Welcome to part two of our mini-series on buying a car for your teenager. In part one we talked about what type of car is best for your teenage driver and in part two we’ll talk about where to get their first car.
Believe it or not, the fun part actually begins after you’ve finished your initial research. The internet has made car buying, comparing and listing easier than ever and all of that technology is a huge benefit to buyers and sellers alike. The former gets a majority of that benefit though since buyers can easily compare prices and access inventory with just a few clicks using the internet.
Most Expensive Option – Certified Dealerships
If you’ve decided on a new or pre-owned dealer vehicle, you’re going to be paying the highest price premium at a certified dealership. That’s not always a bad thing though since there’s really no risk to buying a new or pre-owned car from the dealership. Most dealerships have extensive warranties and buyer protection on every car they sell.
So while you won’t be getting the best deal on a car from the dealership, you’ll take on a lot less risk compared to buying a used car. Dealership cars will always be very reliable and they also tend to offer some of the best financing rates when you take out an auto loan.
Middle of the Road Expensive – Online Car Companies, Used Car Dealerships
If you don’t want to pay the high dealership premium, your next best bet is a respectable used car dealership or online car comparison type website. Most of these dealerships will buy used cars as trade-ins, put them through rigorous testing and then re-sell them to the public. The nice thing about a used car dealership like Carmax is that they have a non-negotiable pricing system so what you see is what you get.
In addition, their agents are paid the same commission whether you buy a BMW or a Ford Focus. So if you want to avoid all the back and forth between a salesman at a dealership, this might be one of your best options.
Least Expensive – Private Sellers
If you’re looking for a ‘deal’ on a car then your best bet is to find a private seller through a site like Craigslist. There’s a lot more work that goes into buying a car from a private seller though. You should get a full car vehicle report and also have the vehicle brought in to your local mechanic for inspection. Since there are no third parties involved, transaction costs are a lot lower though. You don’t have to pay any salesmen or dealerships their cut and you might be able to find a motivated buyer who just needs to unload their car as fast as possible.
Where did you buy your teenager’s car? If you had it to do over, would you do it again?