Have a car and want to sell it in the used car market but are not sure how to value it? Want to buy a used car and are not sure whether the seller is quoting the right price? In the past few years, the used car market has shown a boom and a record number of new cars are being sold. People opting for brand new cars are trading in their not- so-old cars. It is indeed a great opportunity for the used car buyers to take advantage of the great prices and wide range of choices. Given below are a few guidelines which may be useful in selling as well as buying a used car. Get the lowdown on automobile resale values.
For the seller
Whether you are planning to sell your car in the near future, have purchased it for investment purposes or simply want to protect your investment, it is always better to increase the resale value of your car. It is always a good idea to maintain your car in such a way that it will prove to be more valuable than its peers.
- Do keep your car clean by regular vacuuming, upholstery cleaning and shampooing of the floor.
- Maintain your cars according to the manufacturer’s instructions by regular inspections, oil changes, etc.
- Don’t put off any repairs and do get the annual check ups done regularly.
- Save all your receipts, paper work, warranty cards, etc as it will help when you are reselling the car.
- In addition, you should also repair any rust spots, paint chips, loose knobs, interior defects and anything else which may affect the cosmetic value of the car.
Doing all the above mentioned things religiously will positively increase the value of your car when the time comes to sell it and till then you will enjoy the pleasure of driving a well maintained car.
Automobile resale price guide
A variety of price guides are used by dealers and individuals to determine the value of used cars. The N.A.D.A. (National Automotive Dealers Association) Official User Car Guide is published monthly by the NADA and provides average trade-in, wholesale, and retail and loan prices for nearly every car sold in the last 7 years. Such books serve as a reference point for negotiating with the seller as well as buyer, though of course, the book cannot provide a definitive price.
For the buyer
According to the US Dept. of Transportation, the average life span of a well maintained vehicle is around 12 years. Surveys have shown that on the average, a person sells his car after around 4-5 years, which leaves a lot of good cars with plenty of life in them. Most of us want to know as to how to buy a car of our choice at the best possible price. Approximately 20% of a new car’s value is lost in the first year of ownership. Buying a car that is just a couple of years old can save you thousands of dollars.
Automobile buying tips
- The first step when you are looking for a used car is to know your spending limit. You have to decide on your budget, down payment and monthly installments. Do remember that the interest rate on a used car will be higher than a new car loan.
- You should also consider your lifestyle and car usage when determining what type of car you want. Consider how much driving you will do and the kind of driving.
- Next, start looking for used cars in your price range by reading the classifieds. Select three or four models before you start shopping.
- Find out the car’s history and condition. Do ask for the service records and repair receipts. Check out the miles the car has clocked, the average mileage, whether it has ever been in an accident, how is it equipped, why is the owner selling the car, and if he is the original owner.
- Go on a long test drive and check out your comfort level with the car. See how the car handles the road conditions. Check out the brakes, clutch, alignment, suspension, etc. Keep your eyes open for any shuddering, vibrations and rattling. Check out your head room and leg space and whether the seat is comfortable.
- Look at the exteriors for any dents, scratches or rust. Have a look at the tires and check whether they are all of the same brand and size. If you are not satisfied with the condition of the tires, this could help in price negotiation as you may need new tires. Make sure that the doors, hood and trunk seal well. If the interiors as well as exteriors satisfy you, you can take the car for professional inspection.
- Purchase a vehicle history report to find out if the car has ever been damaged, salvaged or stolen. You will need the VIN (Vehicle Identification number) to conduct the search.
- If you are satisfied with the car, you can start the negotiations based on the car’s value. Find out how much it is worth. You can get a fair idea of the car’s price by visiting a few web sites and car manuals which give data regarding used car prices.
- Make sure that your offer is lower than your pre planned spending limit. Be firm and don’t budge unless you absolutely have to. If you are willing to move up from your first offer, do so in small increments and don’t be afraid to walk away if things are not going your way.
- Request for a detailed receipt, that is, a bill of sale stating whether the car is being sold with a warranty or ‘as is’. Don’t forget the seller’s contact information.
- If you are buying from a dealership and are opting for dealer arranged finance, do compare it with other loan options so that you get the best deal.
- If you are planning to trade-in your car, negotiate a fair price on the car you are planning to buy before addressing the trade-in or finances.
Do your home work thoroughly and feel confident during your negotiations and about your purchase. Following the above mentioned tips will save you from unnecessary stress and strains when buying a used car. Happy buying and happy driving!
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