Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Getting the Most from Your Used Car Purchase

By Gregory Chapman

Being informed as a used car buyer is the best way to maximize the benefits you receive from your purchase। Like every car buyer, you want a reliable vehicle that meets the demands of your lifestyle, and probably one that looks good doing it. But being a savvy car buyer can give you advantages that far outweigh transportation and status; you just have to do your homework and use the right kind of financing to improve your credit.

Know what to expect। Trading in your current car is a convenient way to reduce the amount you will owe on your used car purchase and to lower your cash down payment amount. Before you step foot on the used car lot, research the approximate value of your trade-in with a reputable company, such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book. The trade-in value will be lower than what you would expect by selling the car outright, so make sure to look up the appropriate value. When determining the trade-in value, be realistic about the condition of your vehicle. Are there stains on the seats? Are latches or windows broken? Just because you love the car does not mean it fits the bill for an “excellent” rating.

It helps to be aware of steps you can take to maximize the trade-in value you are offered by the dealer। Ideally, you have already been keeping records of the car’s maintenance history, along with the dates and mileage of each service performed. Providing accurate records shows the appraiser that you have been diligent in maintaining the car, and will positively impact its trade-in value.

Know your lender। Many used car dealerships offer financing to make your purchase more affordable. Even with “bad” credit, you can still get financed by working directly with a dealer who offers true in house financing. It is important to know who is actually financing your car, and to ensure that you are not in fact damaging your credit further by making the purchase. Multiple inquiries on your credit drive your score down. Ask the dealer if the financing is actually in-house, or if it is outsourced to a bank or other lender.

The best decision you can make is to use this opportunity to rebuild your credit at the same time। Predetermine the monthly payment you can afford on your budget, and do not overspend no matter what. All you have to do to raise your credit score is make all of your payments on time, and be sure to only purchase from a dealer who reports to the credit bureau. By following this advice, you are on the road to better credit, in a better set of wheels.

About the Author: Greg Chapman, of Greg Chapman Motors, is a leading provider of used cars, trucks, and SUVs. Chapman motors has offered reliable used cars for sale in Austin and the surrounding area since 1959. For more information please visit
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