Invest in a house and you're not very likely to lose money on it. Buy a used car and you most definitely will. The trick is to minimise the damage. Most men will build up to the purchase of a used car as if they were about to carry out major brain surgery. The planning starts weeks in advance with regular copies of a car trade magazine. Do they buy a used BMW, a used Mercedes or a used Fiat Panda? The questions are endless.
Next is the Sunday afternoon trawl of the local car dealers. The used BMW dealer is a popular choice as this is a car of style and distinction. It makes a more manly statement than a used Fiat Panda and, although not always affordable, a visit to test out the car and smell the leather, is always essential.
Keeping within budget is not always easy if you're looking at used BMW's because you can get carried away but it is possible. Whatever used car you are looking for, budget is the most important aspect. Shop around and get the best deal you can. If you are well versed in the area of mechanics then buying privately will see you with more of a bargain than buying from the forecourt but it doesn't come with the same guarantee's so if you don't know what you're looking at, take along someone that does. A little tyre kicking just doesn't cut it.
Think about the space you have. If you have a small garage, there's no point in buying something the size of a tank. If you want to keep insurance costs down and do so by keeping your car off the road, there's no point in buying a huge used BMW that won't fit.
Insurance is an aspect to think of as are all running costs. Insurance quotes are a good idea to obtain before you choose your used car and find yourself getting stung. Think about the amount of passengers you carry on a regular basis and whether or not that gorgeous little sports car is practical for everyday use.
Consider whether the car is practical to keep clean if you have children and whether or not the two point five weeks of sunshine the British weather provides us with warrants a soft top. If you're at an age where you feel the need for a low-riding sports car with all the skirts and trim is the status symbol you need, think about the streets in your local vicinity and whether they are lined with speed bumps. If they are and you still decided to go ahead, you could look a little daft when you find yourself stranded on a sleeping policeman.
For the best time of year to be bagging yourself a nearly new bargain, wait until a registration change has taken place and try out the dealers for their recently traded in cars. You should be better placed to get yourself a nearly new car deal.
If you're into saving money on your road tax, a smaller engine size is something you may want to consider. Used BMW's are available in greener versions than a lot of other cars and this will also save you money on tax.
Be sure to get all the relevant paperwork signed and sealed with your purchase of a used car. One with a provable service history will show you it has been well taken care of and should see you alright for a few years to come.
When it comes to paying for your used BMW, used Rolls or used Fiat Panda a bankers draft is advisable and any genuine seller will be ok with this. It gives you a degree of protection against any faults found over the following period as will a credit card payment at a dealership.
Look after your car with the care and attention that you hope previous owners have shown it and you will get a few years good running out of it. You may even get some money back when you come to re-selling it.
Expert buyer Catherine Harvey looks at the system of purchasing a used BMW or other used car.