Autotrader has millions of vehicles to choose from. The Car Research and Review section of the site helps car buyers calculate how much they can afford to spend on a car. The site is also full of helpful educational resources to inform users on every aspect of buying and selling a car, including finding the right insurance, tips for getting a car sold and comparison photos. In addition to buying vehicles, you can also sell or trade in your car on the site.
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When the time comes to close the used-car sale, there are a few important items to take care of. Have the seller get a smog test for the car if your state requires one. Check the registration to ensure it is current. Make sure the seller gives you the title (also called a "pink slip"). If the owner still owes money on the vehicle, you may have to contact his or her bank or credit union to complete the transfer of ownership. Some states require the seller and buyer to complete a bill of sale. This document is good to have in case you are pulled over and haven't yet registered the vehicle. To prevent any hassles like that in the first place, go to the Department of Motor Vehicles as soon as possible to register the vehicle in your name and pay any appropriate taxes.
If you are financing the vehicle, it is a good idea to get preapproved for a loan. This way you'll know your purchasing budget and the interest rate for which you qualify. Some lenders won't offer a loan if the vehicle is passed a certain age or if it has too many miles. The limitations will vary by lender. In this case, your next move might be to apply for a personal loan. Just be aware that those interest rates are typically higher than for auto loans.
The next thing to do is get an idea of maintenance costs on any car you're considering. Proper maintenance is especially important on a used car since it may not have a warranty to protect it if anything breaks down. People buy used vehicles as a way to save money but often overlook the cost of maintenance, which might end up pushing them beyond the limits of their budget. The car's owner's manual, which is often available online, will tell you what you need to know about maintenance services and intervals. A phone call to a dealership service department or a trusted independent repair shop will get you pricing information. You also can check resources such as RepairPal.
There are a number of places to purchase a used auto. Here's a quick rundown: CarMax offers no-haggle pricing and cars that are in good condition, but its prices are a bit higher than you'll find elsewhere. Private-party sellers have lower prices and can be negotiated with more easily, but the burden is on the buyer to get the car inspected. Major dealerships sell certified pre-owned cars that are in excellent condition and backed by factory warranties. This option will appeal to buyers who want to minimize the risks of buying used and are willing to pay extra for it. Independent used-car lots are another alternative but can vary wildly on price and the condition level of their cars.
When you've found the exact vehicle you want, take the lowest price quote, then call or email the internet manager and make an offer. Even if you received a reasonable price right off the bat, don't be afraid to make a counteroffer for less. It's part of the process, and dealers understand that. Do make sure you stay in the pricing ballpark. Let the internet manager know you've received offers from other dealers and, if needed, refer to a specific quote if there's any reluctance to bring down the price.