Have you been in the market for a used car? Good luck finding a bargain: The price of “pre-owned’’ vehicles has climbed considerably over the past year. A three-year-old automobile today will set you back, on average, close to $20,000 — a spike of more than 10 percent since last summer. For some popular models, the increase has been much steeper. In July, a used Cadillac Escalade was going for around $35,000 or nearly 35 percent over last July’s price. Looking for an inexpensive auto under $5000.00 that is in good condition? Extremely difficult! Go down to under $3000.00, almost impossible. Why are used-car prices rocketing? Part of the answer is that demand is up: With unemployment high and the economy uncertain, some car buyers who might otherwise be looking for a new truck or SUV are instead shopping for a used vehicle as a way to save money.
But an even bigger part of the answer is that the supply of used cars is extremely low, because that same unemployment has created the Craigslist Car Dealer! This is a person who buys vehicles from private owners and who doesn’t sign a title and flips the car for more money. They do not have a dealer’s license or business location. About 75% of the cars listed on Craigslist under “Private Owners” are usually from these CL Car Dealers. How to spot them? They will have terrible write-ups with misspellings and photos from a camera phone. You have to be a detective, analyze the photos and make sure there are plates on the vehicle. When you call always state: “I am calling about the car you have for sale”. If they ask: “which one?” Most likely you’re speaking with a dealer. This dealer has no idea about the vehicle they are flipping and is only trying to make a profit. Keep in mind that many people are holding on to their older cars in this economy and would only be giving them up if there is an issue.
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