Mistakes to avoid when buying a car online as a graduate

Online car shopping for graduates is a lifesaver.

Not only is the thought of buying a used car from a dealership time consuming, but it can also be nerve-racking when you meet up with a pushy sales agent who only cares about making a deal. Fortunately, you can find a vehicle of your choice from the comfort of your own home – whether it’s through a car auction online or private seller. 

Buying online allows you to choose what’s best suited for your needs without the added pressure. But, as convenient as it is, it does have its cons too. One of the biggest challenges that often make people fear buying a vehicle online is that there are scammers who like to take advantage. Scammers continue to take chances every day, and it’s important to know what to look out for before purchasing a vehicle online.

This is why we have compiled tips for buying a used car as a new graduate. Keep reading below to ensure you have the second-hand car checklist and are ready to go car shopping. 

Doing insufficient research

One of the benefits of purchasing online is that you can make sound decisions without pressure from anyone else. This allows you to look for what is best for your needs and find a vehicle price you’re comfortable with. With so many options available online, it’s more than likely that you’ll find a vehicle for the ideal price, but that will only happen if you do enough research. Take a look at online reviews on different platforms and find out where you can get a vehicle online. Consider what type of vehicles are popular now and what kind of features are needed. 

And, because this is your first vehicle, you need to know exactly what is being offered on the market, how much it is worth and how much value it offers you as a buyer. For example, is it fuel-efficient, does it have enough legroom, the latest technology and safety features? Those things matter, and it’s important to define exactly what matters to you. 

Not knowing your financing options 

When looking for a vehicle, you should always go after you have sought financing and you know how much you have available. This will give you an idea of which vehicle is in your price range and which isn’t. With so many options on the market, being able to narrow down your choices is a great place to start in your car shopping process. Since you’re a graduate, it may be challenging to find financing, but luckily there are some lenders with online vehicle financing for graduates that can help with your financing limitations. They have car finance apps you can use to help you see your affordability, approval and customise your loan agreement to what is suitable for your lifestyle. Knowing your financing options prior to contacting a private seller is key. You don’t know how long it will take you to get pre-selected or how much you’ll get, which could make you lose out on the vehicle. So, always wait until you have financing to contact someone. 

Forgetting to test drive the vehicle 

While a picture can paint a thousand words, you do not want to be stuck with a hefty monthly payment for a vehicle that stopped working after a month. Make sure that you test drive the car before you sign anything. This will help you see whether everything works properly, and if not, whether it will be fixed or if you can negotiate a different price. If the private seller is hesitant about letting you test drive the vehicle, then it might be best to pause the car buying process. You’ll be using this car for five or more years, and you need to be certain that it is worth it. If not, you’ll just be left with a wreck. 

Not asking for the vehicle history report

When buying a used car, you need to ask to see the vehicle history report before making a purchase. A vehicle history report is documentation that can help you get a backstory of a vehicle. It will inform you whether the vehicle has been in any accidents before, what problems it might have, and how many owners it’s had in the past. This will give you an idea of whether the vehicle is in good condition or if you need to look elsewhere. If the seller tries to make excuses every time you ask, that can be a tell-tale sign that there is something wrong with the car. In such a case, it would be advised that you find a seller who is more transparent and exhibits trustworthiness.  

Not going for a car inspection

Most people think test driving the vehicle is the only way to see what condition the car is in. However, you can also ask the seller if you can have it checked by a mechanic. While this may be an additional cost for you as the seller might not offer to pay for the inspection, it will be beneficial to you in the long term. The mechanic can give you information about the car that you might have missed when doing the test drive, helping you get the full picture of the history of the vehicle. So, make sure you have it inspected to ensure you’re buying a vehicle that is still in good condition and won’t cost more than it’s actually worth. 

Signing after payment 

When it comes to money and making a purchase, you need to be sure you don’t fall victim to a scam. Fraudsters can be very convincing and can push for you to pay upfront before you sign the contract. Be wary of this, because lots of people have fallen victim and have lost their money. And, apart from being scammed out of your money, you do not want to get into a misunderstanding about the terms and conditions after you’ve paid for the vehicle. Keep in mind that a verbal or telephonic agreement is not enough; you need to get everything on paper to ensure both parties know exactly what is expected of them. 

Final thoughts 

Buying your first vehicle on your own can be overwhelming, especially if you have no one to help you through the process. We hope that our tips will give you the green light on the things you should be aware of and what to avoid. And remember, as long as you’ve got your finances in order, there are car budgeting tools available online that will help ensure that you know your affordability and whether buying is the right choice for you right now. If you keep our tips in mind, then you’re good to go. Good luck!

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