Our current car is a 2006 Jetta 2.0 Turbo with less than 27,000 miles. We bought it new off the lot as I’ve done with my other cars. Used cars never seemed like an option before; they were too risky for my blood. But since leasing cars has become more popular, good quality, like-new cars are heading back to the lots with low mileage and in near-perfect condition.
Since we’re in the market for our next car, we’re not only open to buying used, we also know that it’s probably where we’ll end up. Here are a few things we have been debating for the past few days:
Parting with the Ol' Rambler
Do we try to sell our current car on our own or do we sell it to a dealer? We know what our current car is worth as a trade-in, what the dealership can sell it for, and what we can sell it for. (These values are easy to find online by finding your car in the Kelley Blue Book.) We normally don’t have the patience to sell a car ourselves, but since we have the time, we may try it. Otherwise, it will go to the dealer for “30-40% less than what they can sell it for,” according to what one dealer told us this weekend. There’s less headache going with the dealer as they take care of all of the title paperwork, plates, etc. Our plan is to sell it ourselves. Unfortunately, sometimes we all have to face the fact that there’s a price to pay for convenience.
Loans = Groans
Should we take out a loan? I’m happy to say, we haven’t had a car payment in over three years, and man, it has felt great. We’re hoping to continue not having one for a while longer, so we are shooting for taking whatever we get for our current car, adding in some cash we have saved up, and calling it a day. There’s no way we could do this with a new car, and avoiding the debt of a vehicle that will only decrease in value is a big reason we’re aiming for a used car!
The Cash Quandary
How much should we spend out of pocket? We initially set our cash budget at $5,000-7,000. However, we’re finding out quickly that it may not be enough. We can go a couple ways: a newer car with more miles or an older car with fewer. Either is risky. I’m worried that if we go with an older car, we won’t get much for it when we’re ready to trade or sell it and we’ll have to essentially start over, payments and all, with the next one. If we go with a newer car that has more miles, it may have more problems sooner. We’re still undecided on this one.
We’re at the beginning stages of shopping, and knowing us, this decision will take a while and include many, many more conversations. We’re looking for a crossover, so if you have any recommendations, let me know. Also, if you’re looking for a great Jetta, I know where you can find one. But seriously, what are the first things you think about when shopping for a car? How do reconcile your concerns about the reliability of the vehicle with your budget goals? What makes a used car a good deal in your eyes? Please share below.
Sam Hammar is a city-dwelling workaholic, who works on all kinds ofprojects that help the City of Boston be the kind of place PerkStreet Financial is proud to call home. Although public service is tough, Sam keeps things in balance by focusing on the little things in life. Sam loves saving money and helping people, and she also loves her husband, Juan. Her writing is geared toward recently married couples.
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