6. Look in unusual places, such as auctions
Few people simply head down to their local car dealer to see what’s there these days – so much the better, because there's a wealth of places to look for a car online.
You should start, of course, with the What Car? Classifieds – but don’t forget to try your local Facebook groups and online auction sites too. But the best deals are to be had at car auctions.
Car auctions are where many vehicles that have come from lease and company car fleets are sold on to dealers to go out into the wider market. But private buyers can take part too – and because you effectively cut out the middleman by buying at an auction, you cut out their profit on the deal, meaning you can make some great savings.
However, buying at auction is a very different process from buying a car normally. You’ll need to register with the auctioneer as a buyer and, if you do want to buy a car, you won’t get to test drive it first. You only get to hear it run and inspect it as it’s driven into the auction hall. And once you’ve left the premises, the purchase is final, meaning you need to be clear on what you’re looking for.
If that doesn’t put you off, visit a few auctions first to make sure you understand how it works. Do your homework to make sure you’re happy with what buying at auction entails. Get it right, though, and you’ll make a significant saving on your next used car.
7. Haggle, haggle, haggle
Haggling is crucial to getting a good deal on a used car. If that sounds obvious to you, you’re in the minority; more than half of all car owners say they didn’t haggle on their last purchase. But most cars are priced up with a margin in mind for negotiation. So if you don’t negotiate, you’re paying over the odds.
Haggling doesn’t have to be awkward or embarrassing. Just remember at all times that the power to purchase is in your hands – no matter how much the salesman might try to make you think otherwise. Do your research before you buy; know what you think is a fair price, go in with a maximum figure in mind and don’t exceed it. And never forget that there’s no harm in walking away; there’s nothing a car dealer hates more than the sight of the back of a customer and, if you still want the car, you can always pick up the phone later.
If you’re still not convinced, ask yourself this: what have you got to lose? After all, if you’re unsuccessful, you won’t pay any more than you’d pay without trying. Get it right, though, and you’ll end up with a great used car at a bargain price.
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