So as most of you know, we have ended up with an ’05 Infiniti G35x. So far, I have been very happy with it. From this researching and buying experience, my new resolution is that we buy slightly used cars from now on. Slightly used luxury cars to be in fact. However, here’s what I put in as minimum requirements.
- Less than 4 years old
- Less than 50,000 miles (usually luxury cars have about 4 year/50,000 mile warranty)
Here’s why… when it comes to luxury cars, they depreciate the most in their first TWO years! It’s ridiculous when you find out that even cars like a ’05 BMW 525i can be had for $24,000! You can see for yourself here! InternetAutoguide.com has a decent layout of it. The only luxury car brand that I’ve seen that held up value is Lexus. All the rest pretty much loses easily a third to half of their value within 2 years! How crazy is that?! I am guessing that most who buy a luxury car don’t hold onto it for too long and upgrade after few years. So the market is overloaded with slightly used luxury cars and hence the fall of their value. My recommended procedure:
1. Determine the size of the car you are looking for and start researching on their used values using sites like Edmunds.com, NADA.com, and Kelly’s Blue Book. I personally prefer Edmunds.com as their value estimate seems to be more reasonable. Once you find out the levels of values (retail, private sale, and trade-in), try to shoot for the trade-in value of the car.
2. Next, start searching and here are some suggestions.
3. As you search for the car, sign up for a one-month unlimited account on Carfax (about $40) and be sure to do basic background check on the car using VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) number! You want a car that wasn’t involved in an accident, totaled, salvaged, and/or was in a flooded area! And shoot for a single-owner vehicle!
4. For cars you are looking at that is out of driving range to go and see it in person (thru sites like Autotrader or eBay), be SURE to check all the pictures and descriptions!
5. Special tip for eBay:
- Avoid auctions with reserves on them. They suck.
- Always underbid at least few thousands below the trade-in value! Yes, you read that right! Since you weren’t be able to confirm anything, you want to figure in possible costs of fixer uppers.
- Be sure to buy from established dealers! Be sure to check that the seller has lots of good feedback as a seller!
- Increase your search range (this is a nice feature on eBay and sites like cars.com and autotrader.com) once you start as local to your area as possible.
I will be sure to add more stuff if I remember anything else…