Your initial step should always be to reflect on what you'll want on your checklist. Make a list of all things you want from a vehicle, as well as all things it needs to do. A soccer mom may need extra seating for carpooling and great deals of room for sports equipment, while a bachelor or bachelorette might enjoy a smaller sportscar for zipping around town and easily parking in tight spaces.

Second, consider money; what is your price variety? A typical rule-of-thumb is to set your highest budgeted amount at 20 % of your take-home pay. For example, someone making $50,000 should designate $10,000 as their maximum purchase price. When making this decision, you should consider the cost of owning the car, paying for gas, and your other associated bills. You may adjust your budget accordingly.

Now that you have considered your needs and the potential costs, try searching online to read more about the options available at used car dealers. Most larger dealerships have websites with their inventory and search tools designed to aid you look for your desired features and prices. Get a feel for what's out there and get in touch with the dealer before going to the lot to confirm the details.


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Consumers have the tendency to watch out for car dealers. The common consensus is that salesmen set out to deplete pocketbooks and offer disadvantageous prices to their customers. This assumption is far from the truth, however. Dealers expect and welcome their customers' negotiation, and they look forward to striking deals that allow both sides to prosper. The negotiation ball is in the consumer's court. It's up to the consumer to know the best ways to negotiate to find the very best outcome possible. The following are three important tactics to keep in mind when sealing the deal over a vehicle.

The first lesson you learned in kindergarten was to use your manners. This rule applies to buying cars as well. Stick to that priceless lesson when making your purchase, and you will develop a good rapport with each seller you encounter. Being courteous counts for a lot, even if you and your car dealer don't see eye to eye. Even the most ruthless salesman is more likely to relent on his asking price if your behavior is down-to-earth and you treat him with respectful consideration. When you have to disagree, do so diplomatically. You can be a firm negotiator without pulling out the punches.

When you drive over to the showroom, be prepared and know what you need. It is risky to buy a vehicle when you know nothing about them generally. Make it your business to familiarize yourself with at least the most basic terminology, and learn what constitutes "bad mileage" and a "sound transmission," for example. If you have no idea the difference between horsepower and mileage, it's your own fault if you get duped. When you use proper car lingo in your negotiations with a dealer, he gets the message that you are an informed consumer. You are then on an equal playing field. Also, it is much easier to justify your offer when you can back it up with rational arguments about features or a lack thereof.