The ABC’s of Buying a Used Car

Used car shopping? It’s as simple as ABC with a good plan and the right tools!

Let’s break used car shopping into three parts; finding the right automobile for your needs, researching it, and making the deal!

First, narrow the field with these three questions:

How am I planning to use this automobile?

a. Daily transportation to and from work
b. Hauling the family to sports events, school, trips
c. Work vehicle with room for tools
d. Adventure vehicle for off road
e. Heavy duty vehicle for towing a boat or toy trailer
f. Sports car with just enough room for two

 

How long do you plan to keep it?

Think about the long term… Is this an impulse buy or can I really keep this vehicle. The best scenario would be to purchase used after depreciation and drive it until the wheels fall off.

 

Am I financing or paying cash?

If you’re taking out a loan, get a quote from your bank or credit union so you can compare those numbers with what the dealer may offer in terms of financing. Remember, longer-term loans may lower your monthly payment, but you’ll end up paying more for your vehicle in the long run. Cash means zero percent financing!

 

A: THE CAR

As a rule, it’s best to set a budget first, seriously, set it and don’t forget it. This will help you decide where the funds will come from and how to pay them back. Decide what you need and want, yes they’re both part of the equation, you’ll be making those payments so you should be happy with your purchase. Remember, affording a car is more than making the monthly payment. You may be able to pay for a BMW and a Toyota Corolla but can you afford to repair the BMW? Search online; Car Gurus, CarMax, local dealers, Carvana, and Facebook Marketplace.
By now you should have a pretty good idea of what’s in your price range, time to start digging…

 

B: RESEARCH

How is the car’s safety and reliability record? Check Consumer Reports and J.D. Power collect maintenance reports from owners and rate your choice as well as other used cars. Safety first and reliability is key!
You can use a guide like Kelly Blue Book to estimate the market value of the car you’re looking at based on age, mileage and options. It’s not perfect, but it should get you in the ballpark.
Now that you’ve found a car…. What’s next?

Once you find a car you like, contact the seller to ask any questions you have and get a Vehicle History Report from CARFAX by referencing the vehicle’s identification number (VIN). This will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly on the car. A reliable dealership should provide a CARFAX report on every car in their inventory. This report is vital, it will provide you with information that cannot always be seen. Below are just some of the details you’ll get from a History Report.

a. Does this car have a clean title? If a car’s been in a serious accident, fire or flood, and was “totaled” by the insurance company (declared a total loss) it still might be drivable. However, the insurance company will issue a “salvage title” to alert future buyers. It’s best to steer clear of cars with a salvage title because it kills the resale value, and the car might still have hidden problems. NOTE, this is not always the case, especially if you plan to keep the car indefinitely and know that the damage was repaired completely.

b. Serious accidents are reported to the insurance company and will probably be on the vehicle history report.
Shady car lots might spin the odometer back to increase its selling price. The vehicle history report can alert you to this scam.

c. It’s nice to think the car you’re interested in was driven to church by a little old lady for its entire life. If you order the report, you’ll know for sure each time it changed hands.

d. Some reports show if required maintenance was done on time and where the work was performed.

A pre-purchase inspection of the car you’ve chosen can be done before making any deals. A pre-purchase inspection is an independent, third-party professional service that evaluates a vehicle’s condition before a purchase offer is made. … Unless the vehicle is unsafe to drive, the evaluator does not provide a purchase recommendation. It will include a detailed road test where components such as steering and brakes can be assessed. A thorough inspection will include checking engine compression and a computer engine analysis. A basic PPI will cost $20.00 from Firestone and the buyer typically pays for the pre-purchase inspection. This is your opportunity to test drive the vehicle to see what YOU think.

 

C: Make the Deal

Let’s make a deal! A good deal is paying less than the listed price, prepare to negotiate with the comparisons from your online research and your Kelly Blue Book numbers. Considering the seller has probably listed their car a little high, you should have some room to bargain. Start by pointing out the things you love about the car then move to your concerns and what the blue book says the car is actually worth. Play nice, be firm and you’ll do just fine.

Before taking ownership of the car, you should add it to your insurance policy. Then, you only need to pay for the car — usually with cash or a cashier’s check. Make sure you get a title and have the seller sign it correctly. When in doubt, check the state’s registry website for more information. Most states allow about 10 days to register the car in your name. If you’re buying from a private party, and there is still a loan on the car, call the lender to find out how to close the deal. If the lender is a bank, offer to meet the seller in a branch office and sign papers there.
If you’re at a dealer, It doesn’t hurt to see if they can get a better interest rate. Just make sure all the other terms of the loan are the same. Review the sales contract carefully before signing. The contract will probably include the agreed-on sales price, sales tax, documentation fee, and registration fee. Take your keys and hit the road!

Have questions? Call or text Mike Love (757) 560-4250. I have answers!
Follow TM Auto Wholesalers on Facebook to see our latest inventory.

