Tips for Buying a Used Car Online

Skip the trip to the car dealership and buy your next car from the comfort of, well, wherever you are. Online used car shopping from estate sales provides a new and innovative way to approach the car-buying process. Even dealerships and manufacturers have gotten into online car sales. Online tools make it easy to browse, but that doesn’t mean you should approach online car shopping like you’re buying a new gadget or a purse. Treat this major purchase like you would any other by doing your due diligence and careful research. Our buying guide is designed to get you started, with tips for sourcing information about a used car online to help create a seamless online buying experience.

Tips for Buying a Used Car Online

When it’s approached correctly, buying a used car online should be a relatively stress-free experience. Although these tips can apply whenever you buy used cars, they become particularly important when you’re buying a car sight unseen.

Familiarize Yourself with the Vehicle

Being familiar with the type of vehicle you’re shopping for makes it easier to buy used cars online. If you’re used to driving domestic sedans, you may not be familiar with Italian sportscars. This means you may not know when the seller could be providing you with misinformation or what problems the car commonly has according to other owners. Performing thorough research is critical because it helps you spot red flags during the shopping process.

Fall in Love, but Don’t Lead with Your Heart

It’s easy to get emotionally invested when you finally find the car of your dreams online. This becomes increasingly challenging for car collectors in search of rare vintage cars and classic automobiles, but you don’t want to become blinded to better options. It’s wonderful to buy a car you love, but don’t let your judgement get so clouded that you end up overpaying for a car that under-delivers.

Get a Vehicle History Report

This gives you a window into the car’s history, including any accidents or other major problems the car has been through. The more information you have before buying the car, the less likely it is that you’ll have to deal with unexpected problems in the future. Vehicle history reports use the VIN (vehicle identification number) to look up important information about the car using state DMV records, repair documents, police reports, and insurance company paperwork. Common details include the following:

● Previous ownership
● Existing liens
● Odometer readings
● Accident history
● The Blue Book value based on the make, model, and year of the car

Make a List of Questions to Research

As you research the car and review photographs, start making a list of questions for yourself. Make it a point to search for the answers as you read the information provided by EBTH experts.

● Do the windows, locks, lights, wipers, and stereo work?
● Has the vehicle ever been repainted?
● Have pets been in the vehicle? Was smoking allowed inside the vehicle?
● Is car being driven now, or is it in storage?
● Is there any work needed to get the vehicle on the road?

Obtain Financing

Unless you’re paying cash or using a credit card, you’ll need to line up your auto financing, ideally before you even find the car online. Many experts suggest that consumers typically get better terms when they finance through a financial institution instead of dealerships. Additionally, if you’re taking on a monthly car payment, make sure it doesn’t exceed 20% of your disposable income. Look into the insurance costs of your new used car. Some vintage and classic cars require special insurance, which is helpful to know ahead of time.

Deciding on the Price

When buying used cars online, pricing methods range from a set ask to a negotiation to bidding. This is where your previous research will become even more useful. Regardless of the asking price, you should set an upper limit for what you want to pay. Note the distance of the seller and estimate the cost of picking up or shipping the car. Once you arrive at your max, you are ready to begin bidding. On EBTH, bidding can be done in different ways. Learn about how bidding works here.

Arrange Storage

Unless you already have the extra space in your driveway or garage, you need to arrange storage for your new car before you pick it up. If you’re buying a rare vintage car, look into storage areas with suitable conditions to protect the car and provide you room to work on it, if desired.

How to Buy a Used Car Online

After reading this brief used car buying guide, do you feel more comfortable buying used cars online? Now that you know how to research and prepare for your purchase, visit EBTH to search through the listings of vintage and used cars in online estate sales. Search for your dream collector’s car or your next vehicle. This innovative platform brings one-of-a-kind cars together with buyers who appreciate them.