Used Car Buying Help

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oktax
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Used Car Buying Help

Post by oktax » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:13 am

Hi all:

I'm looking at buying a used car in the next few months and have several questions. I'm thinking about getting a Camry XLE but not 100% sure yet. 2015 models with low miles (around 20k) cost about $19,000 in my location. For comparison, new models are $28-32,000.

Toyotas obviously don't depreciate as fast as other vehicles, but it seems to me that buying a one owner car with low miles for 2/3 the purchase price of new isn't a bad deal. I could delay my purchase a few months and buy new. There are good financing deals available for new right now (0% and 1,000 cash back). But I've been planning on paying cash and am struggling with deciding whether the additional cost makes sense.

How would you evaluate the above?

I'd also consider looking at used Avalons. Not interested in buying a new one due to much higher cost for new, but with these it looks like I could get a lower miles used one for a few thousand more than used Camry. Avalon definitely looks more luxurious, but I also don't know whether doing this just gets me more car than I really need. Thanks for your input!

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midareff
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by midareff » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:23 am

I think $19K is too expensive for a three year old car that was probably about $28K new, three years ago. I'd work on getting the best deal possible through buying services, credit unions and so forth and go new. At three years old you have maybe one year of warranty left vs. 4 for new, that's worth something.

bsteiner
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by bsteiner » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:27 am

Are there still any new 2017 Camrys available? They were heavily discounted because the 2018 Camry is redesigned.

oktax
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by oktax » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:29 pm

Thanks for the replies. I'll have to look if there are any new 2017 models on the lot, but I haven't seen any.

It seems like a new one would be ideal given the high resale for the used models I've seen. But does that always hold true? I'm just about to finish paying off student loans and need a car because I've been borrowing one. We're renting and hoping to pick up a car and then start putting together a down payment. With this added context, do you still think spending an extra 10k on the car makes sense?

FrankLUSMC
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by FrankLUSMC » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:43 pm

Personally, I think the used car is the way to go. Find the best deal that you can. Don't buy a car for resale value, buy it to use it until it dies. You can probably get a good 10 years out of that 3 year old Camry, or Avalon whichever. If you are going to live with a car for 10 years, then the Avalon might be best, more comfort and luxury.

bloom2708
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:47 pm

Set a budget and then look for a used Lexus (Toyota luxury brand) within that budget.

I would buy an ES that is 1 or 2 years older than a Camry with the same miles.

This is my thought, but it seems there are more people looking for that perfect Camry. Someone looking for a Lexus might be shopping new. Probably an oversimplification, but it has worked well for us.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

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deanbrew
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by deanbrew » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:48 pm

The Avalon is significantly nicer than a Camry, with better materials and more features. We still have a 2002 Avalon that my wife bought new. It has 160k miles and is being used by our son. It's still a reasonably nice car to drive and ride in. If it depreciates more than a Camry, then I'd say it would make a better choice as a used car. Avalons only come with V6 engines, so that has to be considered if MPG is important. But the Avalon is definitely a nicer car.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

bbees
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by bbees » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:40 pm

Maybe try Hertz rentals for sales and/or a fleet ownership (you know they are serviced regularly).

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Watty
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by Watty » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:26 am

oktax wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:13 am
I'm thinking about getting a Camry XLE but not 100% sure yet. 2015 models with low miles (around 20k) cost about $19,000 in my location. For comparison, new models are $28-32,000.
Your prices sound way off, be sure to check those.

https://www.truecar.com/prices-new/toyo ... code=30062
oktax wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:13 am
I'm thinking about getting a Camry XLE but not 100% sure yet....

There are good financing deals available for new right now
The XLE is a pretty high end trim level, I would look at going down to at least the LE level especially if you have to finance the car.

Personally I don't like all the high end electronics they put in some cars since I tend to keep my cars for a long time and the electronics tend to be a problem area as a car ages and can be VERY expensive to repair.

It depends on the details of the numbers but I would probably buy a new LE version.

p0nyboy
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by p0nyboy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:33 am

$19k sounds high to me. I had a friend just buy a brand new one loaded for less than $27k.

For that price why not just buy a brand new corolla? Yea they're not as big, not as nice, etc...but its brand new.

Im all about buying used cars...if you can get a deal. $19k for a 3 year old camry isnt a deal.

