Shop Around is the Name of the Game

Success! To update you on my friend’s car-buying status, he overcame the new year, new month hurdle and found an excellent deal on the car he wanted. In fact, he found a different dealer who had a Mazda 3 with similar mileage but two model years newer for virtually the same price as the 2004 the other dealer had refused to budge on. This was certainly smart shopping on the buyer’s behalf. He stuck to his budget, and because the first dealer refused to negotiate, he shopped around for a different deal. And in the end, he came out the winner.When buying a used car, shopping around is the name of the game.Once you’ve conducted your research and chosen the car you want (in this case a Mazda 3 hatchback with low miles, clean title history, one owner, non-smoker, no pets), make sure to leave yourself enough time to search around for the best deal on that car. Trust me, it’s out there! Here are some helpful tips to prep you for that used car purchase:

  • Determine your budget. Most often, people purchase used car for two reasons: 1) They don’t have the money for a brand new model or 2) They don’t like the idea of the dealership experience/instant depreciation once you drive off the car lot. Either way, you need to know how much money you can spend. In this case, my friend was able to combine the money his insurance company gave him from the crash with some money from his personal savings to purchase a nice, used car for his wife.
  • Decide where and from whom you want to buy the car. Dealer or private party? That is the question. Buying from a dealer often gives you the option to purchase a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) vehicle and to purchase an extended warranty. If you’re well researched, however, buying from a private party can save you money and time. See more Be Car Chic tips about buying used here.
  • “My Mama told me, you’d better shop around.” To paraphrase an old song, researching your options is the smartest approach to buying your used car. And isn’t Mom always right?
  • Know how to negotiate the price you CAN pay. Walk into the dealership prepared. If you only have $10,000 and you absolutely cannot go over that budget, then make sure to work all of the little “extras” into your final price. If your budget is small and you have the funds, I suggest taking cash to pay for your car. Not only does this solidify your deal in the salesman’s eyes, but it also ensures you don’t pay more than what you budgeted.
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Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.