Basic Stages of a Used Car Sale Process

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 at 6:13 PM

For some looking to buy a used car, the process may seem intimidating. There are plenty of budget and maintenance concerns to consider, and for the busy worker, arranging these can seem like a lot.

At Auction Direct USA, we’re here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the case as you search for used cars. Our pros can help you through every step of the process and make things as simple as possible. Here are the basic steps to a standard used car search process.

Budget

For starters, you have to lay out your budget for a larger purchase like this. The way to do this is to calculate monthly net income after taxes, then subtract all your other bills and expenses – with what’s left over, are you in good financial shape to take on a car loan? Most experts recommend staying below 20 percent of your disposable income each month on a car payment, and you have to consider things like maintenance as well.

Wish List

Once you have your budget set, you have an idea of the kinds of features you can look for. Narrow down your must-haves versus your basic desires.

Shopping Around

There are tons of options available to you out there, so take the time to look around. Our online resources are an excellent place to start. Make comparisons as you shop, asking about things like warranties and performance features.

History and Maintenance Reports

As you narrow your list down to specific vehicles, keep a careful eye on CARFAX and other vehicle history reports. Look for cars that have bad accident histories, have changed hands several times, or have a spotty maintenance history – these might be options to avoid. In person, ask about test driving the vehicle as well.

Fair Price, Finalized Deal

Once you’ve settled on a choice, it’s time to set a final price and get the deal finalized. The rise of vehicle history reports has made it so there’s less haggling in this process than ever before, and you can get a good deal without making enemies of your dealer.

Paperwork

Finally, there’s a good chunk of paperwork to complete to finalize the sale – luckily, your dealer can help with lots of this. This will include things like a final inspection, a bill of sale, a title transfer, valid payment, maintenance record transfer, key transfer, and the seller removing their insurance policy.

For more on the process of buying a used car, or to view any of our used cars for sale, speak to the pros at Auction Direct USA today.

Why Haggling is in the Past

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 at 6:11 PM

For many who bought a used car more than a few years ago, the “haggle” is a big part of the process they remember. This is a negotiation tactic that became associated with used cars some time ago, and many buyers would come into a lot looking for the best ways to drive a dealer’s price down.

At Auction Direct USA and throughout the rest of the industry, however, the haggle is on the way out. Used car values simply don’t have the kind of uncertainty they used to, and dealers like us are looking to reduce combative, hard-selling techniques that really just put a divide between us and our valued customers. Let’s look at why the haggle is a thing of the past.

Online Options

In the past, a used vehicle’s value would be much harder to ascertain. Sites like Kelly Blue Book weren’t around yet – you had to do a lot more research to determine true vehicle value, and even after this, there might be areas that weren’t visible to you.

Today, the internet offers you a plethora of options for this kind of thing. You can quickly learn about everything from car value to the reputation of a dealer – for this reason, many buyers cross shady dealers off their list before even setting foot in the dealership. With everything out in the open like this, there’s simply less reason to haggle.

Commissions Going Away

Another big change from the past is the way used car salespeople are compensated. In the past, this was largely based on commissions – today, a movement sweeping the industry is pushing for less commission-based compensate. This promotes an environment with less haggling and the shared goal of getting you, the buyer, behind a great vehicle that meets your needs. It also eliminates any need for us to slightly inflate the price of the vehicle to offset a commission to be paid to that salesperson.

No Need to Haggle

As you can see, there’s no need to haggle at Auction Direct USA. Our knowledgeable salespeople are here to match you to a great vehicle, not to pull the wool over your eyes. For questions about our used cars or any part of the transparency of our valuation process, speak to our friendly staff today.

Getting a Used Car With Subpar Credit

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 at 6:09 PM

When it comes to searching for used cars, having bad credit can be a difficulty – but it doesn’t have to be a total obstruction. While bad credit may narrow your financing options for certain used car options, it does not have to stop you from getting a used car.

At Auction Direct USA, we’re here to help. Here are a few basic tips for how to get a great used car even with subpar credit, plus how you can look to improve that credit and move forward.

Big Down Payment

In many cases, the loans you’ll be able to qualify for with bad credit will have very high interest rates. This means that the more you’re able to put down up front for your down payment, the better of you’ll be – you’ll have less principal loan amount collecting interest at that high rate if you pay off more to begin with.

Now, this can be easier said than done in many cases. For many people, the same reasons they’re struggling with credit speak to their ability to get a large down payment together. But look at areas large and small to tighten up your belt, including limiting creature comforts and focusing on essentials.

