Once you find the car you want, you'll want to move fast so it isn't sold out from under you. So it's a good idea to get your financing set up before you begin searching for your car. If you're paying cash, there is little to do except make sure you have the funds available to withdraw cash or get a cashier's check when it's time to do the deal. If you're paying all cash for a used car from a private party, consider doing the deal in a public place.
The used-car market is like a huge haystack, and while it may seem tough to find that needle, a bit of online research cuts the legwork and speeds up the process considerably. The good news is that you're already on the right page to start. From here, you can either input the car you want or scroll to the "Select a Make" section and click on an automaker you're interested in. You'll then get a list of cars to choose from. And on the left side of the inventory page, you'll find several ways to filter the choices.
Once the internet manager or salesperson arrives at your home (if that's where you're taking delivery), review the contract. You don't have to read the whole thing, but do pay attention to such important details as the APR, total sale price, length of the contract, down payment, documentation fee and registration fees. Make sure your personal information is correct.
Read Edmunds reviews and best vehicle lists, such as those for best midsize sport-utility vehicles, best sport sedans and best pickups. Then narrow your choices, settling on the vehicle that fits you best, whether that's a minivan or a subcompact. Shopping online is the fastest way to get a great deal, so these steps assume that's what you are doing.