9 Steps to Buying a Used Car
Table of Contents
- 1 9 Steps to Buying a Used Car
- 1.1 1. Establish Your Budget
- 1.2 2. Decide which buying options are right for you
- 1.3 3. What’s Available for You
- 1.3.1 In my used car buying course, I share with you the texts, emails, and phone conversations I had with a real-life scammer.
- 1.4 4. Do your shopping
- 1.5 5. Financing
- 1.6 6. Take a Ride
- 1.6.1 The Critical Element of Inspecting a Car
- 1.7 7. Mechanic’s Check
- 1.8 8. Price & Paperwork Check
- 1.9 9. Drive Away
Before diving into my 9 steps to buying a used car I want to address a statement similar to this a dozen times:
Buying a used car (compared to a new car) is the smart financial decision
Well, yes… and no!
Give me a moment, and I’ll explain that statement because it’s essential!
The Yes Portion
When you buy a used car, you are avoiding the massive depreciation every new car experience the moment it’s sold. The moment a new vehicle is registered, it loses value, and during the first year of ownership, the car’s value rapidly decreases. So, buying a good, well maintained used car can offer you a great vehicle at a very attractive price
Yep, the moment a new vehicle is registered it loses value. And during this first year the car’s value decreases rapidly. So, buying a good, well maintained used car can offer you a great vehicle at a very attractive price
The No Portion
A new car hasn’t had the chance to be driven and abused, like a used car. Used cars allow unethical people the chance to deceive or manipulate a used car’s value.
Buying a used car that’s going to require expensive repairs can completely negate the value associated with buying used. And, even worse, if you’re outright scammed in this process I doubt you’re going to feel like a winner!
So, when you’re shopping for a new car, there’s a level of safety and security that just does not exist in the used car market!
Listen, I’m going to share with you my 9 Steps to Buying a Used Car. This system helps you buy the car you want and can afford at the best price possible.
But, more importantly, by following my advice carefully, you should avoid the thieves and shifty car sellers who want to sell you something that’s not being represented truthfully!
Go ahead and settle in, I’m about to share with you this car buying knowledge I’ve gained over a lot of years!
Now, you’ve got an understanding of the overall used car marketplace, let’s take a look at my 9 steps to buying a used car.
1. Establish Your Budget
Don’t ever waste time shopping for a car, truck, or SUV that’s not within your budget.
When you’re establishing a budget, the first question is are you going to buy the car outright, or put some money down, and finance part of the car’s price.
I’ll go into greater detail in a moment, but at this point, if you’re considering financing, you should also be asking yourself these questions:
- Do I regularly pay my bills?
- Have I ever declared bankruptcy?
- Do I have a regular source of income?
The answers to those questions and others will have a massive impact on your ability to obtain a car loan, and the rate you’re going to have to pay.
Now that you know if you’re going to pay upfront, or finance the car you should stop here, there are additional costs you should consider:
- The estimated yearly maintenance costs
- Estimated fuel costs
- Cost to insure the car
Here’s a great free resource to help estimate the overall cost of owning the car – VinAudit
When you’ve established your budget, you’re able to start looking for car buying options. But, it’s essential to understand which car buying markets are the right ones for you!
2. Decide which buying options are right for you
There is a multitude of buying options available, but not all options are right for all people!
Remember, you’re in the Wild, Wild West when you’re shopping for a used car.
Let’s look at all the options, and the benefits and potential pitfalls:
Car Dealerships – New – Used – Online
Dealer – New – the safest, and usually the most expensive used car shopping market. The expense makes sense because a new car dealer has an enormous overhead. An advantage is they can generally offer you a load of on-brand options. Most car manufacturers offer a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) program. These cars will not be the least expensive, but they usually come with a complete inspection, warranty, and sometimes subvented financing (financing rates reduced by the manufacturer to stimulate sales).
Dealer – Used – a used car dealership offers some conveniences like registration and insurance done for you. But, used car dealers have earned a less than stellar reputation because of their efforts to put people in extremely over-priced cars.
Dealer – Website – There’s been an ever-growing number of websites offering used car shoppers the opportunity to buy a car online. There are some real inherent problems with this approach. I think it’s essential to physically get in the car. And, you need understanding of the marketplace, the number of similar vehicles available.
