What to look for once you've found a used car you want to buy.
- Check Fluid Levels and Fluid Color
- Look for any signs of leaks
- Check operation of all windows and door locks
- Check operation of all accessories ex. radio, nav, dvd
- Check for signs of lack of maintenance
- Check for any warning lights on dash
- Check Air Conditioning Operation
- Look in the trunk for any signs of moisture
- Check Tire Tread Depth
- Test Drive the Car
- Test Brake operation
- Test Steering for pulling or loose feeling
- Drive over bumps to listen for noise
- Listen for exhaust leaks
- Visually inspect the body for dents, scratches or fresh paint
Questions to ask once you've found a used car you want to buy.
- Why Are you Selling the car?
- Has the car been smoked in?
- Did you buy the car new, how long have you owned it?
- Do you have any or all maintenance records?
- How old are the tires?
- When is the last time you had the oil changed?
- Has the car ever been wrecked or painted?
- Do you haul kids around in it?
- Do you tow with the it?
- Are the miles mostly city driving or long distance driving?
These questions can both give you insight on how the car was maintained and used as well as provide you with some bargaining points.
How do I find a Used Car?
Research, Research, Research! Chose a used car you want to buy and then find out everything you can about that car. Use websites like AutoTrader.com, Carfax.com, news paper classifieds or just driving around and hitting the local car lots.
Establish a Base Value
Once you find a car you think you would like to buy, jump on KBB.com(Kelly Blue Book) or Edmund's and see what cars similar to what you are looking at are selling for and what the banks are willing to loan against them. This is a base Value Only. Once you have your Base Value of the car, you can start to figure in reasons to add or subtract value. Ex. If the used car needs new tires, you may want to consider the cars value less than if the car has New tires on it. A used car that is dented up or scratched up is not worth the same. Mileage is another big factor, so make sure you pay attention to the different mileage when doing your research.
What should I look for when buying a car to resell?
You are going to want to find the used car that is at the right price that can be sold for more than you pay plus any additional costs of fixing it up, etc. Also you are going to need a used car that other s want to buy and sometimes this can be based on seasons and weather. In the late fall early winter, it is easier to sell 4x4 trucks than in the spring as drivers see more snow in the winter. Same goes for sports cars, it is easier to sell them in the sunny summer than a snowy winter. Another factor is if you can buy parts for it. Take Daewoo for example, your neighbor may be willing to sell you there car for pennies and all it needs if a sensor to fix it.... but there is no way to get the sensor as Daewoo is out of business and parts are not available anymore. You get the idea.
Research, Research, Research!
Chose a used car you want to buy and then find out everything you can about that car. Look at Carfax and study the prices for cars two years newer and older and use this as a bench mark or starting point. Then look at KBB.com to find the bank loan value. Now that the average of the two combined and this is pretty close to what the car can be bought for. In most cases a car can be bought for less than asking price... even if the seller has posted "FIRM".
Have a friend call about the car and ask what their bottom dollar is. Then call them later and offer them less than what they told your friend and gauge the sellers response. And then you can ask on the phone is they would take less if paying in CASH. You would be surprised at how many sellers will lower the price based on paying in cash. You can use this technique in person also. If the asking price is $5,000.00 and you pull out $4,500.00 in cash .... odds are the seller is going to snatch up the cash offer and fast! Seeing the cash in hand makes the Offer Real at that point and the seller wants to sell it. That's why it is up for sale in the first place right? You already know he wants to sell the car and it your job to find out just how little he will take for it.