If you are looking to buy a used car but feel overwhelmed, don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are so many choices and finding the perfect car can be a big challenge. However, before you give up, take a look over these steps which can help make finding and buying a car a bit easier.

Step 1: Know exactly how much you can afford

Keep in mind that buying a used car will need a little more love than a brand new car. In time the car will most likely need some maintenance. There are other costs such as gas, and insurance that you have to take into account. Also, it is important to know that your car payment should not be more than 20% of your take-home pay.

Step 2: Find the right car for you

I know, this step seems like the overall goal. But, you should not just start going to car dealerships without a car in mind. You should search for cars to view ads for cars that are near your location. If you don’t have an exact car in mind, consider more than one brand that all fall under your budget.

Step 3: Check the vehicle history report

You should ALWAYS get a history report on the car before buying it. It is imperative to know if the car has had any previous damages because it might affect you in the long run. There are car shops that can make a car look really good but sometimes it actually might be too good to be true. If the seller won’t give you the VIN then they are probably trying to hide something from you.

Step 4: Research and Negotiate

Before you start to negotiate make sure you did your research. Invest a lot of time researching what other people have paid, what the car is worth overall, etc. While you are at it, research some negotiating tips so you know exactly what to say.

Step 5: Call the seller

When you find the car you want, make sure you contact the seller to establish a relationship. Don’t just run out to go see the car. Gather and verify some information about the car and ask the private-party seller why they are parting with the car. If you are purchasing the car from a dealership, call them to make sure the car is still available.

Calling is important because the seller might mention something to you about the car that wasn’t in the ad. This might impact your decision on buying the car. If the conversation goes well, set up a date on which you can go see the car.

Step 6: Test-Drive the car

A test-drive is one of the best ways to know if the car is the right one for you. You might of liked the model of the car before driving it, but, a test-drive could possibly change your mind. It is also a great way to assess the car’s current condition. Make sure you are listening to any sounds the car makes that does not sound natural, these could be a bad sign.

Step 7: Get the car inspected

Before you buy the car, consider having a mechanic inspect it. This inspection can give notice to any problems that you may not find yourself. It may cost you to get it inspected, but it is a smart thing to do.

Step 8: Close the deal

At this point you are ready to purchase the car. Since you already looked up some pointers on how to negotiate, you can try your best to get the price you want.  I recommend not to pay cash because if something goes wrong you might have trouble getting your money back. If the lender is currently holding the title, you have to make sure that they have the note paid off and the title transferred to you.

Now you’re ready to go get your car! Happy shopping!