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New cars are currently in short supply, which has driven up the price of used cars significantly. With car buyers nationwide trying to find good used car deals and dealers pricing them higher than ever, it can be downright daunting trying to find the right deal for you. Here are a few tips to help you on your way to finding an amazing deal on a used car.

Find the price point that best suits your budget

Anne Pochek  inspects the window sticker of a 2010 Honda Accord Sedan at AutoPark Honda
Anne Pochek inspects the window sticker of a 2010 Honda Accord Sedan at AutoPark Honda. | Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg

While there’s no doubt that used car prices have shot up to the stratosphere, that doesn’t mean that you need to get discouraged. First and foremost, Dough Roller suggests that you should find the right price point that suits your budget comfortably.

You might not be able to get that used BMW that you’ve always wanted, but settling on a nice Honda Civic could mean that you won’t have to worry about making hefty payments every month. Keep in mind when buying a used car, you still have to factor the registration, taxes, and other fees, in addition to any potential repairs.

Form a shopping shortlist

Once you have a budget in place, it’s now time to do figure out which car would work best for you. We recommend looking at sites like Car Gurus, Carmax, and Carvana to find a used car that will meet the budget that you set. These sites are handy because you can sort through all of the cars with your custom criteria in order to find one, or a few, that could work.

After doing some exhaustive searching, we recommend writing down which cars you like the most and narrow the list down to two or three to help make up your mind.

Do your research

A BMW at a used car dealership.
A BMW at a used car dealership. | Getty Images

Now that you have honed in a few different cars that you like, it’s time to do a little research. In order to make sure that you find the right vehicle for you and your family, be sure to check out the reviews of each car on your list. We recommend checking out Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or Car and Driver for some solid reviews. Although, we’re sure you can find plenty of information right here on MotorBiscuit as well.

Narrow down your list and search for cars locally

After doing all of your research, it’s time to pick one car that suits you best, if possible. When you figure out which car you want, be sure to check out sites like Autotrader to find a few in your local area that you would like to see in person.

Check to see what others are paying

used cars are for sale at a dealership
Used Cars At Dealership | JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

After finding a couple of different cars in your area that would work, it’s time to do a little more research to arm yourself before visiting the dealer. One really good tip from Dough Roller is to download the TrueCar mobile app to your phone. That way, you can find a TrueCar certified dealer lot and see what other customers have paid at that dealership. You can also use the app to find out pricing on whatever cars you’re looking at by scanning the barcode on them when you’re physically on the lot.

Get pricing from the salesperson

When you make the trip to check out the car that you’re interested in, be sure to have the salesperson give you the pricing with all of the associated fees attached to it. We recommend taking those numbers and running, as the salesperson will likely try and negotiate with you right there and then to see if you’ll buy right away.

Sleep on it, then decide

Potential car shoppers walk around Charles Hurst Usedirect used car dealership on Boucher Road
Car shoppers at a dealership | Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images

Buying a car is a big purchase, so it’s a good idea to sleep on it for the night to make your best decision. At this point, you’ve done all of your research, figured out which car you want, and even compared pricing to make sure that it’s right for your budget. If everything checks out, then we recommend reviewing all of the sales numbers that the salesperson gave you and even applying for financing with a credit union to get the lowest rate possible.

Once you have everything lined up, you’re good to go! Congratulations, you’re well on your way to buying a used car that fits your needs and your budget.


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