OPINION | Not enough cash? How to buy a second-hand car slightly outside of your budget

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Buying a new car
Buying a new car

Most sellers are willing to negotiate a lower price with the sale of their vehicle.

Factors like body and mechanical condition plays an important part in how low the seller is prepared to go.

The used car market has become more lucrative than ever with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa.

For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.

With the Covid-19 pandemic putting many businesses under a financial strain, people are seeing their salaries reduced in order to keep operations above board.

With money not in more substantial supply as it would have been on any other day, saving every penny is the number-one action many people are taking. There's also a way to do so if you're in the market for a pre-owned car.

Unlike buying new, the price of second-hand vehicles can be negotiated to suit your budget and even garner a small profit at the same time.

Not an ideal situation

George Mienie, CEO of AutoTrader, pointed out that searches for second-hand vehicles under R50 000 have increased by almost 300% versus normal pre-lockdown levels earlier in 2021.

Are there particular 'tactics' you use when buying a second-hand vehicle? Please email us, or share your thoughts in the comments section below.

While you are looking for a used vehicle within specific parameters of your budget, equally so is also someone looking to offload his or her pride and joy for extra cash. It is for this reason where the room for above budget negotiation plays its part.

online car buying
Online car buying experience (Supplied by NADA)

Most people will state in an advertisement that the sale is non-negotiable. Still, in that instance, the vehicle in question has most likely been well looked after and kept close to factory specification.

Though that is not the case majority of the time, most sellers are willing to lower the asking price either because they're not getting lots of responses to the ad or have been disappointed by previously interested buyers. It then becomes a case of just closing the sale.

READ | That important yellow form: what you need to know about changing vehicle ownership

If you have a budget of R40 000, so instead of looking at cars in the price bracket of that figure and less, you can actually look at those in the range of say R43 000 and lower - even R45 000 depending on the urgency of the sale. This means you can actually look for a car slightly above your price bracket.

Mindful of your choice

The type of car you are looking for also plays its part. People selling 9N Polo's or Polo Vivo's, which is a popular choice, will rarely budge on their asking price.

Sellers are more lenient if the car requires a bit of mechanical, aesthetic work or even if the car's license is behind, although this is most closely associated with much older cars or projects.

The phrase 'I have the cash right here' can also sway the opinion because, as they say, money talks and having the cash on hand, even if it's below valuation, will put the seller in a spot of bother to consider cashing in.

Contacting the seller by speaking to them over the phone rather than through WhatsApp texts requires immediate responses instead of leaving the room for thought through a message., it also shows you're a serious buyer.

Car buying, in general, is a waiting game where the correct approach is often required to get the deal over the line. But with Covid-19 wreaking havoc with people's finances, the fact that they have to sell fast means it can play right into a buyer's hand.

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