Most of us remember the first car we ever owned, and in many cases it was probably on the cheaper side. Sometimes when money is tight, or we’re just unwilling to spend much on a vehicle, we have to look at the lower end of the market to find a car at the right price.
When looking for a vehicle in that price range, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. It’s not always easy to find a great fit for under $5,000, but it’s definitely possible. Just keep these six tips in mind when looking for an affordable vehicle:
1. Have the right expectations
If you’re going to spend less than $5,000 on a vehicle, your expectations need to be reasonable. You’re unlikely to get your dream car in that price range, nor are you likely to find a newer vehicle with low milage. That doesn’t mean you can’t find something that makes you happy, as long as your definition of happy doesn’t involve a $25,000 vehicle for under $5,000.
2. Not everyone will have them
Unfortunately, not every dealership will carry vehicles in the under $5,000 price range. Some dealerships who take cars in on trade will sell them to other dealerships or have other arrangements made instead of reselling them in-house. So don’t be surprised if not everyone you reach out to isn’t able to help you. (But you’re always welcome to call me!)
3. Don’t expect too much wiggle room
If you love to negotiate, you might not have much fun with a lower-cost vehicle. Because they’re already in the lowest-end of the market, there isn’t much money to be made from a sale. This means there’s usually very little, or zero opportunity for price negotiations. That being said, finding a vehicle you’re happy with in this price range can be a victory in itself.
4. Forget the cool features
If you’re looking for a great deal then you should probably forget high-tech features like navigation, self-parking technology, and panoramic sunroofs. An affordable car with come with affordable features. You’re more likely to find a better vehicle for under $5,000 if it’s relatively stock, as opposed to a fully-loaded luxury car that’s being sold for that same price, since the latter will come with much higher mileage.
5. ‘Undesirables’ can mean great deals
There are some great ‘undesirable’ vehicles that you can buy at the lower end of the pricing spectrum. These types of vehicles include makes that have been discontinued such as Saturn, Oldsmobile, and Scion, body styles and transmissions that are unpopular, and color combinations that most people don’t want. Just because these vehicles aren’t as marketable as others doesn’t mean there isn’t any value to buying one, and if you’re looking for more car for less money, finding one of these could be the best move.