Buying a used car can save you a lot of money. To save big money, I usually buy cars used especially 2-3 years old. More importantly, I like to buy my car from direct parties particularly from Craigslist since you will be cutting out the middle-man. As we all know, a new car depreciates as soon as you drive off the lot. Here’s a quick guide to how to buy a used car on Craigslist. First, you may want to do your research into what kind of car, model, year you want to get. Make sure to have your finance in order. Cash is king, hence you have the power to negotiate whenever you are paying in full.
Go to craigslist.com and pick the city you are living in. Once you picked your city, pick the cars and trucks section. There is a drop-down box and select “cars & trucks – by owner.” Now search for the make and model of your car. You may want to pick the ones with pictures and a good description. Look at the prices and what they have to offer especially with the mileage, condition, year, etc.
Make a list of sellers and be ready to contact them with questions. You may want to know if they are an original number, if they have a copy of the Carfax, when was the last oil change, if there may be extended warranty, maintenance records, etc. You may want to email them about meeting up and see how flexible they are on prices. If anything, you will want to do a test drive.
After contacting over email or phone, time to do a test drive. You want to see the seller and the vehicle to see if it matches the description in the ad. Make sure to check the car inside and out. See if the windows, doors, lights, mileage, signs of collision damage, etc. If they have a maintenance record, check it thoroughly and ask if any major work has been done on the car.
Now start the car, and make sure there aren’t any funny noises. Listen carefully and get a feel for the car. Take notes of anything out of the ordinary since you will use those points to negotiate the price later. I would not agree on the price at first visit. Tell you want to think it over, and will get back soon with them. The exception would be if this was a complete steal and you must act on this quickly.
Do the above steps for several more cars and think it over your best choice. You may want to negotiate the price now.
Cover your a$$ with the paperwork. You may want a mechanic to check it over. At the very least, order a Carfax report to make sure there isn’t an accident. Be positive that they have the title to the car and there is no loan against the car. Now is the time to make an offer. Always check the Kelly Blue Book and ask below that. Whatever their price, it doesn’t hurt to go lower. Point out the mishaps and tell you will need a few things done to the car. Make sure to tell them you are a serious buyer with cash in hand.
With the agreed sale price, you will want to bring a cashier check. For both of your safety, you may want to meet at the bank along with the title to the car. Again, no title, no deal. Here’s you will verify the cashier check and transfer of the title of the car. You might want to visit the local DMV and find out the requirements for getting a tempory tag, forms, documents in order to have the car transfer legally. Call your auto insurance company to add your car immediately before driving off.