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How to Buy Your First Used Car

Making the decision to purchase a car is a difficult one, especially with all of the options available to today's consumer. However, those who decide buying a used car is the right choice have made the first step toward choosing a car that is budget-friendly, safe and reliable. Taking the time to understand the process answers the question of how to buy your first used car.

Six Steps to Success

Break down the process of buying used cars into six easy-to-understand steps.

  1. Choose the right vehicle: Investigate used cars at a variety of used car dealerships. It is a good idea to go prepared with a list of features and models. Work with the dealership to select a car that is offers right price range, mileage range and condition.
  2. Investigate: Take the time to investigate the history of the vehicle. Many dealerships will offer a vehicle history report to provide the important information that plays in the process of buying a used car.
  3. Finance the vehicle: Many dealerships will provide consumers access to financing options in-house. Car buyers should contact banks or credit companies to establish a line of credit to cover the purchase of the vehicle. This step is sometimes the first step taken because some consumers apply for pre-approval and receive documentation from a financial institute about the amount of money available for the purchase of a vehicle.
  4. Negotiate the price: Consumers should remember the power of negotiation. Take the time to understand current market values and examine pricing guidelines online. Use this information to negotiate with the dealership for the best price.
  5. Finalize the deal: Signing the papers, arranging for insurance and getting temporary tags is the next step. This will take place at the dealership. It is at that time the vehicle's ownership is transferred from the dealership to the new owner.
  6. Consider an extended warranty: Often it is possible to purchase an extended warranty for a used car. This warranty will provide the owner with added peace of mind because some repairs and maintenance will be covered under the additional warranty. There is, of course, a price for the warranty, but the added protection is well worth the expense.

Understanding how to buy your first car doesn't stop with these six steps. It is a work in progress and often takes time. However, with the right information, tools and patience, a used car is just around the corner.

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