If you are just starting out shopping for a used car, then the entire experience can feel very intimidating – especially if you have heard a lot of horror stories from other people. You might have some idea of a manufacturer you are interested in or certain models from particular years, or maybe you have no idea about any of that and just want a car to get you to work safely every day. It is easy to start off by typing “used car dealership near me” in a search engine and hope for the best with your results. But is that the best way to do it?
To really make the entire used-car-buying experience easier, however, it is best to figure out some things before you start searching. This means doing some research ahead of time, deciding on some basic features or design elements, and knowing what you can afford. Not only will this help you avoid wasting your time (or money) on something that is completely wrong for you, but it will make everything else go much smoother. By figuring some things out now, you can make sure you find exactly the right used car dealership near you for your needs.
One of the first things you should determine before you start looking at used car dealerships near you is the type of design you want for your car. First of all, choose between a car, truck, SUV, or van by deciding on how large a vehicle will best fit into your lifestyle and determining the number of passengers you need to be able to fit. When it comes to a car, assuming you specifically want a car, consider the basic design: in particular, do you want a four-door sedan or a two-door coupe? Sedans typically have larger back seats, which are easier to get into and out of, while coupes are usually smaller in the back and sportier, with more power.
Once you have a sense of the design of the car that is best for you, then consider different makes or manufacturers and the models they produce. You do not need to decide specifically on one vehicle you want before looking for the best used car dealership near you, but it can help to have a few different ones in mind. If you know you want a car from a specific manufacturer, like a Buick for example, then that knowledge can help you narrow down your possible dealers.
Finally, take a look at some of the features that are common on various cars, and use this information as you search for the best used car dealership near you. For example, look at different safety options that have become popular and widespread over the last few years. Also, consider entertainment features that you might specifically want or certain trim levels on particular models that have everything you need. This can make it easier to search through inventories of dealerships you find online.
Once you have a sense of what you want in a used car, it is a good idea to figure out what your budget realistically looks like. You will find lots of different financing options out there, with different ones available to you based on your credit history and income. Ultimately, however, you want to know how much you should realistically spend every month on a lease or payments on a vehicle. One popular rule to go by is that your total monthly vehicle expenses, including payments and insurance, should not exceed 10% of your monthly gross income (that is income before taxes or any other expenses).
Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for and how much you can spend on a vehicle, start looking at used car dealerships near you. One of the first things to look at any time you find a dealer is the website they have and how easy it is to use. You should be able to easily look at their inventory of used vehicles and see what kinds of financing options they have available. All of these things make your car-buying experience easier since they save you time and can save you money.
Whether you are looking at the website for a used car dealership near you or you have decided to visit them in person, you should always choose a dealer that is welcoming and looks professional. If you arrive at a dealership and find it dirty, poorly lit, or the employees seem miserable and unhappy, then those are all serious red flags that tell you to get out of there. A good dealership is clean, well-lit, has a large inventory, and has employees who are friendly and happy to have you there. Trust your instincts on this one – if a place feels wrong, then it is.
This means that the inventory of the best used car dealership near you is not only large but also easy to look at. Used car inventories typically fluctuate more for dealers than new vehicles, but you should still be able to easily look at most of what they have online. The dealer’s site should provide you with information about their used vehicles, and the larger their inventory, the better your chances are of finding something that is perfect for you. If you visit a dealership in person, then you want to see a large inventory of used vehicles – either there or at a satellite lot – so you know they are serious about providing the best experience possible.
Arguably the most important part of the car-buying experience is financing. Keep this in mind as you consider any used car dealership near you because financing not only impacts the process of buying a car but also your lifestyle for the next few years. Look for dealers with different financing options, especially if your credit is not the best, and use any online tools they provide to get a sense of what kinds of financing they can help you with. Always pay attention to financing and make sure anything you agree to fits within your budget.
That was a lot of information, we know that, and it can seem overwhelming. If you take this entire process one step at a time, however, then you have a good chance of finding the best used car dealership near you. The most important thing is to not get overwhelmed and choose a dealership that is not only happy to have your business but also treats you with honesty and respect.