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Old 09-15-2014, 10:28 PM   #1
carconfusion
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Car experts: I have $16K...do I buy used, buy new, or lease???

I need advice! I am so lost...the more research I do, the more unsure I become.

I have never paid for a car and don't currently drive one, but am moving to LA and need one. I have $16k TOTAL to my name, but I just quit my full-time job and now doing lower-paying freelance, so I won't be increasing my savings much in the next 6 months or so. I like nice looking cars/features (espec SUVs) but need to be on a pretty tight budget. Also- I won't know for a while if I'll be in LA for just 6 months or several years.

Given my situation, I have 5 questions: (please answer any or all)

1) Am I candidate for leasing, buying used or buying new (low-end new)?

2) What down-payment can I afford / what type of monthly payment should I be aiming for?

3) It's possible I won't need a car anymore after 6 months... so in what situation (lease/used/new) would I lose the least amount of money if I had to give up the car in 6 months?

4) I don't have car insurance. Should I get that prior to leasing/buying the car or am I supposed to get it immediately after leasing/buying the car?

5) Which specific cars do you suggest I look into?

Of course, these are subjective questions with a lot of unknowns... but would love some general thoughts from people who know cars well!

Thank you!!!

Last edited by carconfusion; 09-16-2014 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 09-20-2014, 06:28 AM   #2
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Re: Car experts: I have $16K...do I buy used, buy new, or lease???

You'd be best off buying a quality used car.

Although they are rather boring, a honda civic or toyota corolla is a very easy car to obtain and then subsequently sell for almost the same price in California. I would look for one from the early to mid 2000's for one in the $5000-$7000 range
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Old 01-23-2015, 03:49 PM   #3
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Re: Car experts: I have $16K...do I buy used, buy new, or lease???

You would be much better off buying a used car to get you around LA. The best suggestion I have for you is to look at a SF Bay Area startup called Instamotor to help with your search. Using their service I was able to find decently priced options and eventually find the car for me. Instamotor is free to use and their process alleviates so much of the stress from buying a used car. I was able to connect with legit sellers avoiding the usual Craigslist scams and insane dealer ship up charge. They put all their cars through a multi-point mechanical inspection, gave me a free carfax, and handled the DMV transfer paperwork. They even found me a cheaper insurance premium and a financing plan that worked with my budget. In your scenario you could even use them to help you sell the car in 6 months if necessary. I'd suggest looking into a Prius, Camry, Corolla, or even a Malibu. I had a great experience with them and was very impressed with the service I received. Check out their website here http://bit.ly/1hGs8R9
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Old 02-20-2015, 01:52 AM   #4
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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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Old 11-25-2015, 02:38 AM   #5
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Re: Car experts: I have $16K...do I buy used, buy new, or lease???

You can get an employment loan and get a car and can also get the amount deducted from you salary every month. So read more of the your bargaining agreement rules to get the updates for the same.
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