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Old 02-20-2015, 01:52 AM   #4
nmikmik
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: San Diego, California
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Re: Car experts: I have $16K...do I buy used, buy new, or lease???

I really like the drdisque suggestions.

Don't get caught by slick websites like the Ninersfan415 suggested.
If somebody is providing service to you and makes it easier for you, you are the one that is going to pay for it, possibly many times over for what the service is worth
I'd try to see first how stable your employment is and see if you can use public transportation for the first month or so and see if it will possibly work for you on the long run. Weather in California is mild enough for you not to freeze or burn to death at the bus stop, especially this time of the year. I suspect that weather could be the reason you are in LA
If you must have your own transportation.
Answer this question to yourself - "How much do I know about cars?"
If the answer is - "Not much" - then you need someone's help. If you have a friend in LA that is verifiability knowledgeable about cars, negotiations, insurance etc. He/she could be worth their weight in gold to you.
If you are on your own, try going to public auctions on the weekend, pick couple of people out of the crowd that look like they know what they are doing and follow them around see how they look at cars. If they see you following them, they may scuff at you or possibly offer piece of advice if they feel like it. Don't buy the car there though, most of them are bottom of the barrel rejects from dealers or donated by someone who didn't want them and who doesn't want a decent running car, right?
You best source unfortunately still will be the Craigslsit , but with time, patience and experience you will be able to get something decent.
Please do yourself a favor and have a budget for the car, it's ok to be stingy and not spend your last penny on a pretty thing, no matter how sexy it may look. Do not buy an SUV, you will pay for gas more than you should and will have problems getting rid of it, especially if the gas prices go up and you know they will.
You will need insurance before you take the car off the lot or whatever. Insurance is also part of the owning the automobile, so research it with different companies see which one is reputable and reasonable on price, the cheapest one is not always the best, quite opposite. If you have Costco membership try them, not the best but reasonable imo.
Good luck,
Sorry for the rant
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2014 Chevy Spark EV - 3500 mi
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