Buying Used: How to Avoid Typical Mistakes


If you’re thinking about buying a used car, one question that comes to mind is “How can I avoid common mistakes?” In this blog post, Actknw tells you exactly how.

In today’s economy, people are forced to spend money on their own vehicle rather than spend it on other things. However, these decisions should be made carefully and with a lot of research. Many people make the mistake of purchasing a used car from someone who isn’t reputable or who doesn’t have any real documentation about the vehicle they’re selling. The result is usually an expensive lesson in buyer’s remorse.

Mercedes, Car, Luxury, Modern

Here’s a list of what I believe to be the top 10 mistakes that people make:

1: Not knowing how to research a car before buying it. 

The first and most important step you should take is to check online for reviews of the vehicle you’re interested in. This way, you can see whether there’s any legitimate information about the vehicle on the internet. Look for reviews by people who had purchased the vehicle as opposed to those who were just passing by. I personally look at both AutoTrader and

2: Forgetting to decide what kind of car you actually want .

Before looking at cars online and/or visiting dealerships in person. I suggest spending at least 20 minutes thinking about what kind of car you’re looking for before visiting a dealership. Some people are happy with the way the car looks or they want to check out all options before buying it, but having that decision made beforehand will make the process much easier.

3: Not doing your research prior to visiting a dealership. 

Before you arrive at a dealership, take the time to search online for sales statistics for that dealer. The information you’ll find on Edmunds or AutoTrader should give you enough information to make an educated decision about whether or not that dealership is reputable. Check out their price history, number of cars sold each month, and whether they have any problems with the cars they sell.

4: Not checking the price. 

Before going to a dealership to purchase a vehicle, make sure that you check the Kelly Blue Book value of the cars you’re interested in. This way, you’ll have an idea of whether or not you’re getting a good deal on it. Also, call the dealership and ask them if they can do better on their price than what they have listed on KBB and/or AutoTrader and/or their own website.

5: Forgetting to negotiate once you’ve found something online. 

If you’ve invested the time to collect information about the car, then by all means, negotiate with the dealer. Some dealers sell their vehicles for more than they actually cost them. If you can find something online for less than what they’re asking, don’t be afraid to ask for a better price. If they refuse, shop around some more or walk away.

6: Using fictitious prices on the internet. 

Do not use fictitious prices on the internet to test out your negotiating skills with dealerships. Chances are that there’s no such thing as a good price, so it’s just not worth your time to contact every dealership in town just for one deal.

6: Forgetting to negotiate with the bank. 

If you already have a loan on your vehicle, ask the dealer what percentage of it they’ll be willing to take off their asking price. The dealer is much more willing to negotiate with you if they’re getting a good chunk of money off the sale price. I always take this into consideration when looking for cars online or in person.

7: Not reading the fine print. 

Before finalizing the deal, I always read through everything in detail in order to make sure everything was correct and everything was written in plain English, not some kind of code or secret language written by lawyers. I suggest taking all of your paperwork to a local notary for them to stamp and sign off on everything. This way, you’ll know that everything was done in good faith.

8: Forgetting to see the vehicle in person. 

If you’re able to bring the car to a trusted mechanic for inspection, do it! A visual can tell you a lot about whether or not the car is reliable. Even if you don’t take it in for an inspection, make sure you see the car in person before buying it. I know many people who purchase cars online without looking at them first because they think it’s cheaper, but I’ve found that this isn’t true in most cases.

9: Haggling over the asking price. 

Chances are that every dealership is going to give you a different price. You can’t just go to one dealership and expect them all to give you the same quote. Instead, be prepared to haggle with each and every dealer you visit. Chances are, if they’re giving you such a high price for your vehicle, they don’t actually want the car anyway.


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