NBSB’s Guide to What to Look for When Buying Used


Don’t get taken for a ride on your next used car purchase. Considering these tips while buying can help you get the car you deserve at the price it deserves.


New cars don’t stay new forever, according to Investopedia, a brand new car will depreciate 10% once it’s driven off the lot. Own the car for a year and the value just depreciated another 20%- so you are a year into your auto loan- and your vehicle has already depreciated by at least 30%. At this point some consumers decide to trade in that new vehicle. This is a prime opportunity to purchase a relatively new car for a more affordable price. So remember buying used doesn’t mean it has to be old, just no longer “brand new”.


Do Your Research:

It’s best to do your research before physically going to buy a car. It can be easy to be pressured into a purchase or decision when you’re put on the spot. Use resources like NADA and Kelly Bluebook to get current vehicle information, history and value. Also, take advantage of North Brookfield Savings Bank’s Auto Loan Calculator to help you figure out how much car you can afford!

Once you’ve determined how much you can afford, what you want to buy, and what it typically sells for, it is time to find one from a trusted dealer. Take it for a test drive, make sure everything you have come to learn about it is true. You can use Carfax or AutoCheck to obtain more details about this vehicle using its VIN number.


Private Sellers:

Though not all bad, private sales are something to be cautious of. Although Massachusetts has Lemon Laws (laws designed specifically to protect buyers from purchasing vehicles that are unsafe to drive or that have substantial defects) many states don’t, so be cautious when purchasing privately. When doing a private sale you will want to obtain as much information as you can on the vehicle and still use your resources to make sure they are giving you the correct price for what you’re buying. If you decide to go through with the purchase make sure you have the title signed over to you before giving the funds to the seller. To be even safer a Cashier’s Check or Money order will leave a better paper trail for you should it be needed.



You may pay a little more but with dealerships you’re paying for a few things. Speed & convenience: A dealership could have you in, applied, approved and in your new vehicle that same day, they even take care of registering the vehicle for you. Just sign and drive! However, if you don’t mind being  patient and doing a bit of foot work you may be just as well off taking care of those things yourself, saving some money in the process.


Can you talk down the price?

Be sure to use the tools in this article to help you make sure the seller’s price, whether at the dealership or a private sale, is fair when compared to the value of the car. It never hurts to negotiate when purchasing a vehicle, you might be surprised at how much you could save. Remember to have a clear maximum price before trying to negotiate, or you may end up paying more than you wanted to. It is usually a good rule of thumb to at the very least ask for $2k -$5k off the asking price so you can pay the registration and sales tax that comes with purchasing a vehicle.


Certified Pre-Owned

Many car brands will offer a “Certified Pre-Owned”, CPO, designation for used cars.  Typically CPO vehicles are from a Dealership. All CPO vehicles come with a vehicle inspection report. Make sure you obtain this if looking to buy a CPO. As opposed to other “used” vehicles, CPO are thoroughly inspected for everything from maintenance issues to making sure these vehicles are cosmetically sound. Buying a CPO vehicle can give you more peace-of-mind and ensure that you get a quality vehicle.


Pro Tips:

  1. Consult a dealership at the end of the month. Going when a dealership needs to meet quotas could put you in a prime position to haggle that price, whether it’s CPO or not.
  2. The discontinued model: often times purchasing a car model that has been discontinued can give you more options. Typically, Dealerships are trying to make room for new models and may be more open to giving a lower price or haggling down to something within your price to make space on the lot.

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