How To Get Used Car Value

July 8, 2010

Buying someone else’s lemon is an old school expression when it comes to describing the purchase of a used car. Today, that’s where to find real value when buying a vehicle. Here are some ways to insure that the value is real.

Identify Your Purchase: Take some time to figure out what kind of car fulfills your wish list. Hone in on the size, bodystyle, powerplant and the look that will make you cut your morning shower short in anticipation of driving this piece to work in the morning. The vehicle is out there, it’s just a matter of knowing what hastens your heart beat.

Do Your Homework: There are plenty of tools online to establish a fair price. Start with and to find out the baseline of what your car of choice is worth in the marketplace and then move to car dealer sites in your area to see if there are any sleepers on which pricing mistakes have been made. If you are adventurous expand, your Internet search to include more distant locations.

Kick Some Tires: Nobody likes it but you have to get out to the dealer’s lot and yes you will have to interact with a salesman. But at this point you should know what is available and for what price, so the salesman’s impact should be lessened. Remember that in the used car market it’s all about what they have acquired the car for and what they project as their margin. Prices can vary widely.

Arrange An Inspection: Do not buy a car that isn’t checked out by a knowledgeable disinterested third party of your choice. It’s worth the charge for 20 minutes of a technician’s time to road test the vehicle, get it on the lift and check the major systems and evaluate. Make it a demand that you be able (at your expense) to have the car inspected. If the seller bulks, you should find another vehicle.

Find A Loan: Call a top tier lender and price a loan on the car that you have picked out. You’re not going to actually borrow the money, but there is no better way to confirm value than to see if a bank will advance the funds needed to purchase it. Inquire what the lender’s policy is concerning a maximum loan for a car. If the bank lends up to 100 percent of wholesale value and would require a substantial additional down payment, you might be overpaying.

Value is not the same for every person, but when buying a used car it is very definable. It means getting the greatest benefit for your money. For a used car it is about buying a sound and reliable vehicle at a reasonable price.

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