You need a new car. You want a good one. You just can’t afford a brand new vehicle. Your budget is tight and isn’t big enough for something that’s $20,000 or $30,000 dollars. Does that mean you can’t get a vehicle that is good looking, drives well, keeps you safe, and offers you everything you’re looking for? No way! Your trip to the used car dealership can still be very successful if you follow a few tips.
#1 Calculate your budget and stick to it. The last thing you want to do is get yourself into a car loan you can’t afford. As a general rule of thumb, your car payment shouldn’t be more than 20% of your take-home pay. If you have a lot of other expenses, you may want to spend even less.
#2 Build a list of your possibilities. You don’t want to walk into a pre-owned cars dealership with no idea what you want. Certain cars are known to last for a long time, like a Honda Civic, Subaru Forester, and Ford F-150. Of course, when you visit the dealership they may not have the exact one you want. Make a list of three cars that meet your needs and fall within your budget. For instance, a Kia Optima, Honda Civic, and Toyota Camry are all pretty similar vehicles.
#3 Test drive the car. When you visit the pre-owned cars dealer and find a vehicle on your list, your next step is to drive it. Test driving a car is the best way to know if this is the right car make and model for you. It’s also a good way to assess this particular car’s condition. Keep the radio off and the chatter to a minimum, so you can tune out any distractions and focus on the car. Does the air conditioning blow cold? Does the car make any odd noises? Do you smell gas, burning oil, or anything else you should not?
#4 Negotiate a good deal. After the test drive, you’ve decided it’s the car for you. Great! Yet, you don’t want to pay the sticker price. Negotiating doesn’t have to be a drawn-out, tiring experience. Remember, the people on the other side probably dislike negotiating too, even if it’s their job. Chances are you can make a deal pretty quickly and easily. Decide ahead of time how much you’re willing to spend to get the car, but don’t start with this number in your discussion. Explain that you’ve done your research and calming go back and forth until you reach a number you’re both happy with.
This list is pretty common sense if you stop and think about it. Don’t extend yourself too far and never let the used cars dealership talk you into a vehicle that you’re not happy with. If you follow these four tips, you’ll drive away from the used cars dealership in Hampstead, MD with a vehicle you love!