Credit Score Improvement Areas

Leading up to a used car search, consider quick ways to raise your credit. Try to pay bills on time, and avoid any big purchases that can be put off until later to keep your debt ratio down. Also, don’t forget to factor in maintenance costs for a potential new vehicle – if you can’t afford the basics that come with the car down the line, it could be repossessed.

Stay Reasonable

Used car values vary based on a variety of factors, but if you’re in a budget crunch, you should be focusing on only on the most important factors. Resist the urge to look at luxury models or trick yourself into thinking you can afford more car than you really need.

Voice Issues

This is an issue for after your purchase as much as beforehand – don’t be afraid to voice financial issues to your lender if they come up. If you run into problems making your payments, communicate and be honest about your situation. Lenders always prefer to help find a workable solution rather than take the drastic step of repossessing a car, so they’ll do what they can to help you out.

To learn more about buying a used car with less than stellar credit, or for any of our used car services, speak to the pros at Auction Direct USA today.

Tips For Keeping Used Car Resale Value Up

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 at 6:07 PM

If you have a used car for sale, one of your most obvious priorities will be getting the highest possible value out of it. But as anyone who has dealt with the sale of used cars in the past will know, this process often begins long before you actually put the car up for sale.

At Auction Direct USA, we’re here to help. Here are a few tips our experts can offer when it comes to increasing your car’s potential resale value.

Keep Your Paperwork

As you move through your car’s life, keep all documents you have that relate to the vehicle. Do not keep these in the car themselves – keep them in a separate folder, and organized by basic dates and relevance. Items in this folder should include your title, purchase receipts, finance contract, all service records, your owner’s manual and your window sticker. The more documentation you have of everything that’s taken place with your car, the more you can prove about its value.

Don’t Abuse the Car

It’s common to hear drivers talk about preventive maintenance, and while it’s indeed vital, the one area that’s most important is often overlooked: Drive safely and stay alert. Reckless driving leads to higher chances of an accident, but also can damage the chassis and cause more fluid leaks, oil burning, and engine part failure.

New Tires

One area that can be particularly valuable when it comes to pre-sale replacement is the tires. Tires are a big part of curb appeal on the car, which has shown to be an outsized factor in seller interest – even if other elements of your car are in tip-top shape, a buyer who sees worn down tires is less likely to show interest. In most cases, the cost of simply replacing the tires is easily worth the increase in resale price you can demand.

Proper Maintenance

Finally, the top tip we can offer for upping resale value on your car is simply keeping up with your recommended maintenance. Little repairs that can be handled for virtually no cost during scheduled maintenance can torpedo into far more costly issues if this maintenance isn’t done properly, and your car’s overall value could plummet in the process.

For more on how to keep your car’s resale value high, or to learn about any of our used cars, speak to the pros at Auction Direct USA today.

Interpreting Used Car Mileage Figures

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 at 6:06 PM

When you’re considering a variety of used cars for your next purchase, one of the primary areas you’ll look to for some general clues about the vehicle’s history is the mileage. At Auction Direct USA, we have a wide range of miles on our huge selection of used cars for sale, depending on your preferences.

How important should mileage be when you are browsing our selection? Let’s take a look, plus view some examples of when mileage can be misleading.

Basic Assumptions

In a very general sense, it’s good to assume that the average driver logs about 12,000 miles on their vehicle per year. If there’s very little other information about the car available, this can be a good baseline for determining roughly how long and how frequently the car has been driven for. If a car has significantly more or less mileage than this based on the number of years it’s been in circulation, this is something to look into.

However, there are situations where relying only on the mileage can get you a misleading idea about a car. Our next section will discuss a few examples.

Mileage Can Be Misleading

  • In some cases, a car will have a standard number of miles and only a single ownership, plus good maintenance. In these cases, this is a great car to pursue.
  • Rental cars, in many cases, can sometimes be had for less money and with better mileage.
  • On the flip side, a similar car to our first example, but with multiple owners and more years in circulation, might not be as good an option. This is particularly true if you can’t find a good maintenance history.
  • Also consider the inverse, however: A car with the same year and make as our other examples, but with just 3,000 to 5,000 miles per year on the odometer. Cars like these are usually garaged, and while they may appear well-maintained due to rarely being driven, they can come with elements like dry-rot, weakened batteries and dried-out oil seals. These are all threats to the longevity of the car, so you should be wary.

For more on interpreting a used car’s mileage, or to view any of our cars for sale, speak to the pros at Auction Direct USA today.

