How to Buy a Used Car (Without Getting Ripped Off)

Looking for the ultimate car buying guide? This probably isn’t it. This is just our opinion about the best used car you can buy and how much you should pay for it. Are all dealers scams? What about the craigslist killer?

We quickly review consumer report’s most reliable cars and then talk about where to buy one. We include 4 tips and tricks for buying a used car from a dealer without getting ripped off.

BONUS INFO:
We want to start adding more information about each video in our blog posts, so this video will be our first attempt at that.

Are the best deals really on craigslist?
Something that didn’t make the video was the fact that I actually have my dealers license in the state of Florida. We got it when we were buying and selling motorcycles last year, but never used it for cars. But, it did give me access to the auctions that all the car dealers buy their cars from. And I actually bought Lauren a Honda Insight when we got back from Europe to see what the process was like.

You can imagine the excitement and chaos on the auction floor as 5 rows with hundreds of cars crept through the building all at once. Each lane had an auctioneer just like you hear on TV, all competing with each other over the loudspeaker.

To my disappointment, all of the cars were being sold for just about exactly their KBB trade in value. Not only that, but most of the cars “sent to auction” were the junkers that dealers had a hard time selling on their lot.

Fortunately, the auction I went to had a “lane” for off-lease Hondas. They were mostly late model civics and accords in excellent shape. We paid $12,000 for our Insight, and then an additional “fee” of $475 on top of it. The trade in value was $12,000. I went inside and paid cash on the spot.

Lauren drove the car for a few months and then we sold it for $12,000 and bought the Prius for $6,000 off craigslist. Comparing those 2 cars, it’s easy to see which was the better deal. At the auction we spent $475 over trade-in, on craigslist we spent $3,000 UNDER trade-in value.

Yes it’s convenient to have a stream of hundreds of cars all in one place for you to choose from. But, if I couldn’t beat a craigslist deal at a dealer auction, there’s no way you’ll beat it once a dealer tacks on all the profit and fees.

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