By Keri Stafford/The Mother List
Maybe you’ve caught your husband flipping through the glossy pages of the latest hot-rod magazine. Or perhaps you’re dreaming about that new, fully-loaded SUV (yes, the one that practically babysits your kids while you drive). Or better yet, the “I’m-having-a-midlife-crisis” shiny new convertible is catching your eye. Truth is, buying right off the lot is never the best financial choice. Here at The Mother List, we are strong believers in buying used cars. Here’s why:
- A new car loses 11% of its value the moment you leave the lot.
- During the first 5 years the car depreciates by 15-25% each year.
- After five years, the car is worth 37% of what you paid for it at the dealership.
If you decide to opt for used over new (good choice!), the next step is to do your homework and shop around. Go on some test drives. Be sure to keep the shopping process separate from the buying process. Once you’ve picked a car, it’s time to find the best deal! Here are 3 tips:
1) Buy on the Internet
There are several websites that can help you search for cars like cargurus.com, cars.com, KBB.com and Edmonds.com. One nice feature on CarGurus is that you can see how long the car has been sitting on the dealer’s lot and if there’s been a price drop. You can use this information to your advantage when making an offer. You can also shop dealer websites, which list all of their used cars. When you find a car you are interested in, make an offer! Most dealerships now have an Internet sales person that you can work with via email.
If several dealers have a model you are looking for, email each of them asking what their best price is. Since you are shopping online, you can contact any dealer in the US! If a dealer in a different state is offering a better price, let your local dealer know and ask them to match it.
2) Use a car broker
What is a car broker? A car broker is third party who acts as an intermediary between you and a car dealer. They will locate, negotiate and procure the vehicle on your behalf. A good broker can help save you money, time and the aggravation that is normally associated with buying a car. It can actually be a very positive experience. The best thing about working with a car broker is they are working for you, not a car dealership. And they do the work, so you don’t have to.
Some brokers also have used car lots, so if you are flexible with the type of car you want, this can be a good option.
3) Purchase at a car dealership
If you are confident in your negotiating skills and you’ve done your homework, then purchasing at a car dealership is for you! Here’s some advice from several experts via USA TODAY:
We know there are other avenues for buying a used car. Let us how you prefer to buy in the comments below.
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