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How To Buy A Pre-Owned Car In 8 Steps

Step 1: Crunch the numbers

 

If you’re paying with cash, you already have a budget in place. If you’re taking out an auto loan, get your pre-approval before visiting the dealer’s lot.

 

Step 2: Create a target list of makes and models

 

Narrow down your choices to three or four model cars.

 

Step 3: Research

 

Look for listings of your vehicles of choice. When you have some options to consider, obtain their vehicle history reports from Carfax.com.

 

Step 4: Contact the seller

 

Verify the information you’ve learned about each car and see if it’s still in stock. If everything checks out, set up an appointment for a test drive.

 

Step 5: Test drive

 

During the test drive, pay attention to the acceleration, legroom and visibility of the car.

 

Step 6: Have it inspected

 

Take the car to a mechanic for a professional inspection.

 

Step 7: Negotiate

 

Make an opening offer based on what you have determined to be the average price for your car.

 

Step 8: Make it official

 

Read the contract carefully before signing and be sure to get insurance.

 

You’re all set to take your new car for its first spin!

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