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deanbrew
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by deanbrew » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:41 am

p0nyboy wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:33 am
$19k sounds high to me. I had a friend just buy a brand new one loaded for less than $27k.

For that price why not just buy a brand new corolla? Yea they're not as big, not as nice, etc...but its brand new.

Im all about buying used cars...if you can get a deal. $19k for a 3 year old camry isnt a deal.
Did your friend buy an XLE or a lower trim level? Toyota offers ten different Camry trim levels with MSRPs ranging all the way from $24k to $36k, depending on trim level, before even considering other options. So, saying "loaded" isn't particularly illuminating.

The Bogleheads board cracks me up sometimes. The response is often to buy a lower trim level or a smaller, cheaper model altogether. I get it. To some people, a car is nothing more than a way to get from Point A to Point B. To others - particularly to those who spend 300 to 700 hours a year in the car - performance, comfort and features are important.

Full disclosure: I just purchased a car, and bought the highest trim level, because I wanted ventilated seats, nicer leather and some other features only available on the top trim level. That would probably get me banned from Bogleland, were it not for the fact that the car was 18 months old and I saved about $9k compared to a new one.
"The course of history shows that as the government grows, liberty decreases." Thomas Jefferson

Maverick3320
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by Maverick3320 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:47 am

I've been using Cargurus to help shop for used cars. They have an algorithm that tells you up front whether the car is reasonably priced or not, and by how much. It's a very nice starting/reference point.

Maverick3320
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by Maverick3320 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:50 am

deanbrew wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:41 am
p0nyboy wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:33 am
$19k sounds high to me. I had a friend just buy a brand new one loaded for less than $27k.

For that price why not just buy a brand new corolla? Yea they're not as big, not as nice, etc...but its brand new.

Im all about buying used cars...if you can get a deal. $19k for a 3 year old camry isnt a deal.
Did your friend buy an XLE or a lower trim level? Toyota offers ten different Camry trim levels with MSRPs ranging all the way from $24k to $36k, depending on trim level, before even considering other options. So, saying "loaded" isn't particularly illuminating.

The Bogleheads board cracks me up sometimes. The response is often to buy a lower trim level or a smaller, cheaper model altogether. I get it. To some people, a car is nothing more than a way to get from Point A to Point B. To others - particularly to those who spend 300 to 700 hours a year in the car - performance, comfort and features are important.

Full disclosure: I just purchased a car, and bought the highest trim level, because I wanted ventilated seats, nicer leather and some other features only available on the top trim level. That would probably get me banned from Bogleland, were it not for the fact that the car was 18 months old and I saved about $9k compared to a new one.
I somewhat get the argument "I spend a lot of time in a car, therefore I should spend more $$$ on one". But the Boglehead aspect is pretty obvious: if you are spending that much time in a car, you're probably putting a lot of miles on it, and buying a more expensive car comes with a higher per-mile cost. It's a depreciating asset and spending more time in it depreciates it that much faster.

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bottlecap
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by bottlecap » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:05 am

oktax wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:29 pm
It seems like a new one would be ideal given the high resale for the used models I've seen. But does that always hold true?
The reason that the depreciation on Toyotas is low (and thus you pay a higher priced for a used one) is because they are good cars. Your problems with the car will be, on average, less than other makes.

So buy something that you want that is within your budget. Whether the resale is higher compared to other makes is immaterial.

Look at it this way: the used car market, made up of tens of millions of buyers (about 40 million used cars sold in 2016), has decided that used Hondas and Toyotas are worth more than other makes. The only way you lose by buying used is if a) you make a bad deal and/or don't do your homework or b) the national used car market is irrationally mispriced.

Is the market wrong because any one of us here says the used car price is too high and it makes more sense to buy new? Nope. On the contrary.

It is far more likely that the individual is wrong than is the collective. People, just about everyone - myself included, have a preference to buy new. The preference is based on emotion and fear, not reality. The average prices of used cars on the market today are far more reflective of reality.

JT

P.S. If you came here and said, "I would like to buy a new car. My most important concern is long term reliability," 85% of the responses would tell you to buy a Honda or Toyota for long term reliability. Ironically, if you asked, "Should I buy a used Honda or Toyota?," a majority would say "No, the used car prices on Hondas and Toyotas are too high, you should look at buying new." But the used car prices are higher than other makes BECAUSE of long term reliability, so the two statements are not reconcilable.

p0nyboy
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by p0nyboy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:18 am

deanbrew wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:41 am
p0nyboy wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:33 am
$19k sounds high to me. I had a friend just buy a brand new one loaded for less than $27k.

