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Tips for Buying Cheap Used Cars

Car sold

Buying cheap used cars is a battleground, every used car dealer in your town is your buying competition. Thats why we put together this short list of buying ideas.

As you Travel, Keep Your Eyes Pealed for Cheap Used Cars

I know this is basic, but it still amazes me how many bargains I can buy on the ride home. Watch out for cars sitting in parking lots and driveways that are being advertised for sale. Pull in and call the number right away. Don’t wait to get to the dealership because in this highly competitive market, the car will be gone by then especially if it is priced right.

Notice Stagnant Cars In Driveways

If you drive by a house and see the same car in the same weird spot for weeks, consider knocking on the door and asking if they would be willing to sell the car. I have bought many cheap used cars that way, and usually at a significant lower price. If no one is home, write a note on the back of your business card, asking them if they would call.

Ask Your Family to be on the Look Out.

Let your relatives, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and neighbors know that you are looking to buy cheap used cars. Ask them to keep their eyes open for cars with “For Sale” signs in the window. Offer a finders fee of $50 for every cheap used car you buy. Its a lot cheaper than auction fees.

craigslist missing photoA Great Place to Find Cheap Used Cars is Craig’s List.

I gravitate toward ads that also have photographs, but so does everyone else, so the computation maybe fierce.

As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I say “A missing picture is going to be a bargain.”
Kevin Leigh, Dealer Simplified
Kevin Leigh

The non tech savvy individuals will put their cars online without photos and descriptions. You may have to make more calls and send more email’s but the result can be very rewarding.

Shop eBay during superbowlShop on an online auction website like eBay.

The trick is to find cheap used cars locally and poorly presented. Just like on Craig’s list, if there are no photos or only short descriptions they may get lower bids. Another trick is to look for auctions that end at odd times for the location of the car. A car listed late at night can be cheaper, but ones that end at the crack of dawn are usually an absolute steal.

One final used car auction trick is to shop auctions during major sports events or when major show are on TV. This lowers the number of people following the auction. It is amazing how cheep you can buy cars during the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup.
Kevin Leigh, Dealer Simplified
Kevin Leigh
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What is the ACV – Actual Cash Value?

Used Car ACV

Understanding A.C.V

The “ACV” is the “Actual Cash Value” the dealer places on the  vehicle purchased either at auction or as a trade in. This simply means the car dealer could liquidate the vehicle for that amount. In other words, if dealer chooses not sell the customer’s trade-in as one of their pre-owned cars, they could wholesale it to another dealer and receive that cash value.

ACV is a live value that fluctuates with the market. For example if a Mustang convertible is purchased in the summer, when it is desirable, it will fetch more then if it is sold in the winter.

ACV vs. Trade Allowance

What exactly is the difference between A.C.V. and trade allowance or trade value then? If neither trade allowance or trade value represent what the dealer actually books the trade into inventory, then why do they even quote those figures? In many cases the dealer needs to quote a figure in terms of the trade that is acceptable to the customer. The customer might tell the dealer that unless they get $12,000 for the trade then there is no deal. In order to put the deal together, the dealer might give the customer the $12,000 as a trade value, but the A.C.V. might only be $9,500. That means there is a $2,500 deficit between the A.C.V. and the trade value which means there has to be a $2,500 concession on the new (or used) vehicle purchase. So even if the customers paper work said $12,000 as far as a trade value, the booked in value to the used car inventory is only $9,500. Another way to look at this is the $2,500 came off the new car price.

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section below. or contact us at Dealer Simplified