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The Essential Guide To Buying A Used Car – Part 1

Buying a used car is a different experience to buying a new one. It is an excellent idea, however, particularly if you want to get a higher specified car for your money, and you are willing to give up some mileage and age. With the quality of modern cars you can get a vehicle that is in excellent condition – you can even buy used cars that still have the manufacturer’s warranty.

Over the next couple of weeks we will explore the various steps to buying a used car. This week we look at the preparation and planning stages, i.e. thinking about your budget, what you can do with your existing car, and your options for paying.

Decide On Your Budget

The first step is to work out your budget. Make sure you factor in other costs you will incur after you finalise the purchase. This includes things like insurance and breakdown cover, as well as maintenance costs.

Decide What To Do With Your Existing Car

If you have a car at the moment this can be factored into your budget too. You will have to decide how to sell your existing car. The simplest is to trade it in as there is no time lag between selling one car and buying the other. While it is an easy option, sometimes you will not get as much on a trade in as you would if you sold it privately. This is not guaranteed though, and you have to be prepared to spend time going through the sales process.

The best approach is to do research on the various car classified websites to learn the sort of price your current car is worth. You can also check valuation websites, although they can only be used as a guide. Once you have an idea of the price your car is worth you should ask a few dealers who have cars you might be interested in buying how much they will give you on a trade in.

You will then be able to see if there really is a difference in price. If there is, you will have to balance the convenience of a trade in against extra money you will have if you sell privately.

Finally, check the deal you are getting from the dealer – does it differ depending on whether you are trading in or not? This might also influence your decision.

How Will You Pay?

You have almost the same number of financing and payment options when you buy a used car as you do when buying a new one. This includes PCP financing or hire purchase agreements through a dealer, or a car loan from your bank or another financial institution.

The best approach when looking at how you are going to pay for a used car, particularly if you are going to finance it, is to shop around. Often you will find the rates and terms offered by dealers are very favourable, but always check with your bank too and look at other options that might be available. You can do all those checks with making an application for the finance, so researching will not impact on your credit status. You might, however, save money over the life of the deal by shopping around.

In next week’s blog we will look at the next stage of buying a used car –where you can find cars for sale, and the benefits of each option, plus tips on how to get the right car at the right price.




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