View Full Version : First time used car buyer help
06-26-2009, 10:20 PM
We have always purchased new cars. We are still making payments on our 2007 truck. My 1999 van has 237,000 miles on it and my commute is over 100 per day. We are seriously considering a used vehicle - a compact SUV or another minivan. In our area, new car dealers will typically come down 20% from the sticker price. How much can I expect a dealership to come down on the sticker price of a used vehicle?
06-27-2009, 08:48 AM
How much they will lower the price at a used lot, all depends on the dealership it self. Some are happy to sell at any price that is a profit and others fell that the sticker price is the only price that they are willing to sell for.
Don't overlook the smaller car dealerships...they buy cars at the same places larger ones do but don't have the higher over head in a lot of cases...so they don't look to make as much off of each car.
If you haven't already checked out edmunds.com make sure you do before you try to make a deal. They give you a really good idea as to "true market value" and what you should pay through dealer or private seller. You can customize exact car you are looking for with accessories etc. and it will give you a price. It will even link you to sellers of that car in your area. I've used edmunds for info on last 5 car purchases.
06-27-2009, 11:09 PM
I second the Edmunds.com recommendation - great info on prices for new and used cars - they take data on what cars have actually been selling for, not the estimated worth like Blue Book.
06-28-2009, 08:34 AM
Along with price, reliability and the personal history of the car you are looking at is important.
Consumer Reports and Carfax can be used to weed out the nasty ones.
Things are a little backwards right now. Used car values are high and new car prices are low. Be sure to investigate both sides of the equation.
Finally, it is obvious that you guys take care of your cars mechanically. Some used cars are sold with a manufacturers warranty with 100,000 miles of coverage. I encourage you to only consider a manufacturers warranty and not one offered though the ABC Warranty Co. or the dealer itself.
06-28-2009, 11:31 AM
In 2004 I found a 2000 GMC Jimmy that I wanted to buy for work. It had 29000 miles on it and the retail value per NADA was 17,000. I test drove it, got a CARFAX on it, found out the dealer had taken it in trade and asked for the number of the folks that traded it in. I called the lady and asked her questions ONLY the owner of the car would have known. They traded it in on a new car so I knew the dealer probably hosed her.
I sit down with the salesman and he tells me they want 16,990 for the car. I offered 12,300. He left me sitting there while he talked to his "Manager". He comes back and says "Great news, we came down about $1000 to 16,150." I said "I dont know where you're from but thats not $1000." He says, "Yeah, but it's close."
I said, "I'll give you 12,400." Of course he comes back and says they will let me have it for 15,990.
I told him I was tired of wasting his time and my last offer is $12,550. He came back and shook my hand finalizing the deal at $12,550.
The rules are
-----Do NOT fall 'in love' with a car.
-----ALWAYS be prepared to walk away.
-----ALWAYS have another car, at another dealership or private owner, that you would be happy with.
-----Remember, you CAN NOT hurt these peoples feelings. They do NOT take it personally if you offer a number way lower than what they want.
06-28-2009, 06:24 PM
I know that in this economy many people are buying used cars which I understand. My husband and I are waiting the for Cash for Clunkers to take effect.
We have a 99 SUV with bad gas milage. We want to buy a car which we planned on doing anyway. Since your vehicle older you might want to consider checking out if your vehicle qualifies and you would consider new. Our current car is valued at around 2,000 dollars and if we buy a vehicle that gets so many miles more per gallan the government with give us 4,500 toward the purchase of a new vehicle. (direct to dealer) There are rules and such but you might want to look into it.
www.cars.gov hope it helps.
06-29-2009, 03:01 PM
I have been very happy with the last two cars we purchased used (2002 Expedition, 2005 Saturn Vue).
I always go in with financing arranged in advance. The dealer will always ask if you plan to pay cash or finance, b/c they expect to make money on the financing and will usually take less for the car. I don't tell them I've got my financing in place unless they ask point blank ("have you already contacted your bank or credit union?") and I don't tell them the rate I have until after we have a deal on the PRICE of the car (not the payments). Then I offer to finance with them if they can beat my rate of x% and show them my preapproval.
dh or I research all the cars that meet our criteria, then search for them online. The online price will typically be less than the price on the lot. Print out the details for each car you want to drive at each dealership and start the negotiating on the LOWER of the internet price and the lot price ("hmm, this says $15,990, but you have it on your website for $14,990. I'll offer $14,000.") and work from there.
Check the Edmunds pricing for EVERY vehicle you are looking at. If you are really interested in a particular car, print out the Edmunds pricing to take with you. It shows that you know what you're doing and can shorten negotiations ("see, this is what it should be worth. My offer is ______.").
Be prepared to walk or at least to cool down for a while. The Saturn I'm driving right now was the car I really wanted, but I wasn't cool on the color and wanted to test drive some others. After leaving and discerning that I couldn't find any other v6s in that model, I went back the next day and negotiated a lower price for it.
It also helps to know your credit score, so you can say "My CU financing is at x%, and my credit rating is xxx. Will that allow me to finance lower through you?" Again, it lets the dealer know that you are serious and know what you are doing. Would I pay to get my credit score just to shop for a car? I don't know. But I would ask the company I'm getting my financing through if they will tell it to me (we had just bought a house, so I knew the credit score).
06-29-2009, 03:06 PM
Also, ask around at NEW car dealers to see which used car dealers in town are creeps and which are ok. Usually, all you have to do is test drive a used car there and then mention that you are also looking at x and y dealerships. An honest salesman will let you know which ones sell reconditioned wrecks disguised to look like good deals and which are good dealers, esp if they don't have exactly what you are looking for.
Carfax can help you determine if the vehicle you are looking at has been wrecked, but you can also look for body panels that aren't the same color, seams where things don't quite seem to fit right, overspray in engine compartments and wheelwells, dash instruments that don't quite match (ie, dials are different colors). Calling the previous owner is great if you can do that, too.
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