Once unimaginable, buying stuff online has now become a way of life. We now buy groceries, food, tickets, and even cars online. Almost 30% of U.S. new car sales last year were completed online. This goes to show just how far we’ve come.
But when buying things online, it’s important to be very careful. Buying a car online comes with several challenges. You may not get decent photos of the vehicle and it may take several weeks to get it. Here’s how to navigate the online car-buying process and get a great deal.
Carry Out Thorough Research
As the saying goes, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.” When you know how the online car-buying process works, you won’t make any foolish mistakes. First, have a good idea of the car you’re looking for. Set a budget and research the models that fit the budget. Also, identify your needs. A family car is very different from a commuter car.
A recent survey revealed that 80% of car buyers start their car search online. Even people who buy cars at dealerships search for cars online. List down the models you’re interested in and check their safety ratings, fuel efficiency, and reliability. Also, check the features that are important to you, like a smart driving companion. Visit sites like Edmunds and Carfax to get detailed information about cars.
Once you settle on a car, visit different websites to compare features and prices. The top websites for buying cars online include Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader, and CarGurus. Individual car dealerships also have websites that feature their inventory, so visit those in your locality to see what they have in stock. Use keywords like “autos for sale near me” and “used autos for sale near me” to find cars you can buy.
Take time shopping around and compare prices. You’ll find the best deal and may even get a great discount. Most dealers sell under invoice at the end of a model year or if a new model is being released soon.
Check the Vehicle History Report
This report is important for many reasons. First, it shows you if the car has a salvage title. A salvage title is given by an insurance company when a car is totaled in an accident. A salvage title vehicle may have major problems that could cost you a lot of cash in repairs, so steer clear of it.
The vehicle history report also provides information on the maintenance history, the car’s past ownership, and accidents. You can download vehicle history reports from AutoCheck and Carfax for a fee.
Go See the Car In Person
Don’t take the seller’s word for it, go and inspect the car personally to make sure you’re not duped. Check if it’s damaged in any way and the wear and tear. If you can’t go see the car in person, request for detailed pictures or hire a mechanic to inspect the car on your behalf. Once you’re satisfied, negotiate the price to ensure you get the best deal and read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.