Clearing Up Basics of Certified Preowned Cars

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at 11:25 PM

Within the world of used cars, the term “certified preowned” has begun to take on a very exclusive feel. Also called CPOs, these cars are generally more expensive and considered the highest standard for a used car.

At Auction Direct USA, we have a wide selection of certified preowned cars along with other used vehicles. We’ve found that many of our customers don’t fully understand what this term means when we use it, and what standards a CPO vehicle is being held to. Here’s a primer on some of the basics here.

Certified Criteria

As the name suggests, CPO involves someone certifying the vehicle in question. This certifier is using a set of standards or criteria to carry the CPO label. Where many folks become confused is in which set of standards is being used.

At a brand-name dealership, the manufacturer sets CPO standards – each vehicle of its make will have its own criteria. Ford has a 172-point inspection, for instance, and many manufacturers also include a mileage factor. Chrysler, for instance, requires that a vehicle is under five years old and has fewer than 75,000 miles for it to even be considered as a CPO vehicle – and this is before the rest of the inspection.

Independent Programs

Independent used car dealerships have also developed their own CPO programs by devising a set of standards that can be applied across all makes of vehicles. These standards and applied processes will be different from a manufacturer, but if the dealership holds itself to high standards in general, the quality here will be just as high. Good independent dealerships should be willing to share their standard for certification with you, so you can determine if their CPO vehicles are good enough to justify raised prices.

Best Alternative to New Car

As long as you’re using a reputable vendor, a CPO vehicle is the highest-quality option available as an alternative to a brand new car. They meet a rigorous set of standards, and are very close to new in many cases – but with a lower price tag. As long as you’ve done your research on the standards applied, you can feel confident you’re getting a great car when you shop CPO.

For more on certified preowned cars, or to learn about any of our used car selection, speak to the pros at Auction Direct USA today.

Reading Vehicle History Reports Properly

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Friday, September 15th, 2017 at 4:18 AM

When looking for a used or preowned car, one of the first considerations many of us have is attempting to find out all the historical details of the car in question. We naturally want to know the specifics of how the car has been treated in the past – what maintenance it’s undergone or may need, plus any specific issues it may have.

At Auction Direct USA, we’ll help you with methods of obtaining this information. For many people, online resources like CARFAX or AutoCheck are the best way to do this. Both offer a number of different bits of information about vehicle history that can be vital while searching through used cars. Let’s take a look at how to go about reading and interpreting various elements of one of these reports.

Previous Ownership

These reports will give you a history of ownership, which allows you to verify how many people have owned the car and where it has been registered in the past. It will tell you if previous owners have been individuals, or whether they’ve been government, corporate, rental or for other purposes.

Title

The title is vital – you don’t want to look at the report and see that it’s still owned by a bank or lender. You also want to be sure it’s never had a salvaged or branded title, which could essentially mean the car is unfit to drive.

Service Records

This isn’t always the case, but CARFAX will often show service records for vehicles. Any negative information will usually be highlighted in these cases, making it easier to note. Do remember that these reports can only use the information that was given to them – they may be incomplete, especially if the car has had multiple owners.

Mileage

A history report is a good way to check on mileage, as this will be recorded after every historical event for the car. A red flag here might include a mileage report that doesn’t rise in sequence – this could be a sign that the odometer has been hacked. In addition, a car that was owned for many years but added very few miles could mean that the car sat for long periods of time, or that the odometer was rolled back.

Other Issues

Other issues these reports may find include accidents, airbag deployments, and anything else that may indicate significant damage in the vehicle’s history. If you notice any of these red flags, ensure you get a satisfactory explanation before proceeding further.

Want to learn more about reading an online vehicle history report, or interested in our wide selection of used cars? Speak to the experts at Auction Direct USA today.

Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Car

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 at 4:13 AM

Selling a car can be a difficult decision for many reasons. Many of us get emotionally attached to our cars, and this can make some of the important financial considerations that go into selling one a bit tougher to manage.

At Auction Direct USA, our car dealers are here to help you with a sale or trade-in process. We’ll keep you on task and remind you when your objective judgment is being clouded. Here are five questions you should be asking yourself before you make the final call to sell a vehicle.

Why Are You Selling?

Some people go through “new car lust” – our brain’s natural desire for something new or better. It’s important not to confuse this with legitimate reasons for wanting a new car, such as constant and costly repairs to your current used car.

In today’s online age, it’s much easier to make these kinds of decisions. You can learn how long you can reasonably expect your current car to last given its current condition, and when it might become too expensive to continue owning it.

What’s the Worth?

