, which has also been signed by you both too.
The document should include all the details about the vehicle, as well as the price it is being sold for, and any other terms and conditions that you discussed. Each of your contact details should be enclosed inside too.
Paying for the car
This should seem obvious, but never take out a large sum of money in cash, to a meeting place that isn’t the seller’s home address – and even then, you should avoid paying this way because it’s making you extremely vulnerable when there’s no need to be. If the seller is very pushy about you paying this way, you should probably reconsider the whole deal.
Bank transfers are the safest way to pay, and they are very efficient, so there’s no reason you should be told otherwise.
Once everything has been sorted, you can enjoy your new car! Just make sure you get all the appropriate insurance that you need so you are able to drive it problem free.
Now it’s officially yours; you can play around with your new baby; add things, change things and even paint things! Do whatever you need to do to make if your own unique ride.