Used Cars – Private Sellers
Private Seller – eBay – They are a vast source of used car sellers. Car dealers, private sellers, and dealers masquerading as private sellers all use eBay. The site’s worked very hard to implement programs like VPP – Vehicle Protection Plan. But, the scammers are always finding ways to work around their best intentions. Please don’t get me wrong, if you do shop on eBay; I think VPP should be used, but it’s by no means bulletproof!
Private Seller – Craigslist – It’s amazing how many cars are listed on Craigslist. If you know what you’re looking for you don’t have to look hard to find a scammer looking to steal your money!
Private Seller – Website – besides eBay and Craigslist there’s an ever-growing community of websites that allow a private seller to list their used car that’s for sale. It’s safe to say that these sites still present some dangers, along with convenience and savings.
Private Seller – Other Sources – Any place that offers the chance to advertise, whether it’s a newspaper or a bulletin board, you are probably going to see a used car for sale. The savings can be significant, but the buyer needs to understand the process thoroughly!
A Different Option!
Auctions – In the past, an auction was almost exclusively a buying option reserved solely for a dealer. But, many auction houses have opened their doors to the general public. And, there’s an appealing online auction site – Auto Auction Mall
There’s no denying that an auction presents the opportunity to save an enormous amount of money. But, if you buy from an auction you’re walking a tightrope without a net! In most scenarios, if you buy a lemon, your only option is to open a lemonade stand!
If you’d like to get some additional clarification regarding buying options go-ahead and Download Used Car Buying Help Here
3. What’s Available for You
In the areas you’ve selected to shop, you should start surveying the landscape. This can be done on one of the famous car sites that spend millions on advertising. Or through a simple search like, used car for sale near me.
After some simple investigating you will easily be able to determine the going rate for a car that’s piqued your interest. All the vehicles that share the same critical components will be priced within a relatively small price range.
Those key components are Make, model year, options, and mileage.
You will see the pricing clustered, this what the market bears. For example, a 2018 Toyota Camry XLE with approximately 30,000 miles will all be in the same general price range.
Understand, the value of a used car can fluctuate from one area to another. This can be due to demand and popularity, availability, how the vehicle is equipped, and other factors.
You’re also likely to find the ‘Price Outlier.’ When you see it, there’s bound to be a twinkle in your eye, hey… everyone loves a bargain, me too!
But, when there are dozens of vehicles all in the same price range, and one is available at an incredible low price, this should set off warning bells!
Once, I saw a car that fell into this classification advertised by one of my dealers. There was even a picture, it looked like a great deal. I asked about the car and learned that the quarter panel, not in the picture, was smashed in some bargain!
Yes, there are bargains out there. But you also have to understand that this is the first tactic of a car scammer. Scammers use the lure of an incredibly low price like a spider waving to a fly to come into their web!
The general plan is to catch your attention with what can only be described as a foolishly low price. Then work in some diversion to eventually separate you from your money!
If you’re going to consider going after one of these unicorns (an incredibly low priced car, far below market value) you have to be VERY careful!
It might make sense to grab my used car buying program. In addition to sharing my interactions with a Scammer, I also show you many other potential scams littered all over the internet!
When pursuing one of these unicorns, you must continuously be looking for a reason to acknowledge it doesn’t exist!
I consider these first 3 steps as the basis of my 9 steps to buying a used car. Like a foundation supports a house. These initial steps are critical to supporting your efforts later, and ultimately getting the best price possible.
4. Do your shopping
Now you’ve narrowed down your search based on your budget. You have a sense of availability and pricing, so you’re ready to start the shopping.
STOP, If you make this your first step, you run the risk of wasting time. Shopping for cars in markets you shouldn’t, or searching out cars that exceed your budget.
Both of those scenarios are just a waste time, and this approach plays right into a used car scammer’s hands!
Used Car Information Gathering
During this phase, when you contact the seller, you’re going to verify the vital information: Year, Make, and Model, along with its pricing and availability. It’s a good idea to ask the most obvious question at this point, “is there anything wrong with the car?”
Now, it is NOT the time to start visiting cars. You’re merely gathering relevant information.
When you take your test drive you going to be verifying the information you are gathered now. That’s the difference between a smart used car shopper and someone who’s unorganized, flying by the seat of their pants.
The information-gathering process is to gain knowledge, narrow down your search, and to prepare to negotiate the car’s price. I’ll touch on negotiating more in a moment, but you’ve got two options:
- Rely on your natural-born negotiating skills
- Enter into a discussion with the seller using pieces of information and facts that leave the seller with no choice but to agree.
