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How To Buy Your First Used Car For Sale in the USA

By Mike Richards Updated: 09/16/2022 Posted: 10/15/2015

Buying a used car in the USA rather than overspending on something brand new might be just the best option for you. Here are some of the ways you can do it.

Things You Need to Consider First

When you are going to buy a used car in the USA, you first need to set your budget. How much do you have available to spend on the vehicle? Do you have enough for a down payment, or are you looking to buy the vehicle outright?

Keep in mind that the budget will need to include the cost of the vehicle as well as the money to re-register the vehicle and get it in your name. If you buy a salvage title from an auction, you will also need to think about the cost of repairs and inspections.

You should have an understanding of the type of vehicle you want so you can more easily narrow down your choices when you are searching. However, you shouldn’t be set in stone regarding the type of vehicle, as you may not be able to find your dream car when you buy a used car. Be open to some other possibilities that you might not have considered.

Buying at a Used Car Dealership

One of the first options you might consider when you are buying your first used car is to do the same thing everyone else is doing: head to a used car dealership. While it might be possible to find a dealership in your area that has good vehicles, there is still a chance that they could be out of your price range.

The dealers want to make as much money as possible when they sell their vehicles, so they are charging a higher amount for them than they are worth. You can haggle with them and try to drive the price down to a tolerable level, but that does not always work – especially if they sense you are desperate for a car.

Also, most dealerships today have their own financing plans. In some cases, you might not quality for these plans either. If you do, it locks you into a loan for the used vehicle. It might not be worth it.

Finally, when you are buying your used car, chances are you want something that you will actually like. By buying at your local dealership, you will be limiting your options. Fortunately, there are some other options for those looking for their first used car in the USA.

Buying from an Owner

Buying from a private seller is another option for potential buyers. When you buy from a private seller, you can often get a decent price for the vehicle, as long as they are motivated to sell. It’s generally easier to haggle with someone that isn’t trying to make a large commission.

As with the dealerships, the selection of vehicles sold by private sellers in your area might not provide you with many options. You might get lucky, though. You might be able to find a vehicle that you like and that’s within your budget.

When you are buying from an owner, you will have to meet and speak in person after contacting them online. You should use some caution when you are doing this. First, never go alone. Also, do not meet the person at their house. Finally, don’t bring a large amount of money with you. While this is generally safe, everyone has heard stories of these transactions going terribly wrong. Always err on the side of caution.

Buying at Auction

Buying at auction is one of the options that many people don’t think about at first, even though it has a lot of potential. When you are buying your first used car, an auction could be just the place to do it.

In-person auctions and online auctions can offer you cars that are very cheap. Even though you will be bidding against others, chances are quite good that you will be able to get a decent deal on a vehicle. Additionally, with online auctions, you will find that you have a large number of choices when it comes to the types of vehicles available.

Of course, many of these vehicles may need to have repairs done before you can drive them. Some may have salvage titles. This means you need to rebuild them and get a new title before you can register and insure them. Since you can save so much money though, it is often well worth going through an auction for buying used cars.

Use Your Common Sense

No matter how you decide to buy your first used car for sale in the USA, you always need to use your common sense. Research the vehicle, get as much information as possible, and make sure that you are not overspending.

Explore our Vehicle Auctions, as well as finding more information about How These Auctions Work.