 

 

 

Sources:
Reed, Philip “How to buy a used car” NERDWALLET.COM 3/21/2016. Web. Retrieved from

How to Buy a Used Car

Youngs, Jeff “Understanding Pre-purchase inspection (PPI) JDPOWER.COM Shopping Guides 4/19/2019 Retrieved from:
https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/understanding-pre-purchase-inspection-ppi

“Planning to buy a car, take these five steps” ONEMAINFINANCIAL.COM Resorces-everyday living. Web. Retrieved from:
https://www.onemainfinancial.com/resources/everyday-living/planning-to-buy-a-car-take-these-five-steps-first

Berger, Rob “6 Reasons to Pay Cash for a Car (and how to actually do it) Personal finance. DOUGHROLLER.NET 9/26/2018. Web. Retrieved from:
www.doughroller.net/personal-finance/6-reasons-to-pay-cash-for-a-car/

Turning Over A New Leaf

Start the New Year off right with confidence and a plan! Isn’t that what we say every year? Well this year I have a couple suggestions that may help you achieve these resolutions plus, peace of mind. Financial woes and poor credit scores are two of the most common causes of stress this time of year. Whether it’s challenging credit, no credit, or the need for more credit, finances affect our lives year after year. Tm Auto can help you establish or rebuild your credit this January and avoid “Tax Season” price gouging at the same time. By making stable, monthly payments on a large purchase such as a used car, truck, or SUV, you prove to creditors that you are a trustworthy spender. Every payment you make on time and in full raises your credit score; great news for just about anyone wishing to improve these crucial three numbers. Restoring your credit by purchasing a reliable automobile that would otherwise be out of reach just might be the plan you’re looking for! We offer “Absolute Credit Approval” regardless of your credit score so you can get started on that resolution right away!

You can also save on your used car between December and mid January! Due to suppliers capitalizing on profits as tax season approaches, car prices will go up at many dealerships after the first of the year. I’m able to offer some of my best deals up to January 15th. No gouging; just the most car for your money and a stress free car-buying experience.

            Establishing good credit starts by making regular, on-time payments but there is more to “turning over a new leaf” than this. Below are some suggestions that you may find helpful in the New Year.

  1.     Budget for a Credit Card – You’re checking account is in good standing and you regularly use your debit card, but have stayed away from credit out of a fear of going over your limit. There is no need to fear credit. If you budget correctly, a credit card becomes an easy way to boost your credit rating. It’s not much at first, but if the maximum payment is made every month, your credit rating will go up accordingly.
  2.     Always Pay on Time – Paying off the maximum balance on a credit card is great, but it means nothing if payments aren’t made on time. Payment history is the most important tool in establishing your credit score, and helps you establish yourself as a trustworthy buyer!
  3.     Keep a Low balance – Credit limits vary from card to card, and it can be tempting to use close to your monthly limit. As a rule of thumb however, you should only utilize 10-30% of your credit at any one time. It’s okay to go over this occasionally, but consistently going over this self-imposed limit can indicate financial irresponsibility.

TM Auto Wholesalers specializes in “The stress free car buying experience”. A purchase from our inventory can help you establish or repair your credit while saving you cash for holiday expenses! Feel free to contact me online at mike@tmautova.com, or by phone or text at 757-560-4252. Ask for Mike and start the New Year off right!

The Big Gift

THE BIG GIFT!

Is this the year? You know… for your teen’s BIG GIFT! That long awaited iconic symbol of freedom, sovereignty, and coolness. The singular most important possession that let’s everyone, everywhere know with absolute certainty, “I’m officially grown up.” This gift of all gifts represents the next chapter in your child’s life as well as your trust in them. It is the time-honored ticket to ride, their first car!

Like all astute parents and shoppers, you have questions… lots of questions. At the top of the list may be whether to buy new, used, or to pass down the family car. Well, rest assured that new, used, big or small, it’s going to be a hit. Your decision ultimately comes down to what makes the most sense.

The obvious choice is simply to pass down the family car. It’s often paid for and thoroughly road tested. When it comes to repairs and safety, nothing provides more peace of mind than knowing your car’s service record. It’s also likely to generate lower insurance premiums. There are plenty of good reasons to pass down the family car however; there are some “Not so good reasons” too. It’s a good idea to consider modern safety features such as side-curtain airbags, blind-spot indicators, backup cameras, and forward- and rear- collision alerts which are all good for new drivers. Passing down the family car makes sense as long as it’s safe and reliable.

New cars are also a strong consideration. The most up-to-date safety features and technology often come standard. Those with a good reliability record will need few or no repairs for at least the first three years of ownership. This means peace of mind, less headaches, and little or no maintenance costs. A new car is an easy sell as long as cost is not high on your list of concerns.  

Used cars are also a great choice. Affordable (not cheap) used automobiles are often the best way to go for teens and parents shopping for a starter vehicle. Buying the newest used car possible will likely get you the most up-to-date safety features available for your money. This is very important for novice drivers. By adding a few dollars for a good reliability record, you’ll have less repair costs and greater peace of mind. Check the CARFAX before buying to see it’s history. Small sedans and hatchbacks from mainstream brands, or even better, midsized sedans are great choices for fuel economy and lower insurance premiums.

This opportunity comes but once in a lifetime folks. Buy smart, enjoy the moment, and have a wonderful holiday! Find more articles on ASK MIKE’S blog here at www.tmautova.com and please share! Feel free to call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and assist you with purchasing your next car, truck, or SUV.