It’s pretty common knowledge that the auto sector hasn’t been having the best time lately — with one exception. Online used car sales are booming. The 2021 fiscal reports released by the largest secondhand online car retailers (Carvana, CarMax, and Vroom) show that their sales increased more than a third. The question is: why?
The whole car-buying-process becomes so much simpler.
Shopping for a used car online helps buyers avoid most of what they dislike about the typical dealership experience (more on that in a bit), as well as inconveniences created by inventory constraints. The fact that you can find the car of your dreams while binge-watching Netflix helps too.
It also becomes way more affordable.
There are mainly two reasons you get better deals online. 1) Online sellers don’t have as many overheads. They don’t need to pay for a physical space. Naturally, they adjust their prices accordingly. 2) They also get their profit from the sheer number of cars they sell, offering lower prices because their focus is on volume. Brick-and-mortar dealerships, on the other hand, can only hold limited cars. So they try to get as much money as they can from each car, which means they’re less willing to bring down their prices.
It’s easier to get the car you want.
At a regular dealership, there are more purchasers than cars available for sale. So, sometimes the car you want is sold out from under you. Going the online approach solves this problem: the car is yours once you discover the correct vehicle on the company’s website and pay a deposit.
Expect more transparency.
At brick-and-mortar dealerships, some expenses aren’t mentioned until you see the contract in the final stage of purchase. (These are called hidden costs.) But when you buy something online, you get a complete cost breakdown before committing to the purchase.
No haggling. Like seriously. None.
Online used car prices are affordable — and fixed. You don’t have to deal with experienced salesmen or pay additional costs to middlemen.
We mentioned this earlier and it’s worth repeating: shopping for a used car online lets you go through inventories, apply for financing, and have the car delivered to your home or office, all from the comfort of your couch.
Now that we’ve looked at the advantages of used cars online, let’s take a look at certain strategies that can help you make the right choice.
Test it before you buy it.
Online dealerships tend to deliver the car to your house for a test drive before you commit to the final purchase. Consider choosing between rival models and test driving both before making a decision.
Look for a loan on your own.
Vehicle dealers provide their own financing, but it's always a good idea to shop around for a preapproved loan from a few different lenders. This stage will uncover any credit issues and offer you an estimate of the interest rate you'll pay.
Make an appointment for an inspection.
Because you'll only have a limited time to return the automobile, you should have it inspected as soon as possible. Start by assessing the wear and tear on your own. Then, take the automobile to your technician for a comprehensive inspection, where they can lift the vehicle and inspect the underbelly for any leaks or damage.