Buying a car can be an epic process, between research, test driving and paperwork. This blogger just landed her own used car deal. Here are a few pointers to help you make your decision from my recent experience and the experts.
What is the Best Car Deal?
There are many ways to get a car these days: new or used, private or at a dealership, leasing or owning… So how do you decide which direction is best? Consider these options moving forward as you look for the right car deal.
Pros and Cons of Leasing a Car
If you like to have the latest new car and don’t have a lot of cash for a down payment, leasing a car might sound like a good idea. Leasing also keeps you out of debt by requiring a small down payment and no need for continuous financing. However, there are many fees that come along with leasing. Plus, you have to return the car at the end of the lease, leaving you with nothing to show for all those payments you made toward the car.
If you do decide to lease a car, Bankrate suggests the following tips:
- Make a down payment of $2,000 or under
- Consider gap insurance in case the car is stolen or damaged
- Know your mileage consumption before signing to avoid penalties for exceeding the limit
- Repair any damages before returning the car to avoid extra charges and a steeper repair rate
- Don’t lease too long- no more than the bumper to bumper warranty (3 years)
Buying Used vs Buying New
If you decide the best car deal for you is to purchase a vehicle, the next question might be new or used? The nice thing about a new car is that you have more life in the car than buying used. You also don’t have to worry about the previous owner’s maintenance habits. Lastly, the warranty is still fully intact.
However, the initial value of a new car, drops dramatically once you drive it off the lot. According to Carfax, the car will lose 10% of its value as soon as you leave with it and up to 20% after the first year! There are definitely used cars on the market that are only a few years old with fairly low mileage at a very good price compared to their new counterparts. A used car may also still have its warranty remaining. Finally, Carfax reports are a helpful tool to see the history of the car before you consider buying it.
Dealership or Private Seller for a Good Used Car Deal?
The last decision to examine is where to purchase your car: a commercial dealership or a private seller. Here are the benefits of going to a dealership or used car outfit:
- Knowledgeable staff and lots of options
- Financing available if you can’t pay in all cash
- Awareness of any factory warranties remaining and maybe adding on their own warranty
- Some dealerships offer a window to return the vehicle if it doesn’t work out
- Easily accessible Carfax report
And here are a few reasons to consider going to a private seller:
- You are very mechanical and enjoy a fixer upper or can spot red flags
- No extra fees or gimmicks
- Family or friend might be able to sell you a vehicle directly
- You won’t have to wait for special deals or rates from dealerships
While there are many facets of car buying, take it one step at a time. Researching inventory ahead of time can save time. It can help you narrow down the choices by price, condition, make/model and more. Buying close to home also has benefits of being able to take the car in for repairs under warranty. Also, try not compromise on your car-buying budget. You won’t regret it when you finish paying off the vehicle in 3 years instead of 5 years!