Buying a Used Car? Here are Three Essential Tips For You

Buying a used car could become a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. They say that the process is like a treasure hunt. You could luck out and end up getting a great score. Or you could miserably fail and get one that’s too costly to maintain due to undisclosed mechanical issues.

When buying something that’s not brand new, as is the case for a second-hand car, it’s always best to make an informed decision. A few extra research wouldn’t hurt and could save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Luckily, the internet is an ever-reliable companion for that. Pair that with some useful car shopping apps, which is fast becoming the standard when it comes to buying used cars, and you’re all set to finding the best-suited car for your needs.

To break it down to you further, here are three essential tips that you should know when buying a used car.

Create A Checklist of The Things Needed When Looking for a Used Car

The fool-proof way to becoming an informed buyer is to make a used car buying checklist. A checklist helps you keep track of the things needed. Knowing what things you still need to do and what things you’ve already accomplished makes the buying process a lot more organized and streamlined. Some of the important items that should be on your list include the budger, list of car dealers, shortlist of used cars that fit your budget, used car mileage, vehicle history report and other pertinent documents.

Of the items mentioned above, the budget is perhaps the most limiting factor and should come at no. 1. So, how much is a used car nowadays? Experts say that a $2500 budget could already get you a reliable used car. Do note, however, that the car may have a higher mileage than what you’re trying to get. If you could spare $1000 more, you could get a newer car with a fewer mileage.

The next item that you should focus on is to create a list of reputable car dealers where you will buy the car. This part shouldn’t be much of a challenge because majority of the best car dealers nowadays have their own mobile app platforms where customers can check listings of available models. To make it more convenient for you, we’ve come across a list of the best apps that offer buy & sell of used cars. See the list below.

Best Apps to Buy a Cheap Car

Prepare and Process the Necessary Documents and Papers

After you found the dealer that you want to transact with and made a shortlist of used cars by price range that interest you. The next thing that you should do is to prepare the documents you need to buy a car. Going to the dealer with a complete set of papers will make the process faster and less of a hassle for you.

At the very least, you must prepare the following:

  1. Driver’s license
  2. Certificate of insurance
  3. Loan papers (in case you’re putting part of the payment on loan)
  4. Proof of income
  5. Proof of residency
  6. List of references

Some of these papers may not be needed, depending on the dealer, but just in case better to prepare them beforehand. Once the purchase pushes through, you also need to process additional paper works such as the Title transfer and Bill of Sale.

You should also be aware that there are additional fees when buying a used car. If you haven’t included this in your budget, it might set you up more than a thousand bucks more. A large portion of that is the dealership fee, so be sure that you’re dealing with a seller that charges a low fee. Other fees that you should be aware of include the documentation fee, registration fee, and sales tax.

get plates for a car

Get Your Newly Purchased Used Car Registered and Insured

What to do after buying a used car? Well, it’s now time to have your car registered under your name and insured. These two steps are the last items on our used car buying guide.

For your convenience, check if your car dealer offers registration processing so you won’t have to do it your own. Just note that such service comes with a fee. If you prefer doing the registration on your own, that’s fine.  At the least, your dealer should be able to give you a temporary registration so that you can drive your car back home. You can also get plates for the car the same time so it’s a one-time process for you.

Never drive your car without insurance. You never know when an accident will strike, so better be safe and prepared. If you could ask your dealer for the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) early on during the buying process, then you can have your insurance even before the car is transferred to you.

Finally, have your car checked by a mechanic. This is an optional process but it’s better that you know your car is fit for a long drive. The last thing that you would want is to have your car break down when you’re about to go to an important meeting.


Buying a used car need not be a tedious task. By being an informed buyer, you can get your way into having a smooth transaction. If it’s your first time buying a car, the tips provided on this guide should pretty much sum up the process. With these tips, you can be confident that you’re getting your money’s worth.