What’s up! In one of the previous post,I described my experience with renting a car in LA. Honestly, it wasn’t bad to drive a new Ford Mustang and feel like a king (if you have Mustang here, you are not king here though… :D) but I still try to stay humble here when it comes to my personal expenses and I’m trying to keep expenses as low as possible. Even I am financially supported by my Czech business, I feel I should invest money into my business instead of renting or buying expensive cars. When you see your first business in the U.S brings enough money, then you can always buy something better. Another reason is that if you come to America as a newcomer without previous history in banks and insurance companies, then your interests and fees will be very high. It is generally called here credit or credit history. We have a similar system in Europe and I have excellent credit in Czech but unfortunately, the system in Europe and in the US is not connected. You start here as a baby with no credit history. This is gonna be my favorite topic and I am going to share with you my experience on how to build the best credit as soon as possible. But let’s back to the cars!
So I decided to buy some cheap used car for the start in the US. My budget was max $10.000. I am the type of person who plans a lot all my future steps and I remember when I was yet in the Czech Republic I had been checking LA Craiglist very often in order to select some cars, I would possibly buy. You can forget about all your plans unless you see how it works here and how’s the market is aggressive and buying a used car is stressful!
You have generally two options how to buy used, cheap car:
- Buying a car from some dealer – It has probably the biggest plus that the dealer will help you transfer the title on your name (register car on you), help you with smog test, and obtain insurance for you. The disadvantage on the other hand is price. You will pay probably the standard market price.
- Buying car in private sales I like to learn new things and experience plus I have pretty close to the car business so I decided to choose this harder way. To be honest it is absolutely stressful because in LA Metro Area live almost 20M people so if someone post some nice car with a good price on the Craiglist you must be first, have cash in hand, and better call/text him/her that you want to come immediately to see the car. Trust me! The first time found nice Ford Focus nearby with low miles, first owner around $7.000. The car looked amazing and very well maintained. I texted the guy (it was Friday evening) We had a deal I would come the next morning around 9 AM. I went to get cash to ATM in order to be prepared just in case I would buy the car the next day. On Saturday I was just to leave my house and got a message: Sorry dude, I just sold the car to some guy who came with cash. I was angry but then I had similar stories with other people. You should always check for a clean title (the car was not involved in a serious crash) Another problem is that many people will write to the post the car is in excellent condition. I went to check the old BMW 525i e39 to the Hollywood area (about one-hour driving from my place when it is traffic) I have to admit, that the car looked amazing in the photos in the post. When I arrived it was literally the piece of shit. I was kind of desperate because I spent the whole weekend with these horrible experiences. Finally one Saturday evening I found a nice 2003 Mercedes C-Classe 240 (V6 with 170hp) W203 with low miles (88.000 miles). The price was only $3.900 The post was on Craiglist for 4 minutes so I texted the guy: Hi! Is your car still available? If yes I have cash in hand and can come in 30 minutes! He said: Okay, come, come. When I arrived after 30 minutes he told me OMG: Other five people already called me, that they wanna come with cash in hand (you can see how the market here, especially in LA is aggressive) The car was extremely maintained, we had a short drive and I said alright we have a deal. The guy who sold me the car was in his 30s and from Romania. My English was far better than his, even he claimed to me he has been here for six months. Anyway, his wife was Romanian-American born in the U.S. so we solved the papers with her. Then I gave them cash and asked them if they could ride a car to my place (I was there with Mustang). The guy said: alright, but give me $4.000 😀 I was exhausted from all day searching for cars and driving around LA so I said okay! They took the Mercedes to my place and then left. Some of you may ask: Did you pay an extra $100 for taking the car to your place (around 30 minutes driving – one way) Well, the time is here really expensive and I think that UBER would cost something like $60 or so but it would be complicated. Honestly, I was happy they helped me, they said you are from Europe too, we know how you feel in the country, we’ll help you!
In the end, the car has some problems but nothing serious. I will write the next post about the first auto service (oil change + tires replacement ) + smog test.
Summary, I am pretty sure that I bought this car under market price. I am satisfied the car looks good and the interior is super clean! Then, no oil leaks, AC is cold, engine and gearbox runs smoothly + now new oil and tires from me. I will sell the car in the future for at least $5.000 😀 Well, we’ll see!
Very important advice for anyone who is seeking anything anywhere in the US. Visit the Craiglist! It is something like an online market where people can post anything they want to offer, sale or buy.