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3 Tips For Getting The Best Deal On A Used Car

New Car

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:

  1. A new car loses 11% of its value the moment you leave the lot.
  2. During the first 5 years the car depreciates by 15-25% each year.
  3. After five years, the car is worth 37% of what you paid for it at the dealership.

Source: edmunds.com

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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13 Comments

  1. Gregory Willard
    July 7, 2016 @ 9:04 am

    I think it’s interesting that buying cars online is cheaper. I have been telling my son that he should start considering buying a car, and he wasn’t sure where to start. I will have to tell him to look online before he does anything.

    Reply

  2. Olivia Nelson
    September 28, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

    I appreciate your tip on going to a car dealership of you have done your research to buy a new car. I would imagine that a licenced dealer would help you get a pretty good used car at a good deal. My husband and I are looking to buy a used car so we’ll have to find a car dealer in our area to buy from.

    Reply

  3. Tyler Meredith
    October 11, 2016 @ 6:24 pm

    I like what this article mentions about used car dealerships and how they can be helpful people who know what they’re doing. It’s something to keep in mind as I want to make sure I can get a good car without too many problems. I’ll have to remember that dealerships often times have quality requirements for cars and it could be a reliable place to buy one.

    Reply

  4. Scott
    October 27, 2016 @ 7:26 pm

    I think that it is a good idea to use the internet to shop around for used cars. My brother’s car is always breaking down. If he is considering looking for a new car he might consider looking for a used car online. The internet seems like a great tool to use to research and look up used cars.

    Reply

  5. Sarah Smith
    November 28, 2016 @ 11:51 am

    I’m looking to get a used car to help me get to work. It’s good to know that if you are confident in your negotiating skills then you should get a car from a dealership. Another thing to consider is to get a car that is well within your budget.

    Reply

  6. john Mahoney
    December 20, 2016 @ 6:25 pm

    I didn’t realize that you could hire a car broker to help you buy from a used car dealership. I can see how this can help you get the best deal you can without having to deal with people you don’t want to deal with. I would want to get a car that has complete functionality and safe to drive, it would be my number one priority. Thank you for sharing, I learned a lot.

    Reply

  7. Dennis Sanchez
    January 4, 2017 @ 3:58 pm

    You advised looking online for cars, as you can email dealers and quickly compare prices. My sister is looking to buy a used car, as they are usually more affordable. She’s on the internet a lot, and is quite savvy with it. So I’ll make sure that she starts her search there.

    Reply

  8. John Ferrell
    January 9, 2017 @ 5:06 pm

    I like that you mentioned that a car broker does the work so we don’t have to. I think that if you are trying to buy a car then you might want to have a specific car in mind. I think that if you are looking for a car then having help might be a benefit to you. If I was looking for a new car then I would want to have as little work as possible.

    Reply

  9. Ridley Fitzgerald
    January 23, 2017 @ 12:54 pm

    These are some great tips for getting a used car. I like how you said to be confident in your negotiating skills and doing your research before going to a dealership. I prefer buying from a dealer, but you are right, you have to be confident in yourself.

    Reply

  10. Toco Warranty
    March 6, 2017 @ 11:20 pm

    It is good advice; researching on the internet. I feel like it is a simple way to find better deals and discounts while shopping online. Here you can easily collect information about the car and you can easily know what you want?

    Reply

  11. Burt Silver
    May 9, 2017 @ 10:57 am

    Thanks for the tips for buying a used car. My wife and I really want to buy a used car for our teenage son this year. I like that you mentioned that a car broker will work for you and not the dealership, so they will do the work to get you the best deal. That is something that could be really beneficial to us, we will look into it.

    Reply

  12. Ashley Maxwell
    August 29, 2017 @ 7:39 pm

    Thanks for your comment about how emailing used car dealers can help you find the best dealer. I didn’t realize that a lot of dealerships have online sales people now. My father is considering looking into used car dealers to purchase another family car.

    Reply

  13. Alexandria Martinez
    August 29, 2017 @ 8:01 pm

    My fiance and I have been thinking about buying a used car for quite some time now. We have not done a lot of research but we like what you have said about buying on the internet. Knowing information given to you on the websites can be very helpful in the overall negotiation stage and we like that a lot. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

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