This may seem like a straightforward question: What is your car’s Blue Book value? However, it’s actually more detailed. You have to consider other financial items – things like the value of not relying on public transit, the value of being free of a car payment, or even the emotional value of your own vehicle. These metrics are subjective, but they’re important to think about before selling.

How Will You Sell It?

There are a few different ways of selling your car, from private sales to a trade-in with a dealership like Auction Direct USA. Your choice will depend on how much legwork you want to do, along with the value of the car.

Are Your Expectations Reasonable?

If you’re getting a new or preowned car to replace the one being sold, make sure your expectations are realistic here. You may have a perfectionist ideal for what your new vehicle will be like, but you should be more realistic – separate what’s possible and what’s simply wishful thinking well before you commit to selling the old car.

Are There Costs Associated With the Upgrade?

It’s easy to skip over additional costs during a car sale, but these can be significant. Consider things like higher insurance premiums, state licensing fees, taxes and any finance charges you may have to pay for your replacement vehicle. Through this lens, a move that looks affordable can quickly look different.

Want to learn more about selling a car, or interested in any of our other services? The pros at Auction Direct USA are standing by.

Vehicle Factors in a Used Car Search

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Saturday, July 15th, 2017 at 5:50 AM

At Auction Direct USA, we’re here to get you the lowest possible market prices on used cars without the hassle. Our team of used car dealers will help you with everything from loans and trade-ins to vehicle searches, and we won’t rest until you’re satisfied.

One of the simplest areas we see people struggle with? A lack of basic knowledge about what they want in a preowned car. These simple expectations will set the baseline for your entire purchasing experience. Let’s look at a few important areas to consider.

Basic Performance

Before even visiting a dealership, read performance reviews of the types of cars you think you might be looking into. Certain makes and models may have tendencies within their design, and the rise of the internet within the industry makes it easier than ever to find out about these. Does a model you’re looking into frequently struggle with a particular engine problem? Find out in advance. In addition, once you’re at the dealership, test performance of individual vehicles through test drives.

Safety Features

Another smart bit of research will be on crash ratings and safety features for a potential vehicle. There are simple online resources to help with understanding what certain ratings or features are referring to, and what they might mean for you.

Reliability

This ties in with performance to some degree. You want a dependable vehicle that won’t frequently be dealing with maintenance or repairs. There are also plenty of online resources available for checking this sort of thing.

Interior

Factors like the engine, tires and mechanical items might drive the value more directly, but you have to be comfortable in your vehicle. Inspect everything from seat material to the layout, and make sure all the interior features you want are present.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Remember that even after you spend money on your used vehicle, there will be standard maintenance and upkeep concerns. Budget for this, but also research the kinds of maintenance that are most common for your vehicle type.

Want to learn more about important used car factors, or any of our other services? The dealers at Auction Direct USA are standing by to assist you.

Avoiding Common Trade-In Mistakes

By alyssa | Posted in Blog on Thursday, June 15th, 2017 at 5:08 AM

Trading in a car is different from selling one in a few ways, and at Auction Direct USA, we handle both situations. Our trade-in specialists will help you with several details of the process, and our expert appraisers will generally take under half an hour to come back to you with an offer for your used car.

What are some of the mistakes people often make when trading in their car with a dealer? Let’s look at some of the key errors you can avoid during this process.

Not Knowing Value

You may not be able to narrow it down to the dollar, but you want a good idea of the basic value of your car before you head in for a trade-in. Use online tools like Kelley Blue Book or Edmund’s Trade-In True Market Value appraisal tool – many people even print the results and keep them with them for reference at the dealership. Appraisal values here are just averages for the area, so don’t expect them to be perfect, but they can give you a good idea of the range you need to be looking for in an offer.

Overestimating Worth

Many people become attached to their vehicles, and are naturally biased during a valuation process. Most owners tend to slightly overstate their car’s condition level – only 3 percent of cars on Kelley Blue Book fall under the “Excellent” condition category, but you’d hardly know that based only on owners’ assessments. Try to be as realistic and conservative as you can to fight this bias.

Too Many Repairs

Putting a bit of time and effort into repairs and cleanup is good before a trade-in, but investing in expensive fixes will often not be worth it – dealerships can often make these fixes for a much cheaper number than what you’d pay, and in these cases, you’re better off letting them do it. That doesn’t mean take no care, of course, but do research on the kinds of repairs that are smart to make.

Just One Offer

If possible, it’s always good to get more than one appraisal to see how much they vary. Offers may vary based on current inventory, re-sale ability and other factors.

Want to learn more about the right steps to take during a trade-in, finding the right used car value, or any of our other services? Speak to the specialists at Auction Direct USA today.