For that price why not just buy a brand new corolla? Yea they're not as big, not as nice, etc...but its brand new.

Im all about buying used cars...if you can get a deal. $19k for a 3 year old camry isnt a deal.
Did your friend buy an XLE or a lower trim level? Toyota offers ten different Camry trim levels with MSRPs ranging all the way from $24k to $36k, depending on trim level, before even considering other options. So, saying "loaded" isn't particularly illuminating.

The Bogleheads board cracks me up sometimes. The response is often to buy a lower trim level or a smaller, cheaper model altogether. I get it. To some people, a car is nothing more than a way to get from Point A to Point B. To others - particularly to those who spend 300 to 700 hours a year in the car - performance, comfort and features are important.

Full disclosure: I just purchased a car, and bought the highest trim level, because I wanted ventilated seats, nicer leather and some other features only available on the top trim level. That would probably get me banned from Bogleland, were it not for the fact that the car was 18 months old and I saved about $9k compared to a new one.
It was an XLE...and I didnt realize they had that many trim levels...guess he made out pretty good.

p0nyboy
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by p0nyboy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:18 am

Maverick3320 wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:50 am
deanbrew wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:41 am
p0nyboy wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:33 am
$19k sounds high to me. I had a friend just buy a brand new one loaded for less than $27k.

For that price why not just buy a brand new corolla? Yea they're not as big, not as nice, etc...but its brand new.

Im all about buying used cars...if you can get a deal. $19k for a 3 year old camry isnt a deal.
Did your friend buy an XLE or a lower trim level? Toyota offers ten different Camry trim levels with MSRPs ranging all the way from $24k to $36k, depending on trim level, before even considering other options. So, saying "loaded" isn't particularly illuminating.

The Bogleheads board cracks me up sometimes. The response is often to buy a lower trim level or a smaller, cheaper model altogether. I get it. To some people, a car is nothing more than a way to get from Point A to Point B. To others - particularly to those who spend 300 to 700 hours a year in the car - performance, comfort and features are important.

Full disclosure: I just purchased a car, and bought the highest trim level, because I wanted ventilated seats, nicer leather and some other features only available on the top trim level. That would probably get me banned from Bogleland, were it not for the fact that the car was 18 months old and I saved about $9k compared to a new one.
I somewhat get the argument "I spend a lot of time in a car, therefore I should spend more $$$ on one". But the Boglehead aspect is pretty obvious: if you are spending that much time in a car, you're probably putting a lot of miles on it, and buying a more expensive car comes with a higher per-mile cost. It's a depreciating asset and spending more time in it depreciates it that much faster.
+1

Rupert
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by Rupert » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:24 am

bottlecap wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:05 am
oktax wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:29 pm
It seems like a new one would be ideal given the high resale for the used models I've seen. But does that always hold true?
The reason that the depreciation on Toyotas is low (and thus you pay a higher priced for a used one) is because they are good cars. Your problems with the car will be, on average, less than other makes.

So buy something that you want that is within your budget. Whether the resale is higher compared to other makes is immaterial.

Look at it this way: the used car market, made up of tens of millions of buyers (about 40 million used cars sold in 2016), has decided that used Hondas and Toyotas are worth more than other makes. The only way you lose by buying used is if a) you make a bad deal and/or don't do your homework or b) the national used car market is irrationally mispriced.

Is the market wrong because any one of us here says the used car price is too high and it makes more sense to buy new? Nope. On the contrary.

It is far more likely that the individual is wrong than is the collective. People, just about everyone - myself included, have a preference to buy new. The preference is based on emotion and fear, not reality. The average prices of used cars on the market today are far more reflective of reality.

