Many people like the idea of buying a used car. More and more are warming up to the idea of buying that used car online. The Internet makes it easy to comparison shop and find the perfect car that has all the features you are looking for. It’s highly likely that you’ll even walk away with a great deal when you buy online.
Used car classified advertising on the Internet have are becoming extremely popular. On eBay, the car trading section is the largest growing trading area. People are buying used cars by the thousands.
A recent study by J.D. Power and Associates suggests that consumers are getting more comfortable buying used cars online and even recommending the process to their friends and family.
Before you log on and make a deal on your next car there are some things you should know in order to avoid potential problems.
Know What You Want
The first steps in buying a car online, just like in the real world, are to determine what it is you are looking for. It helps you narrow down your search and focus on finding the right car.
The Internet makes it easy. Manufacturers have information about their cars online. You can also find reviews, recommendations, and inside information from people who know the make and model you’re looking for. If the Internet is good for one thing, it’s finding someone with an opinion about something.
Once you compile a list of the features you want, you can begin your search. Sites like eBay feature car auctions, which is an exciting way to buy a used car, but you can also find dealers who list their inventory online for an easy, outright sale. Private owners list their cars through classified and car trader sites, as well. You can probably come up with hundreds of possibilities when you plug some of the things you’re looking for into Google.
Before you start shopping around, it’s a good idea to get a hint of how much you’ll spend on the car of your dreams. There are quite a few really good car valuation web sites online. These sites will give you an idea of how much the car you are looking for is worth. It can be a terrific price negotiation tool.
In the past you used to be able to get this information from the Kelly Blue Book. The Kelly Blue Book is now online, but there are other sites that will help you value the car based on local market factors. You might expect to pay more for a certain type of car in certain parts of the country, for example. This might come into play when dealing buying a car online.
Order a Vehicle History Report
When you find a car that meets your needs, you’ll want to do some research. Of course, it helps to talk to the owner or dealer. Most recognize that buying online is not like buying a car from a car lot. Dealers who are serious about selling cars online will work with you to make sure you’re happy with your purchase.
When you talk to people – whether on the phone or through email – make sure to get all your questions answered. If the seller tells you about possible defects with the car, ask for photos that show what he’s talking about. Most owners will be happy to help you out if it means making the sale.
Another thing you’ll want to do is get a copy of the vehicle history report for the car. Auto dealers have the ability to provide this to prospective buyers and many will do it for free. If you go through a private seller, you can request a copy of the history report through companies like CarFax.
To request a vehicle history report, simply provide the vehicle identification number, or VIN. The report will provide you with information about accidents the car has been involved in, odometer readings, and even whether the car was salvaged. The report can provide a wealth of information for the prospective buyer.
Let the Buyer Beware
Buying a car online is not a lot different than buying a car offline. You still need to do some homework. Know what you are looking for. Read the reviews and look for reliable information. Deal with reputable companies.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price and terms. Unless you’re dealing with an auction site where the price is determined by competitive bidding, all the same offline rules apply.
With over one million used cars bought and sold online each year, finding your dream car on the Internet is a very real possibility.