Life can be tough for those drivers who are looking for a used car under 1000 dollars amongst cars at the bottom of the barrel. Finding a used car under 1000 dollars is an exercise in judicious inspection of vehicles that have their best years behind them. For lots of dealers and drivers, under $1000 is considered a “negligible value”, and after this point, a lot of vehicles get pushed toward the salvage yard. Still, there are a good many cars out there for under $1000 that still work, and a lot of drivers who are looking for them to get on the road with a very limited income or without much by way of cash assets. Here are some general tips for finding those gems among the piles of junk offered under the One Grand mark.
Forget about the dealer’s lot – As mentioned, any amount under $1000, or often $3000 for that matter, is considered negligible to dealers. They will not do the work of inspecting, writing warranties, and producing invoices for these autos, and so you will not find them on many lots. In the lots that do sell cars for under $1000, they are often sold “as is”, without a warranty, and in awful condition, with visible cosmetic damage and roughed-up interiors. For cars under $1000 that still look like cars, your best bet is a private sale.
Look in the car classifieds – The classified ads in your newspaper are a good resource for finding cars in the less than 1K price range. Drivers who feel that they have gotten all they can out of a car or truck will advertise it in the newspaper or online. They will generally use the lower “private party” blue book value, rather than the dealer’s resale value. The car may be in decent working condition, but with problems that require work done to pass inspection, or failed features, or other undesirable conditions, where the car is worth about $900 in their pocket.
Look for OBO – Some car sellers who place classified ads include the letters OBO which stands for “or best offer”. Use one of these ads to negotiate a deal just under $1000. For example, if the car is listed $1200 OBO, that is a good lead on a ride for less than 1K.
Negotiate with your private party seller – When it comes to getting the price you want on a used car, the details are everything. Know how to bring up failed features, cosmetic damage and other conditions respectfully, but fairly. Don’t argue with a seller who wants an unreasonable price, just move on. Find sellers who understand your situation and can stand some room to adjust on a deal. Good equitable discussions on value can leave everyone satisfied.
These basic tips can help you score a ride when all you have is $999 in the bank.