JT

P.S. If you came here and said, "I would like to buy a new car. My most important concern is long term reliability," 85% of the responses would tell you to buy a Honda or Toyota for long term reliability. Ironically, if you asked, "Should I buy a used Honda or Toyota?," a majority would say "No, the used car prices on Hondas and Toyotas are too high, you should look at buying new." But the used car prices are higher than other makes BECAUSE of long term reliability, so the two statements are not reconcilable.
+1. OP, 19K is what 3-year-old low-mileage Camry XLEs (also comparable Honda Accords) are going for in my region as well, and I've been monitoring prices for about 6 months now in anticipation of buying something myself in the near future. If you find one for much less than that in my neck of the woods, it's probably going to be offered by a private seller who either doesn't know what his/her car is worth (unlikely) or has damaged the car in some way and wants to get rid of it. Now, is it possible that used Camrys are cheaper in different parts of the country, perhaps where it snows a lot and front-wheel-drive Camrys aren't so popular? Sure, but I'm not paying to ship a Camry from northern Wyoming to my house.

My research has confirmed for me that buying gently-used Honda and Toyotas doesn't make a ton of financial sense. They just don't depreciate fast enough to make them great deals when bought gently used (they tend to be better deals when bought with 80K or more miles on them). So I'm leaning towards buying new when I find a good mfr's incentive. Late December and January seem to be good months to buy new. I'm still monitoring used prices though, but I'm finding that Hyundais, Kias, and American models are the best deals when bought used. So if you're willing to look at, say, a Hyundai Sonata, then used makes great sense.
Last edited by Rupert on Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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yukonjack
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by yukonjack » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:26 am

oktax wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:29 pm
Thanks for the replies. I'll have to look if there are any new 2017 models on the lot, but I haven't seen any.

It seems like a new one would be ideal given the high resale for the used models I've seen. But does that always hold true? I'm just about to finish paying off student loans and need a car because I've been borrowing one. We're renting and hoping to pick up a car and then start putting together a down payment. With this added context, do you still think spending an extra 10k on the car makes sense?
I don’t think you can go wrong with a new or used Toyota/Honda. I personally fall on the side of getting new Japanese and driving it for 10 plus years. Try expanding your search for a 2017 Camry that might be out of your immediate area. You are in a good position to drive a hard bargain on a 2017 given the recent Camry makeover.

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Watty
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by Watty » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:27 am

deanbrew wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:41 am
The Bogleheads board cracks me up sometimes. The response is often to buy a lower trim level or a smaller, cheaper model altogether. I get it. To some people, a car is nothing more than a way to get from Point A to Point B. To others - particularly to those who spend 300 to 700 hours a year in the car - performance, comfort and features are important.
The OP mentioned financing the car which makes considering a less expensive model a good choice to consider.

oktax
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by oktax » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:06 pm

Thanks for the replies. To clarify, I'm planning on paying cash for the car and can do so for used or new. I only mentioned financing because Toyota is running specials for 0% financing rates right now for new Camrys, and I could presumably benefit from making a substantial down payment, using some cash for something else needed (down payment for a house) and then paying the car off when I please.

The prices I'm seeing for used Camrys are as reported. I'm sure these vary by location, but even KBB tells me that 19k for a gently used 2015 Camry is a fair price. I of course would make a lower offer on the cash purchase, but I'm guessing dealers don't have much margin on these types of used cars.

Also, I'd prefer the higher trim for certain creature comforts that aren't available in the lower trim. And particularly in the used market, the lower trim isn't that much cheaper than the higher trim.

So my options come down to: (1) a gently used Camry XLE for around 19k. The benefits are the car should last a long time even while getting a discount from buying new (even though the discount from new may not be huge, it's still something); (2) a new Camry XLE for 28-32k, perhaps with the ability to talk them down to around 27k. The benefits are that it's new and I could possibly finance at 0% and use some cash for other current goals; or (3) a used Avalon, which is clearly a nicer car. The used market is strange in that I might be able to get one with similar miles to the gently used Camry for an additional 3k or so. The benefits are it's a nicer car and should last a long time, but it doesn't get as good of gas mileage.

It sounds like many of you would buy new, but I'm still leaning toward used.

260chrisb
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Re: Used Car Buying Help

Post by 260chrisb » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:23 pm

Don't buy new ever, don't buy down in class because the used Camry is the same as a new corolla, and NEVER buy a former rental car. Toyota builds about 500,000 of these every year and lots of them are leased and lots of them are traded in for the next new car or to move up in car at a Toyota dealership and often with low miles. Find one that is 3-4 years old and is a certified pre-owned car with a Toyota warrantee and low miles. This is a great time of the year to shop around. Good luck, great cars!

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