Things to know before buying a used car

All said and done, having a car of one’s own is close to being a necessity for most folks – unless you happen to live in one of big cities where public transport is good, and or, the traffic is so bad you would prefer not to drive. Even in the latter scenario, there are times when having a car is needed and is very convenient and indeed, buying a car is a definite rite of passage for most Americans, and something that is looked forward to from the moment of getting that coveted driver’s license at the age of 16 years. Well, as much as a new car has its own set of appeals, often times one may not have the wherewithal to buy a shiny new car from the dealer, and so go on the hunt for used cars for sale that fits our price point and needs.

So, how do you start a search for used cars for sale? Do you ask your circle of friends and relatives if someone has or knows of a nice used car you can buy? Or do you head to the local used car dealership? Do you reach for the local newspaper or check out the leaflets and homemade flyers at the grocery store to see if anyone is listing a car for sale? Or perhaps you get on Craigslist, Car Gurus or any of the numerous other sites where you can research to your heart’s content, using filters of pricing, year, mileage, even color and make and model. Any and all of these are viable and simple options, it totally depends on your comfort level, your need and time frame, and of course, whether you prefer to go by the word of someone from your local community or circle, rather than buying from a complete stranger.

Use the Kelly Blue Book to get information on the make and model you’re interested in, and see what similar cars are valued at. This way you have a ballpark figure to begin with and have an idea about, and can negotiate with the seller accordingly. Take the car for a spin, get a trustworthy mechanic to inspect the car for you, or see if the owner has the latest papers and repair work on the car, so you have some idea of the kind of shape it is in, and won’t need you to make a visit to the shop immediately.