As the name would suggest, buying a luxury car can be an expensive business. It is also likely to take up a lot of time as you search for, research and test drive all of those that catch your eye. A great deal will depend on the condition, rarity and age of the vehicle, as well as your own personal preferences. After all, while modern German saloons are ten a penny, a classic Rolls Royce may prove to be a little more challenging to track down. So how should you go about buying a luxury car?
The first and possibly most important lesson is to have realistic expectations. Second hand luxury cars will generally hold on to their value, particularly if they are rare models or have low mileage. As such, you can’t expect to pay a few thousand quid just because it’s not fresh off the production line.
If you’re not a car aficionado, and even if you are, make sure you do a little research into the likely cost of your desired model. Unless it’s a classic or limited edition, most cars will lose value over time. This is largely due to the development of newer, better equipped vehicles, as well as the wear and tear that comes with regular use. The level of depreciation can vary wildly; again a lot will depend on the individual model, its popularity and availability.
So for instance, a standard Mercedes S-Class may lose a greater percentage of its value within five years than say a Maybach 57 or 62. This is simply down to specification and production levels, as well as demand within the market. There isn’t a hard and fast rule with depreciation though, which is why it’s important to do your research and adjust expectations accordingly.
As we’ve mentioned, even second hand luxury cars come with a certain price tag. So if you’re going to part with your hard-earned cash, it’s important that you know exactly what it is that you’re getting. Most specialist dealers and even auction houses will take the time to test the vehicle and ensure that it is immaculately turned out for buyers. With various independent checks carried out, all supporting documentation provided and even a warranty in some situations, this can provide invaluable reassurance.
The same won’t necessarily be true if buying from a private seller. In this situation, it is always worth asking as many questions as possible and maybe even pay for an independent evaluation. You should also look to ensure that it has all relevant documentation attached and that this is all fully up-to-date; therefore eliminating any doubts about mileage or any potential underlying issues.
While most sellers are entirely honest, you may just need to be a little bit careful. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and most won’t mind if you ask questions or wish to have a trained professional give the vehicle a once over, as long as this is discussed and agreed beforehand. After all, if you’re going to be handing over between £20,000 and £100,000, then you don’t want to end up with a pile of scrap metal on wheels.
Be Prepared To Use All Available Resources
Nothing can compare to seeing a car in the flesh, but if you’re looking to get an idea of specification, performance and any issues that owners have encountered, the Internet is a great resource. Equally, if there’s a specific model that you’ve got your heart set on, then getting online can make it much easier to locate. Even if a little travel is required, when you aren’t prepared to compromise, it’s important that you use all the resources available to make sure that the opportunity doesn’t pass you by.
For those who are a little more flexible and are perhaps torn between a few models and luxury car manufacturers, the wealth of information and independent advice that is now available should help to steer you away from any dodgy motors. You can compare prices, specifications and seek expert reviews from the comfort of your own home, so why not take advantage of all this free information?
So don’t rush in, make sure you take a good look at the car and generally find out as much as you can. While there will always be risks associated with buying second hand cars, particularly where larger amounts of money are involved, these can be reduced just by taking a little extra care. Whether buying at an auction, through a specialist dealer or independent seller make sure you ask questions, take a look at the engine and thumb through the documentation before signing on the dotted line.
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