Used Car Dealer
Choosing Between Car Dealerships and Private Sellers
When shopping for a used car, it's tempting to make a beeline straight for the cheapest price, no matter who is selling. But the source of the sale is just as important as what's being sold, and if you're not careful, the price of not researching the seller could end up costing big. Before you embark on the search for the best deal, consider these important differences between used car lots and private sellers.
The reason why anybody buys from a private seller through Craigslist or Autotrader is the price. Because there's no overhead—building, commissions, utilities, etc.—buying from a private seller will almost always be cheaper than from a used car lot.
But private sellers are also not regulated by the same state and federal laws that protect consumers from being scammed at an established used car dealership and there are no used car dealer reviews to check up on a seller's reputation. If you bought a car from a private seller and it completely broke down the next day, there aren't many protections in place to recover the money you paid or have the seller cover damages.
There are also no warranty or service options from private sellers. If all you want is the lowest price possible, then maybe warranties aren't a concern. But shoppers in search of peace of mind may prefer a used car dealer for those extras.
Used car dealers are typically a one-stop shop for buying a car. They handle paperwork, financing, warranties, service plans, and will have all the records and history from the car's previous owner. And while there is always the risk that a private seller is passing off a lemon, used cars through the dealership undergo full inspections before the final sale.
It's important to remember that while used car prices are typically lower through private sellers, that doesn't mean you can't find a better deal on the used car lot. There are always sales around the holidays and prices vary at different locations, so shop around. If peace of mind, professionalism, and the option to purchase warranties and service are important, then focus your sights on a used car dealership.
New or Used Car Dealers: Which one's better?
When looking to purchase a vehicle, it may be tempting to go straight to the nearest dealership and purchase a brand new car. However, buying a new car is not always the best investment. All cars will decrease in value as soon as you drive them off the lot. Therefore, you can often find an almost brand new car at the used car lot that will cost you a couple of thousand dollars less than you would pay for a new vehicle of the same model.
Consumers who wish to customize their vehicle often opt for buying a new vehicle. Being able to choose extras to match your liking is obviously one of the benefits of buying a new car. However, if you purchase a used car without all the extras included, you can always visit an auto shop to have any have anything added like tires, sunroof, cruise control, etc. This will almost always cost you less than buying the same vehicle new. Take a look at used car reviews to get an idea of the cost difference between buying a new vs. a used car. This will also help you get an idea of what cars you could afford.
When looking for a used car dealership, you can use a number of tools to look up used car dealer reviews. Google and Yelp both feature extensive review listings for used car dealerships. If you're not sure where your nearest used car dealer is, take a look on this page.
Whether you choose to purchase a used or a new vehicle is ultimately up to your personal preference, but you may find that it is a better investment to purchase a premium used vehicle over a value new vehicle at the same price point.
Mastering the Art of Negotiations: 5 Tips to Help You Purchase Your Next Used Car at the Right Price
For many, negotiating a car price is a challenge. The prospect of having to sit across from a dealer and bicker over a price while facing the stress and anxiety of being made to pay too much has given rise to a sub-industry specifically designed to mitigate this – the no-negotiation car dealership.
Negotiating a price can, however, be a painless endeavor with a little work beforehand and the right mindset. We have prepared five tips to keep in mind when buying a used car that will not only help you secure the right price for your new vehicle, but also make the negotiation process stress-free.
- Know your price range and arrange for financing yourself. Before choosing your ideal used car, you should know beforehand how much car you can afford and how you will pay for it. There are calculators online that can help you figure out the most you can afford to spend on a used car based on the monthly payment you feel comfortable paying – search for “car affordability calculator.” Once you know your price range, you can then shop around for a loan that both offers terms that are attractive to you and has a strong reputation for customer satisfaction.
Handling the financing yourself not only gives you more options and control over the buying process, but simplifies the negotiation process. With the financing in place, you can shop as if you had the money for the used car in-hand – allowing you to worry about the “out-the-door” price instead of the interest rate and loan term. Even if you were to entertain the used dealership’s loan offer, having a pre-approved loan offer give you a basis of comparison and a ready excuse to dodge add-ons, as you are under a strict pricing limit.
- Know your target cars. Instead of allowing the used car dealer recommend a used car to you, have a target list of three used cars in your price range ready before you visit the dealership. Use the internet and local listings to identify cars that meet your requirements and take the time to test-drive all of the cars on your list. A rule of thumb with used cars is to buy cars at least two years old – the wholesale price will be between 45 to 55 percent of the original sticker price or less.
