If you’re in the market for a used car, you’ve certainly noticed that prices have increased over the past few years. Despite higher prices, it’s still possible to find quality used cars under $15,000. Here are some tips to help you find a decent used car in this market.
How Did We Get Here?
Used car prices have skyrocketed in recent years due to high demand and limited supply. On the demand side, many consumers turned to buying used cars instead of new ones because of the pandemic-related travel restrictions, personal safety concerns, and economic uncertainty.
On the supply side, there was a shortage of available new cars because of the global computer chip crisis and supply line delays that affected car production. These things also reduced the number of fleet sales, repossessions, and off-lease cars entering the used market, meaning there just weren’t enough vehicles available to meet the new demand. As a result, used car prices soared. In some cases, buying a used model was more expensive than buying its brand-new counterpart.
Don’t Give Up: Used Cars Under $15K Exist
The current rise in used car prices does not mean you should just give up on finding a great vehicle at a reasonable price.
Here are some strategies that can help you find reliable used cars on a tight budget in this crazy market.
- Compare prices and selection across different sources: Don’t rely on just one website or dealer to find your ideal car. Use online tools such as Kelley Blue Book, CarGurus, Edmunds, Car And Driver, CARFAX, and TrueCar to compare prices of similar models.
- You might be able to find some bargains that are not advertised widely or negotiate a better price if you show them a lower offer elsewhere.
- Check vehicle history reports: Before buying any used car, check its history report to avoid any hidden problems or scams. A vehicle history report can tell you important information, such as the number of previous owners, accidents, repairs, recalls, and mileage. You can often get a free report from the dealership or pay a small fee for more detailed information.
- Negotiate with sellers: Don’t be afraid to bargain with sellers over the price. While the seller has the upper hand in this market, you have more leverage than you might think. Sellers are also facing high competition and low supply. Be polite but firm, and use your research data to support your offer. You can also ask for discounts on fees, warranties, or accessories. You might also enjoy more wiggle room if you finance with the dealership.
- Be flexible with options: If you want to save money on your used car purchase, you might have to compromise on some features or preferences. For example, you can consider older models, higher mileage cars, less popular colors, or fewer bells and whistles for lower prices.
Keep Looking for Good Used Car Deals
Finding decent used cars under 15k is still possible in this market if you follow good buying strategies and remain flexible. The good news is that the used car market is expected to improve in the rest of 2023 as new car production recovers from the chip shortage and supply catches up with demand, and that means that prices might stabilize sooner than you think.
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