More on that in a moment.
If you’re going to purchase the car outright, you expect to hand over the full purchase amount for the used car when you take ownership, you can skip this portion.
But, if you’re planning on financing your next car now’s the time to get your financing in order.
Your ability to obtain a loan and the interest rate you will qualify for is heavily dependent on your credit score. If you’re shopping at a car dealer, whether it’s a new or used car dealer, they will offer you a financing option.
Financing… the Truth
Here’s the real truth about financing, it’s all about the interest rate! Who cares where you mail your monthly car payment?
So, if you’re going to a car dealer, go ahead and see what interest rate they offer you. But, be sure you have a loan and a rate already in place. Then, you have the option to choose the best interest rate.
Keep in mind, often dealership’s will add something to the interest rate they’re offering you. That’s another essential reason to have an outside financing loan option in place before going into a car dealership!
If you’re someone who’s got a good source of income. If you pay your bills on-time, you’re going to qualify for a very competitive interest rate. With good credit, you should have your choice of lenders!
Conversely, if you don’t have good credit you will have less lending options. And you’re going to have a higher interest rate compared to someone with a good credit score.
Here’s a Good Lending Option
Here’s a lender that makes getting approved super-easy – Web2Carz.
It’s effortless to get a rate from this lender, simply complete a short, two-page form online, or it can be done over a brief phone call.
A huge advantage to using this company is they claim a 99% approval rate, so in just a couple of minutes, you’ll have one financial option in-hand!
6. Take a Ride
OK, now you’ve narrowed down the field, so you’re ready to take some cars for a ride!
When you’re taking a test ride, there’s a lot of information you need to gather. Are you comfortable in the car? Does the vehicle fit your needs? And, you’re going to want to look for signs of excessive wear and tear damage or problems.
Be sure to take a close look at the fuse box. Look for signs of corrosion (a sign of flood damage) or rewiring. Also, roll up the windows and put the heater on full blast. In addition to sweating off a couple of pounds, you will be able to see if the windows begin to fog up. If so, that’s another good indicator that the car’s been flooded.
You’ll also want to examine the car’s paint looking for signs of repair or rust. Be sure to pop the hood and take a peek at the engine. Is the engine covered in oil, are any belts worn or do you see hoses that have bubbles? Also, check to see if there’s a lot of corrosion on the battery, these are just some signs of a potential problem.
In fact, you should give the entire interior and exterior and close inspection!
The Critical Element of Inspecting a Car
You’re at an incredibly important point in the car buying process, and all shoppers can be put into one of two categories at this point, people looking:
To be convinced this is the right car for them.
For a reason to pass on this car and move to the next.
The person looking for the problem and wanting to avoid it is the person who’s going to have a better chance of getting the right car at the great price!
Don’t get taken advantage of because you’re anxious to get this done!
If you’re thinking you might have found your next car, it’s time to do a Vin Number check.
A Vin Number is a series of letters and numbers that create a car’s unique form of identification. Like a Social Security number for a vehicle, it relays information and provides a unique form of identification. No two cars have the exact same Vin Number.
Choosing the right Vin Number Checking Company
You’re probably familiar with a company called CarFax. They are a reputable source to use for a Vin Number check, in fact, they are the market leader, but they are also the most expensive!
An excellent alternative is Vin Audit.
Both Vin Audit and CarFax share similar sources of information, and they both provide a lot of information, but Vin Audit is MUCH less expensive!
What You Get with a Vin Check
With Vin Audit, you will learn:
The Vehicle Specifications – so you can verify the VIN number actually matches the car you’re considering. Stealing and altering Vin Numbers is a wide-spread scam, so it’s important to know that there has not been any tapering or changing of the Vin Number.
Title Records – see if there have been changes to the car’s title including the number of owners, and where its’ been registered. This information should match what the seller has told you.
Title Changes – included, but not limited to if the car’s been junked, salvaged or if there’s been something reported or claimed through insurance.
Accident History – see if the car’s been involved in an accident from the paperwork filed by an insurance company, state agencies, or the authorities.
Potential Ownership Issues
Stolen – your Vin Audit report can tell you if this car’s been reported stolen. The last thing you want to do is buy a stolen car!
