Guide to Buying a Used Car

Buying a car, whether used or brand new, can be an exciting experience. You have finally saved enough money to purchase the vehicle of your choice but the question is, what brand and model do you go for? Now this of course depends on a variety of different factors such as your financial situation, age and even relationship status. You wont get many married fathers choosing a 2 door sports car.
When choosing the car for you, you need to outline what your primary reason is for getting the car, is it for ferrying the kids off to school and their after school activities or is it for you to travel quickly down the highway with the roof down soaking up the admiring glances.
Either way, here is our guide for buying a used car:

Decide on your Budget

The first stage is probably the easiest but helps to define your next steps. Deciding how much you can afford should be an overall figure that not only includes the car itself but also extra incurred costs such as running costs and car insurance.

Research, Research, Research

And then research some more. You cant expect to purchase any type of car without first conducting some research into accompanying factors such as prices, reliability, road performance and even how much the insurance will be. With so many makes and models available, choosing the right one will be a challenging yet rewarding process. Make sure you remember to price check everything, especially comparing car insurance quotes on potential models.
After this process you should be able to know the average market price for a particular model which should help you see good value in the future.

Finding the Right Car

Now you have prepared and have some knowledge you are now free to roam around trying to find your perfect car. If you have previously had a great experience with a particular make then start there. Work your way through the new models which are within your price range and then place cars into YES and MAYBE categories based on performance, seller location, cost and condition.
Sites like carwow can help you during this stage as they highlight expert opinions on car features and even provide user reviews.

The Negotiation Stage

Now we get to the fun part. You are expected to barter during this stage so it is important to not be embarrassed and to act confident when you try to lower the price of the car. It is also important during this stage to ask lots of questions. Key questions which will help you gain more of an insight into the car include:
- How long have they had the car
- Why are they selling it
- Has it ever been in an accident, if so what was the damage?
- What condition is it in and when is the MOT valid until?
- How many miles to the gallon does the car usually get?
Remember to make a note of the registration and check against the databases in the state in which its registered.
Once you are happy with the first meeting, arrange a second visit. On this occasion try to get a knowledgeable car professional or a qualified mechanic (if you have any friends in that field) to go with you. Any reputable sellers should not have a problem with this process and it can help you identify any early signs of wear and tear.

Test Drive the Car

Test driving the car is a chance for you to become acquainted with the vehicle. By following the following guidelines you should be able to understand whether this is the car for you:
- Look under the hood
- Get a feel for the interior of the car
- How comfortable do you feel in the driving seat
- Listen to the sound of the engine
- Test how good the car drives and breaks at fast/slow speeds
- Test how well the car manoeuvers
- Stop and listen to the cars engine after you have finished driving the car

Purchasing Time

Now you have decided that this car is for you your next step is to make sure all the paperwork is in order. Always remember to never accept photocopies and instead get the real versions of the service history, logbook and registration papers.
Lastly, make sure to get a signed receipt of the money transfer with the seller adding their home address details below their signature.

N.B. This was a guest post
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