The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Cwadda on August 05, 2014, 08:24:58 AM

Title: Guide for Buying Used Cars - Please share your thoughts!
Post by: Cwadda on August 05, 2014, 08:24:58 AM

Hi Mustachians,

One of the many facets of Mustachianism is driving an affordable car that fits your needs and not feeling the need or want to have a brand-new, Fancymobile expensive car (especially on credit!).

While we won't usually have too much trouble picking the type of car we want (Mr. Money Mustache even made a top cars list (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/19/top-10-cars-for-smart-people/)), buying that car can be a daunting experience for those who aren't mechanically inclined. I do see several threads every week asking how to go about getting a used car, often expressed with worries about buying a lemon.


I was thinking we could pool together our knowledge together to make a general guide for buying used cars for common folks who aren't car savvy (myself included!). Basically, all the nitty gritty about buying a used car. Hopefully the guide could clear up a lot of questions commonly asked.


Here are some things to include:
-Finding a car
-The pros and cons of buying from a dealer or private party
-Finding an honest mechanic
-Conducting a general inspection of a car on your own
-What kind of questions you should be asking the seller


Would this be worthwhile? Please share your thoughts on this.

Title: Re: Guide for Buying Used Cars - Please share your thoughts!
Post by: pagoconcheques on August 05, 2014, 08:43:30 AM
The best overall guide I've seen is Steven Lang's series of articles on thetruthaboutcars.com. 

How to Buy a Used Car
Part 1: First Contact  http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/3rd-edition-how-to-buy-a-used-car-first-contact/
Part 2: The Test Drive  http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/how-to-buy-a-used-car-part-two-the-test-drive-2/
Part 3: Due Diligence  http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/how-to-buy-a-used-car-pt-3-due-diligence-the-inspection/
Part 4: Negotiating  http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/how-to-buy-a-used-car-part-4-negotiating-3/

Title: Re: Guide for Buying Used Cars - Please share your thoughts!
Post by: CestMoi on August 05, 2014, 10:16:50 AM
Good idea. I may be looking at buying a used car at some point, and it'd be great to have a resource like this.

I found it interesting to learn there are mobile inspection companies one may hire to do pre-purchase inspections of used cars. I haven't used any of these services yet, so I can't personally recommend them, but it's worth listing some here.

http://www.lemonsquad.com/
http://cc.ebay.com/vehicle-buyer-services/inspections/
Title: Re: Guide for Buying Used Cars - Please share your thoughts!
Post by: CDP45 on August 31, 2014, 11:03:59 AM
I wish there was a guide on how to SELL your used car the most efficient way private party because that's like the #1 advice given to those who ask for finance help here I think...

I'm selling a Honda CRV for $16k and as most of us know most people are totally incapable of coming up with $16k cash. It's such a different experience than the dealer (just bought a used car from one, not many people are selling their 2011 Accords with only 25k miles...except if they are lease returns which then the dealers have a ton sitting on the lot).

Most people can need 2 cars to drive to work, can barely afford them, and I can't (won't) buy their "trade in" so I think that disqualifies a lot of private party buyers. Also I can't (won't) finance them, and dealers are able to finance anyone the law allows ;)  so I think a lot of credit unions/banks don't issue high-risk loans where dealers have shady 40% interest loan-sharks.

Any hoo, most people buy their cars on the weekend because they need it for monday, but most banks are only open a few hours sat and not on sunday, and they usually close 5pm weekdays, how helpful for their customers...

Lessons I've learned so far:
- Easier to sell cars that are lower priced.
- Going to take longer to sell the higher the price
- Much less buyer ability at high price
- Good and convenient to meet in grocery parking lots
- Clean the hell out of the car, youtube car detailing
- Make sure there aren't any service lights showing
- Look/act like a decent person who didn't abuse their car.
Title: Re: Guide for Buying Used Cars - Please share your thoughts!
Post by: Paul der Krake on August 31, 2014, 11:16:25 AM
I agree with everything CDP45 said right above. Which you can turn to your advantage if you're looking for a lightly used car, since by now the seller is sick of having Joe Redneck ask whether he would consider a jetski trade for his 2011 Accord...

Making an offer cash in hand is a great way for a seller to accept a price several hundreds/thousands less if that means he doesn't have to deal with going to some bozo's bank 3 times in the next week.
Title: Re: Guide for Buying Used Cars - Please share your thoughts!
Post by: CDP45 on September 01, 2014, 10:12:54 AM
Anyone else have good advice for selling $10k+ cars on Craigslist? How are all these people selling their expensive cars? I hope not trading them in...

I went to Carmax last night for a appraisal (excellent condition) and after 20 mins was offered $11k...He asked what I was expecting, I said more like $15k and I pointed out they had a CRV with same model year and miles for $19,000. That's quite the profit margin!
Title: Re: Guide for Buying Used Cars - Please share your thoughts!
Post by: Nords on September 01, 2014, 11:02:19 AM
Anyone else have good advice for selling $10k+ cars on Craigslist? How are all these people selling their expensive cars? I hope not trading them in...
I went to Carmax last night for a appraisal (excellent condition) and after 20 mins was offered $11k...He asked what I was expecting, I said more like $15k and I pointed out they had a CRV with same model year and miles for $19,000. That's quite the profit margin!
Certified checks. 

Are you selling it below the KBB/Edmunds assessed value for your ZIP code?  Or are you just getting the usual crowd of wannabe-buyers while you're waiting for the one serious buyer to show up?

While I agree that a guide to selling a used car would be a big help to used-car sellers, I'm conflicted.  I've found a lot of bargains from Craigslist sellers who can't spell or bother with taking pictures.  Educated sellers are not in a buyer's best interests...