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Quick guide to buying a used car

Buying a used car is one of the smartest financial decisions you can make. You pay less for the car and avoid the depreciation that new car buyers face the moment the car rolls off the car dealer's lot. Buying used car has a number of other advantages as well. You will pay less for registration of the car and insurance of the car. Also, the margin for discount is greater when you buy a used car. And if you purchase the vehicle from a private party, you will likely get an even better price than you would at a dealership.



1. Research your prospective used car.

The used-car market is like a huge haystack, and while it may seem tough to find that needle, a bit of online research cuts the legwork and speeds the process considerably. First, go to Carhomesa' used car section. From here, you can either input the car you want, or scroll to the "Select a Make" section and click on an automaker you are interested in. You'll then get a list of cars to choose from, sorted by model year. Click on any given year and you will see a model review (if there is one available). Read the reviews from different model years to understand any significant changes that have occurred.
The next thing to do is get an idea of maintenance costs on any car you're considering. Proper maintenance is especially important on a used car, since it may not have a warranty to protect it if anything breaks down. People buy used cars as a way to save money, but often overlook the cost of maintenance, which might end up pushing them beyond the limits of their budget.



2. Get your financing in order.

Once you find the car you want, you'll want to move fast so that the car isn't sold out from under you. So it's a good idea to get your financing set up before you begin searching for your car. If you're buying the car cash, there is little to do except make sure you have the funds available to withdraw cash or get a cashier's check when it's time to do the deal.
If you are financing the vehicle, it is a good idea to get preapproved for a loan. This way, you'll know your purchasing budget and the interest rate for which you will qualify. Some lenders won't offer an auto loan if the vehicle is past a certain age. In this case, your next move might be to apply for a personal loan. Just be aware that those interest rates are typically higher than for auto loans.



3. Figure out where to shop for your used car.

Private-party sellers have lower prices and can be negotiated with more easily, but the burden is on the buyer to get the car inspected. Major dealerships sell certified preowned cars that are in excellent condition and backed by factory warranties. This will appeal to buyers who want to minimize the risks of buying a used car and are willing to pay extra for it. Independent used-car lots are another option, but can vary wildly on price and the condition level of their cars.
On Carhomesa.co.za, you can now check your area for vehicle listings. Clicking the local listings link takes you to our used car inventory tool. The inventory tool has listings for used cars at participating dealerships.



4. Test-drive and inspect the vehicle.

Once you've narrowed the field down to a couple of candidates, it's very important to thoroughly check out their condition and take them for a test-drive.
A thorough vehicle inspection can shed light on potential problems or tell you whether the car has been in an accident. Don't hesitate to bring your mechanic to see the car, or to request a mobile inspection. Take the car for a spin to listen for any unusual noises and to see if you like the way it drives. If you are an audiophile, now is also the time to test-drive the audio system.



5. Negotiate and close the deal.

Don't stress out over a little bit of haggling. If you've done your homework on the car, you will have the information you need to negotiate. You should be able to determine a fair price for the car you've settled on by appraising the vehicle and getting its True Market Value, also known as the average price paid, for the vehicle in your area. Make sure you input the correct miles and choose the applicable options. Carhomesa' will show you what you can expect to pay for the vehicle, depending on whether the seller is a private party or a dealership. You'll also get the car's estimated trade-in value.

Most private sellers aren't as experienced in negotiating as a dealer would be. Use this to your advantage and make a fair but aggressive offer. If the seller turns it down, be persistent and counter with a slightly higher amount.
When the time comes to close the used car sale, there are a few important items to take care of. Go to the Department of transport as soon as possible to register the vehicle in your name and pay any appropriate taxes.

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