May 17 2020

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Buy used cars

How to Buy a Used Car

Updated: January 14, 2020

This article was co-authored by Bryan Hamby. Bryan Hamby is the owner of Auto Broker Club, a trusted auto brokerage in Los Angeles, California. He founded Auto Broker Club in 2014 out of a passion for cars and a unique talent for customizing the car dealership process to be on the buyer’s side. With 1,400+ deals closed, and a 90% customer retention rate, Bryan’s focus is to simplify the car buying experience through transparency, fair pricing, and world class customer service.

There are 22 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Getting a new-to-you car can be exciting – especially if you’re a first-time car buyer. It’s also a great choice if you want reliable transportation without spending a lot of money. At the same time, buying a used car can be frustrating, especially if you don’t like haggling, are on a limited budget, or don’t have much time to shop around. To stay in the driver’s seat, do a little research before looking at cars and have any car you want to buy inspected thoroughly before you sign on the dotted line. [1] X Research source

Sample Forms and Payment Calculator

Tip: If you’re planning on financing your car, you might consider applying for blank-check financing with a local bank or credit union. You’ll typically get a better rate than you would if you financed through a dealership.

Tip: Used cars listed online often sell fast. If you see a car you’re interested in, contact the seller and make sure it’s still available.

Tip: It’s often possible to go to a dealership and look at the cars in the lot when the dealership is closed, such as on a Sunday. You may want to do this first if you’re just curious about what’s available and don’t want to get hassled by salespeople.

Professional Auto Broker

Look over the car during the day to ensure you can see any issues. Bryan Hamby of Auto Broker Club says: “When you’re inspecting the vehicle, check the oil to confirm it’s been changed recently, and check for any sediment. Also, check all of the other fluids to make sure they’re level, and make sure all of the lights work, including the brakes, turn signals, highlights, and reverse lights. You should also check the gear shifter, the electronics, the trunk and spare tire, the door locks, and the condition of the interior of the vehicle.”

Variation: If you’re buying a car through an online dealer, such as Carvana or Vroom, you typically have about a week to “test drive” the car after it’s delivered to you before the sale is considered final.

Tip: If the car needs repairs but you still want to buy it, ask the mechanic for a written estimate. You can use this information to negotiate a lower price on the car.

Tip: When negotiating the price, pay attention to the total price of the car, not the amount of the monthly payments. Some used car dealers try to hook you with a low monthly payment, but after interest, you’ll end up paying way more for the car than you intended.

Professional Auto Broker

You’ll have more protection if you buy from a dealer over a private seller. Bryan Hamby, the owner of Auto Broker Club, says: “You can find better pricing if you buy from a private seller, but the vehicle is going to be sold as-is, and the seller is not required to do a vehicle inspection or provide a vehicle history report. A dealer will have a standardized inspection process, they’ll provide a vehicle history report, and if you notice anything wrong with the car, you can ask the dealer to fix it. There’s also a recourse process if a major issue isn’t disclosed. However, there will be less room to negotiate your price.”

Tip: If your car is being financed and you have the cash to cover the registration and fees, ask to pay these separately. There’s no sense in paying interest on that amount if you don’t have to.

Buy used cars

Buy used cars

Buy used cars

How to Buy a Used Car. Getting a new-to-you car can be exciting – especially if you're a first-time car buyer. It's also a great choice if you want reliable transportation without spending a lot of money. At the same time, buying a used c…
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