No matter what you’re planning to buy the key to shopping for the best deal is to do your research first, especially for cars. With the amount of cash you’re going to shell out you have to be sure you get what you want without regrets. Buying new cars can be a little easier, but both new and used vehicles have their difficulties.
The first thing that you should do is get an idea of what kind of vehicle you want and be realistic. I know you want the Hummer but is it within your means? Is there only you to please or do you have a family that this car purchase will impact? You will definitely be happier with a little less car and money left to do things with; bottoming out the wallet is not worth the big ticket vehicle. You can get a decent car that’s affordable and practical.
Once you get through that reality try to narrow it down to a couple of different models to make your research easier and more focused. Once you have done this you can start by keeping an eye on your local classifieds and see what kind of prices the models you picked are going for.
Quite often you can find great deals in your local classifieds and depending on the seller’s situation you may be able to get a quality vehicle at a price well below retail. More often than not people get a big surprise when they try to trade their car and want to get more than the dealer will give them. These people will usually try to sell privately to get a price a little closer to what they had in mind, which in many cases is still a bargain.
There are also some great sites that help you understand the real book value of a used car. I really like Edmunds.com not only do they have used car values, but they really do a great job reviewing cars. You can also do some checking online at other great sites like Kelley Blue Book at www.kbb.com and NADA.com.
One of my favorite methods is to use eBay. With eBay not only can you open a free account but then you can go to eBay Motors and pick out vehicles of your choice that are being auctioned and put them in a watch list. I have done this many times not only to buy a vehicle, but also to get a good idea what I should get if I sell mine. Online Auctions like this can be a great way to find good deals. You get to check out the vehicles, which usually have pictures and shop right from the comfort of your own home. Try to find auctions with no reserve, these types of auctions don’t have a minimum price before they will sell and you may well be able to buy a vehicle at a great discount.
I know several people that once they realized how easy and cheap it is to buy cars on eBay, they made a very profitable career out of buying and selling cars. Public Car Auctions are held in many areas and you don’t have to be a dealer to attend. Many times these auctions have cars that have been repossessed from local banks, credit unions and Government seized car auctions and they have no desire to keep them.
It’s not uncommon to find very expensive cars in great shape that go for ridiculous prices if you spend a little time shopping. You’ll find that some people will go nuts on new cars and expensive houses but once their fortunes change and they can’t keep up the payments, they’re property is seized and auctioned off. Many of these auctions have no reserve and can start at 95% off retail prices. Two really good online Government auction sites are SeizeCars.com and ICarFinder.com.
Another key recommendation I have is to make use of a great system known as CarFax.com. The information they offer is crucial in that they have information on all major repairs done on vehicles through information compiled from insurance claims and repair facilities. Once you see a car you like you can run it through CarFax.com and find out if you’re getting a lemon or a gem.
You can also check with local rental car companies that may be reducing last year’s fleet. Be careful with this as there seems to be a 50% chance to get that car that others have been kicking around without care. No having said that, the other half of the time you can get a good deal on a fairly new car with low mileage.
Some might suggest going to check out some dealer auctions, but it has been my experience that in many cases the vehicles end up going higher than they should. Dealers will pay the higher price because they know they can mark it up and hard sell someone to buy it.