How to Find Actual Used-Car Prices
We’re going to help you find the right used-car price. It doesn’t
matter what car you’re looking for; you can find more than one good
deal by following a few basic resources to locate just the right
used car. Values are pretty standard, and the main reason that
prices will fluctuate is because an owner/dealer wants to move a
particular car more quickly than others. As is always the rule, if
the buyer is in a hurry, he will spend more, and if the seller is in
a hurry, he will get less.
The Reputable Guides
The first resource for determining used-car value and reasonable
used-car prices is to consult a “blue book.” There are several
different used-car guides on the market, in paper and online, such
as Kelly’s Blue Book (kbb.com) or the NADA used-car guide (nada.com).
While you’re looking up values in one of these guides, look through
the classifieds to check the used-car prices of models you like.
There are several other used-car guides out there, some of which
charge a fee for their use, claiming their prices to be more
accurate than the others. This is not true; the Kelly Blue Book or
the National Automobile Dealers Association will serve you well in
determining average values. You should never have to pay more than
the recommended used-car value listed in these books.
Another great resource to help you find the best used-car price is
Consumerreports.org. Consumer Reports will give an untainted opinion
of many used cars, helping you, the consumer, buy a good car with
excellent used-car value. No matter how appealing the used-car
price, if the car has a poor track record, you may find yourself
pouring more money into it than you should.
Word of Mouth
Also, ask around to see what owners think of the model that you are
interested in buying. Pull up beside someone who is driving the car
you are looking for; casual conversation may help you make a better
decision. Don’t take the opinion of the first person you talk to,
but if you hear a problem echoed by others, you may do well to avoid
Information is the greatest resource available to help you find the
best used-car values. If you truly want to get the best deal, you
have to get obsessed with obtaining as much information as possible
about your target car before you buy. And this principle applies to
buying or selling. The more you know about a particular car, with
all of its bells and whistles, the better you will be qualified to
buy or sell it.
Putting It All Together
Gather your information about the various models you would like to
have, then sort through them, prioritizing them according to your
preferences. Use every source possible to increase your knowledge.
Read reports, specification data, listen to friends, owners, check
what others are buying and selling that model for, and even consider
renting one to see how you like it.
Don’t forget your common sense, or the common sense of a good
friend. Sometimes the impulse bug bites, and the first car you
looked at is sitting in your garage. That could prove harmful to
your financial health if you later learn you are stuck with a
terrible car, and you can’t afford to get rid of it. Take your time,
do your homework and get the best used-car value possible. See you
at the car lot.
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