If you are in the market for a vehicle, whether it is your first or your fourth, there are good reasons to consider buying second hand. We live in a day and age where people don't exhaust the potentiality out of their assets, so there is usually still lots of life to be had in a car when the average owner decides to ditch it and upgrade. Buying a used vehicle is a great way to save money, not only on the cost of the vehicle itself, but also on the costs of auto insurance, since older cars cost less to insure than their newer counterparts. If you decide to go this route, take these three steps in order to achieve the maximum amount of success with your pursuit.
- Make a very clear plan before you begin shopping about what your wants and needs are for your vehicle. Being concise in articulating this for yourself beforehand will minimize the likelihood of getting swayed by what's on the market and by sly or pushy sellers. Once you've determined both your needs and wants for this vehicle, go through your list and determine which points are absolutely fixed, and which you are willing to be flexible on (and indicate for yourself just how much flexibility you have on those items).
- Have a list of runners-up. You may be very specific in already knowing your wants and needs beforehand to the point of having already decided which make and model of a car you plan to purchase. While this type of vision is good and eliminates a great deal of confusion for your part, unless you have a very particularly reason for not considering any other vehicle, it might limit your ability to find a deal. The way to get around this without compromising your standards is to learn what other vehicles offered by different makes are analogous to your prime candidate. For example, somebody set on purchasing a Honda Civic would likely find all of their needs and wants met in the comparable Toyota Corolla.
- Start early. Oftentimes, the need for a vehicle comes up sooner than we can anticipate, and in this case, time is not on our side as buyers. However, if you can anticipate well in advance when you will need to purchase a new vehicle, you are granting yourself the luxury of time, and in this case time is definitely money: the longer you watch the market, the more likely you are to catch a steal. It also gives you a change to familiarize yourself with the market well beforehand so that you know exactly what is reasonable when shopping.