Liens, Impound and Export History – you will see if the car has or had a lien on it, It’s also important to know if the car’s ever been impounded, or if it was exported out of the United States.
Sales Records – See how many times the car’s been sold, and where. Does this match what the seller has claimed? If not, I’d move on to another vehicle!
Title Problem Check – see if the car’s title has been branded or if it’s clean
Plus, they provide a lot of additional information, including expected future value!
You get all the information I’ve listed above for just $12.99. While a similar report from CarFax is $39.99.
See, I’m already saving you money!
Click here for Vin Audit
Ok, we’ve now completed the first six steps of my 9 steps to buying a used car. The first three steps are the base, these last three steps are finding, and more importantly eliminating some options.
Now, we’re in the home stretch. This is were we’re putting potential cars to their tests. Making sure when we find the right car, so you will complete the transaction properly, and legally!
7. Mechanic’s Check
You’re ready for this step when you’ve inspected the car, checked the VIN and everything is adding up. So, now’s the time to have a mechanic you trust to give the car a look-over.
To have a qualified mechanic inspect the car will cost you something between $100 and $200. Consider this an insurance policy to help prevent you from buying someone else’s problem.
Remember, we talked about looking for a reason to walk away from the car. You’re still trying to discover if there’s something wrong with this car, not the other way around!
I Almost Messed Up at This Point
Once, I was shopping for a used car and found what I thought would be a good option! I set up a test drive, the car wasn’t perfect, but it seemed like a good buy. The seller was anxious to complete the deal immediately. Again, this should set off a warning alarm!
But, I insisted on a thorough mechanic’s inspection (which the seller was adamant about not needing). It turns out there was a hole in the car’s radiator, and the seller had plugged the hole with the cap to a Bic pen!
The seller wanted to sell me his problem!
Knowledge is critical, your job is to try and learn everything you possibly can about that car!
8. Price & Paperwork Check
We’re almost there!
Now, if everything is still looking good, you’re close to completing the process. The only thing left is to get the pricing and paperwork together.
When I’ve spoken with someone who’s just bought a used car this is the single most overlooked, or improperly done segment of them all!
I think that’s because when someone thinks about 9 steps to buying a used car, they would expect to negotiate pricing much earlier.
Trust me, if you buy your next used car following my plan you can make the most difficult part much easier, negotiating the price!
Make Negotiating for a Used Car Easy
When we talk about pricing, there’s no denying that this portion of the used car buying process offers the most opportunities for friction or uncomfortable moments.
Lots of shoppers want to start negotiating the price for the car before they’ve ever seen it. Much less driven it, inspected the vehicle, and had their mechanic give it the once-over.
This is the wrong way to go about negotiating the price!
The proper way to negotiate the price is to use the information you’ve gathered. Going back to the first step, straight through to the report from the mechanic.
In my used car buying guide, I give you a sheet that helps you organize and gather all this information. Plus I show you how to discuss the pricing with the seller in a logical manner. An opportunity to use concrete reasons to state your case that the price the seller’s asking is too high!
This is the easiest, no-haggle way to get the best price possible for that used car!
9. Drive Away
Now you’ve settled on the price, the last step is to make sure you’ve got the paperwork is done correctly, title, bill of sale, etc. If you’re buying from a private party.
If you’re buying from a dealership, this paperwork is usually done for you.
Either way, it’s critical that you make sure this paperwork is correct. This includes the right Vin Number, year, make and model of the car, and your information. Plus, any critical components you collected during the shopping process.
From my conversations with used car shoppers, there is a tendency to rush things, not to follow all of my 9 steps to buying a used car. That’s a mistake!
Listen, I would have three, or five steps, if it made sense. The process has dictated the number of steps. I have given you a simple process, 9 steps to buying a used car. A process anyone can follow and
I have given you a simple process, 9 steps to buying a used car. A plan anyone can follow and succeed doing so! So, there you have it, my simple steps to effortlessly getting the best price possible on a used car!
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve got a complete Used Car Buyer’s Guide that helps people navigate the steps I’ve outlined above.
I provide you with documents, real-life examples of how my System quickly gets a seller to drop their price by hundreds! And, I share a lot of information I’ve gathered about the scammers and crooks who are stealing used car shopper’s money!
I offer a 100% money-back guarantee, and for only $37.00, I think this is a no-brainer! My System will save you much more than the cost of this course, guaranteed!