5 Basic Tips for Buying an Affordable Car in 2014

It goes without saying that tips for purchasing affordable cars in 2014 would be different from the ones that applied in 2010 or 2007. That’s why today’s article looks at your best options for finding a cheap ride at good value, financing it wisely – and enjoying it for years to come. The article also includes a brief look at the best value cars currently for sale on the U.S. market; so, if you need a place to get you started on ‘window shopping’ for cars, read on!

Be reasonable

Many first time car buyers who are looking for a cheap new ride fall prey to all sorts of unreasonable behaviors. Some simply fly off into a panic and soon feel overwhelmed with the number of options for used cars at their disposal. Remember that you want to drive this car for at least a few years, so don’t expect to find the right one overnight: take your time to analyze the market and shortlist your best options in terms of value and pricing. At the same time, don’t expect to find the car of your dreams for $1,000 because that’s simply not going to happen.

If your plan includes buying a used car, you can completely forget the notion of resale value. Chances are you’re going to work the living daylights out of that car, so it really doesn’t make a difference what it’s going to be worth once you’re done with it (hint: not much, if you make the most of it). Last, but certainly not least on your list of reasonable expectations, buy your car from an authorized dealership, NOT a friend or an acquaintance, no matter how hard they try to convince you their car is a great buy. In most such cases, they’re only trying to get rid of a vehicle that’s turned into a problem for them. And, as generous as helping out your friends would be, you don’t want to be stuck with their problem on your own hands.

Come prepared

Those on the market for a dirt cheap used car should understand a few issues that simply come with the territory. First off, this involves doling out some cash to have a professional mechanic look at your potential new car. Yes, you will be spending a bit more, but you’ll also be potentially saving yourself more money in the long-run: what if, after some time of use, you found out the car needed major repairs that you simply cannot afford? At the same time, buying a used car that needs some work isn’t necessarily a bad idea, especially if you have a good mechanic that you know can handle the repairs for a reasonable price. That being said, draw the line at cars which are so damaged that you couldn’t drive them on a daily basis – after all, isn’t that the main reason for which you’re buying the car in the first place?

Negotiate that car loan

Some people believe that it’s better to get a car loan from the car dealership they plan on purchasing their vehicle from. Others take the opposite view: they swear by dealing directly with the bank, without involving any third party such as a car dealer. They are usually right, in the sense that car loans acquired directly from a vehicle dealership usually come with higher interest rates. How so? Pause for a moment to consider dealer-arranged loans from the perspective of the dealers themselves. They will grant you the loan first, and then go on to sell it to a bank. As such, it’s not in their best interest at all to provide you with the best loan.

Most car purchase experts advise prospective buyers to apply for loans outside the dealership – and even then to negotiate the terms of said loans. Of course, you can also negotiate in the case of a dealer-arranged bank loan, when it also probably pays off to shop around a little beforehand, as to get familiar with the market and the various terms practiced by various dealerships.

Buy a good value new car

If you can splurge on a new ride and don’t want one that comes from a used car dealership, then you’d better get reading on the cheapest cars on sale in America in 2014. Bear in mind that cheap also often means high mileage, so try to strike a balance between market prices and the cars’ prowess. According to some of the most reputed online sources in the field, you’ve got plenty of options at the moment. One of them is the Nissan Versa 1.6S, which at $12,800 (with destination charges included) has been heralded America’s cheapest car on the market. Now, it might be highly affordable, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a pain to drive. It’s rather roomy and qualifies as a family car and the full-option model has got power windows, power locks, an automatic transmission system, Bluetooth and navigation options.

Alternatively, if interior space is not a concern for you, spring for a more diminutive Chevrolet Spark, which sells for just a smidge more ($12,995) and has been sporting the same price tag since 2013. This tiny Korean ride sure does pack a punch: it’s got air conditioning, power windows, allow wheels, and no fewer than ten airbags. It’s actually a great car for big cities, since its size makes for easy parking.

Figure out if new works out better than old

Sometimes it might be more economically efficient to buy a never-used model of a vehicle, instead of its second hand counterpart. The reason for which this is the case is explained in an article that has to do with the British car market, but the principles which apply there are valid at global level. Sometimes, a carmaker will be so willing to push a newer model onto the market that it will sell older ones at substantially discounted prices to the dealerships. In turn, the dealers will pass those lower prices on to the buyers. The article in question cites impressive examples, such as Ford Focus, Nissan Juke, Volkswagen Scirocco, or Mercedes C63 AMG estate, but it’s up to you to discover cars which are a better deal when bought new, rather than used.

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