There are many cheap used cars on sale at Craigslist, but how do you ensure you do not end up being cheated by a private car seller on the Internet? Although a used car dealership may seem to be safer, it is quite expensive with all the middleman commissions. Besides, you cannot trust the salesman at used car lots to tell you the truth about the problems about the used cars for sale since that is likely to scare off potential customers. Thus, you face the same problems buying cheap used cars online from Craigslist especially if you have been done it before. You may also like to see if you can get a car loan approved as well.
To protect yourself while buying used cars and trucks, you should do the following research and find out more about the history of the vehicle you are interested in.
Firstly, look up KBB and Edmunds for the updated prices of the makes and models available on sale at Craigslist. Do not assume that all used vehicles for sale on Craigslist are priced cheaply. You should use the average price quoted in KBB and account for the actual condition of the car on sale to determine what is a good price to pay for. You wanted to save money, so this is a very important step.
Read reviews on common defects and maintenance issues for the particular car after being used for a few years. These are the danger areas you need to inspect when you are test driving the car for sale.
If you are not paying in cash and need to get a used car loan, make sure you clean up your credit history before approaching the car financing lenders. If you have a choice, it is better not to take bad credit car financing because it will greatly increase your car ownership costs.
You need to get your private party auto loan before you start looking at Craigslist used car listings. This is because there are other car buyers interested and the sellers are not interested in waiting for your financing to be approved.
Buy a 30 days subscription to CarFax history reports. It cost about $40 and you can retrieve accident and repair reports on any used car or truck or motorcycle etc on sale. Using CarFax gives you the peace of mind that you are not buying a refurbished vehicle that has been wrecked in a road accident or suffered from water damage previously.
After you have completed the above preparation, you will have proper information at hand on the cars you wanted to buy and the typical used car price for the particular year or make. List down the car models that meet your usage requirements and budget. Older cars above 10 years or 100,000 miles of mileage will be much cheaper compared to lesser used vehicles. However, the risk of breaking down and requiring expensive repairs or parts replacement will also be correspondingly higher. So choose the range of car years that are acceptable to you. You can find out fair market prices for used cars and trucks at either Edmunds or KBB. Personally, KBB used car prices tend to be more accurate. This will help you decide on the amount of private party auto loan to borrow.
As you can see, shopping for a used car entails a lot of preparation work to find out about the features and differences of cars make and year, aside from prices. That is why inexperienced car buyers often end up with a overpriced deal or a problematic vehicle that should have been long scraped. Do not expect the seller to honestly tell you about all the faults and give you a fair price.
If you feel up to the task, then you can now visit your local Craigslist site and view used car listings under the “For Sale” and “Cars and Trucks” sections. There may be thousands of used cars for sale listed on Craigslist, so filter the results by searching for the targeted car model name and ticking the “only show posts with pictures” and “only search post titles”. Remember to set the geographic targeting to your region.
If there are still too much results to look through, add in your minimum or maximum price to narrow in on the used cars that meet your budget. This usually removes the higher priced newer cars and lower priced older cars from your search.
When looking through the list of used trucks and cars that match what you are looking for, some will be ridiculously cheap or expensive. You have to consider the mileage, latest date of servicing, any upgraded accessories such as car stereos etc. Email the seller and ask for the VIN number so that you can do get a CarFax report on it.
The CarFax car history will reveal any accidents and red flags not disclosed by the seller. There is no need to confront the seller regarding the hidden damage reports, just move on to the next second hand car for sale.
Always arrange for a test drive and bring along a trusted mechanic to inspect the vehicle. This will probably cost about $100 or you can do it yourself. Consider it a cheap insurance to have the used car inspected thoroughly before you buy. Major repairs on older and high mileage vehicles can cost a lot more than $100. If you find any minor problems, these can be used to bargain with the seller to lower their prices – so the car inspection fees are free.
Here are some tips to avoid dishonest used car sellers on Craigslist. Remember that all sellers wanted to get a higher price for their vehicles and will not voluntarily tell you ALL the problems present in their cars. Do not believe the used cars for sale are in perfect working conditions and the seller is simply trying to get rid of it so that they can upgrade to the latest model.
My friends and I have bought several old cars and trucks on Craigslist at great prices. By being careful with our inspection and test driving, we have never encountered any serious vehicle problems after the purchase. Good luck!