When you are ready to buy your next used car, where do you even start? After you’ve considered your budget and mostly settled on a few options that best suit your needs, it’s time to find that dang car.
Sure, you can go to a dealership and hope to get lucky, but there are better ways to help you find the car you’re looking for.
I have been teaching my class on how to buy a used car for about three years. One of the concepts I cover is where to shop for cars. With so many folks in the dark about the used car buying process, understanding where to look is fundamental.
The fewer options you think you have, the more you’re likely to spend on a car because you think you won’t be able to find another one. Or you’re just exhausted by the whole process. That’s why I teach my class; to help you feel confident and in control of the process.Here are my top five places to look for your next used car:
My favorite way to buy almost anything secondhand these days is on Facebook Marketplace. The way the marketplace is set up, it allows you to search for a specific car or brand and a specific search distance. It also gives you the option to set alerts to inform you when a new car that fits your search parameters gets posted.
Marketplace has cars sold by individuals as well as dealerships and car lots so you have a great cross section available to you. I like that you can easily talk to sellers directly in Messenger so you don’t miss anything. Your new cars pop up directly in your Facebook notifications, too.
Edmunds is one of the more comprehensive sites out there. With information ranging from vehicle reviews to new and used car sales, it’s one of my top five sites for searching for a used car. Many, if not most, of your local dealerships will be listing their available cars on Edmunds.
I don’t know about you, but I hate looking on hundreds of different sites for that one car you like. By using Edmunds, you can look at all those places via one convenient website.
Some of us might think that Craigslist is somehow old school. However, many people have now gotten comfortable with using the site. If you are looking to buy a car from a private seller, Craigslist is a place you should check out.
With a multitude of listings, it could be the place you find the best deal on an older car in great condition. Just like everywhere else online, keep your eyes open and if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Kelly Blue Book
You probably have heard of Kelly Blue Book before. They are mainly known for helping car owners and buyers understand how much a car is really worth. With its valuation services, Kelly Blue Book has allowed regular people to avoid significantly overspending on car purchases.
Kelly Blue Book is also a great resource when shopping for a car. Like Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book serves as a listing platform for local dealerships and car lots. While some of them might be duplicates, you’ll definitely find differences in the listings of the two platforms.
Okay, yes, I know. You must be thinking, “Chaya, come on!” But really, newspapers are still a great source of listings for older well maintained cars. If you don’t have a huge budget, it’s the perfect place to look. Older folks who don’t use the internet much still list their vehicles in the newspaper.
You can find extremely good quality workhorse, garaged vehicles that are likely not listed ANYWHERE else. Don’t just check the major newspaper in your city. Check the small cities and villages within 25 – 50 miles of your home (or however far you are willing to drive.)
Are you thinking about upgrading or buying a new-to-used car? These five places should help your search for a used car go much smoother. I know the process can feel confusing and overwhelming.
What if you could be armed with the knowledge about which car is best for your budget? What if you knew what to listen for when you are test driving?
I have a class for that! Featured in publications ranging from Shondaland to the Chicago Tribune, this class has helped over 500 students prepare to buy a car. Check out some actual reviews of the class from former students.
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