When you test-drive the used car, make sure you fully investigate the car, including the interior, exterior, electronics, handling conditions and mechanicals. It is important – before negotiating a price – to know everything about your target used car, regardless of how miniscule the detail is.
- Know the value of the car. If you do not know the market value of the used cars on your list, you should make sure you know before heading to the used car dealership. Knowing the value of the used car makes it easier to recognize a high offer from the dealer. Also, if the used car dealer knows that you know the used car’s value, he will be forced to justify his pricing, which will make him more liberal in offering a deal.
Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds both have search tools that will show you the market value of a used car with the options and features your target used car has. Having this information at hand will make you a better negotiator.
- Know when to buy. It is a good idea to know when the dealership is most likely not to be busy and therefore willing to negotiate toward making a good deal. Head to a used car dealership on a Tuesday or Wednesday during the morning – these are the times that dealerships tend to be the emptiest. Look toward buying a car during the last days of the month, as the used car dealer would be under the most pressure to bolster sale numbers. Finally, buy in October, November or December – these are the months where new car dealerships are the most desperate to clear their current inventory in order to make room for new year models. Also, used car dealerships are more eager to make a deal in the later months as a used car will automatically lose value with the new year as the used car is now a year older.
- Know how to buy. Start with a bid for the used car 10 to 15 percent below the trade-in value. Reject any dealer add-ons unless you sincerely want them and pass on any offers for financing if you already secured your auto loan – these are just ways to increase the dealership’s profit margin on the sale. If the dealer leaves you in his office to “talk to his manager,” you leave, too, to look at cars in the lobby or go to the rest room; leaving you alone in an office is a known way to make a customer uncomfortable and more willing to settle quickly. Finally, if the dealer rejects your offer, slowly raise it up to the market value of the used car in question in no more than $200 increments.
It’s important to understand that you can walk away at any point, and should walk away if you find the offer unappealing. Before leaving, ask for the offer in writing and use this as a starting point at a different dealership. Never fall in love with a used car to the point that you can’t walk away from it. Conversely, you should let the used car dealer know that – if the right price is met – you will buy today; this place extra motivation on him/her to make the best deal to close the deal.
Also, instead of trading-in your old car, consider selling it and using the proceeds as your down payment. Typically, the retail value of a used car is higher than the trade-in value, meaning that you will usually get more for it selling it to a private party than you will from the dealership.
Finally, and most importantly, be polite. If you treat a person with respect, he/she will respect you in kind. With these tips in mind, you are sure to find your dream used car at the perfect price.
What to Look for in a Used Car Dealer
Used cars became more popular than ever in 2015, as the used vehicle market saw a 2.5 percent year-over-year sales increase, reports automotive resource site Edmunds. The increase is spurring more new car dealerships to open used car-only lots in 2016, Automotive News reports, making a used car purchase more accessible to automotive buyers.
For car purchasers looking to save money, a used car dealership can provide a valuable purchase for reliable transportation. Not all used car lots are created equally, though. Used car dealer reviews are a must-read before spending your precious time visiting a lot. Sites such as Yelp and Google show reviews by real customers, giving you insight into what your peers' experience was like at the dealer.
Look for these other characteristics to rest assured you're purchasing from a used car dealer who prioritizes the best interests of customers.
If employees are scowling when they greet you, if you hear arguing among staff, or if the atmosphere is tense and hurried, listen to your gut. Auto Remarketing reports a culture built on trust is essential to success for both the business and the customer, so observe interactions for a better understanding of workplace dealings. (4) A positive culture also extends to the customer service provided, including any interactions you have before you physically enter the used car dealership.
Diverse and Plentiful Selection
The more meager the selection is at a used car lot, the less likely the dealer is reputable in the industry. The best used car dealers will have a large selection of cars to offer consumers, both because drivers have trusted the dealer and sold their cars to them, and because the dealer has the capital means to make investments.
Any used car dealer that forces you to keep a car even if it ends up not being the right fit after you've driven it off the lot is one to look out for. A high-quality used car dealership will have some sort of return policy in place, even if it's to offer equal value for the car should you return it. Also, inquire about an extended warranty. If a used car dealer offers one, that's a positive sign.
Vehicle History & Inspection
Make sure that any vehicle you're considering from a used car dealer includes a credible vehicle history report by a service such as Carfax or AutoCheck. You should also ask to see vehicle inspection reports to make sure whatever used car you're considering has had appropriate scheduled maintenance. The best used car dealers will perform their own inspection and replace anything major up front.
Prepare yourself to make these characteristics essential qualities for whatever used car dealer you purchase from, and you're more likely to be protected and prevent getting scammed.