Fayez (Fred) Farah is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to purchasing used cars. Fayez Farah owns and operates North Star Motors, a new and used car dealership. He has an extensive background in buying, trading, and selling new and used cars. Fayez Farah is going to provide us with the most important steps we need to take when purchasing a used car.

Step one: Budget and expected price

The very first thing to do is to calculate how much you can afford. Do you want to finance the vehicle and make monthly payments, or do you want to pay for the car all at once? Fayez Farah explains, “If you’re going to finance the vehicle, you will still need to put down a substantial amount of cash depending on the cost of the vehicle.” He continues, “You will probably need around two thousand dollars. After that, the payments will be monthly with added interest.”  The interest rate will depend on how good your credit is. Interest can range anywhere from five percent to twenty percent. Fayez Farah concurs, “This is definitely something to think about. If you don’t have any credit or you have bad credit, you will probably just need to save up and purchase the car in one payment.”

Step two: Determine the make and model

After you have figured out your budget, you should decide on what make and model you like, but most importantly what you can afford. Fayez Farah states, “I would recommend looking at CarGuru. Their site pulls from numerous other sites.” There is a way to filter through the website and find what you are looking for. Fayez Farah continues, “As I stated, you will need to know what year and model you are looking for, along with mileage.” How many miles are too many miles? Fred Farah answers, “It depends how long you want the car to last and if you are willing to pay for repairs along the way. The more miles the car has, the more repairs you’ll need to make. In my opinion, it’s not worth it to continuously make repairs.” This makes your vehicle unreliable and will likely cost more than monthly payments. Fred Farah continues, “That said, if you need a car this minute, then go ahead and get what you can afford and save up for something better. I only recommend that if you’re desperate.”

Step three: Decide on a dealership or an individual seller 

Fred Farah admits, “I am wary of buying from an individual just because there’s a chance they could be hiding or concealing damages or issues with the car. On the other hand, there are some individuals that keep track of every oil change and every repair that’s ever been made to the car.” He continues, “Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and find an individual that hardly drove their car for one reason or another. This is great because the car is older, so the value or price has gone down, but it doesn’t have a ton of miles on it.” Fred Farah explains, “The only issue with that, is that it might be difficult to find parts for the car if it does need repairs.” Obviously, at a car dealership, you know they’ve checked the car and prepared it for the buyer. That’s not to say that you can’t take the car to your mechanic and have them check it out. You should attempt to do that either way.” 

Step four: Get the vin number 

Fred Farah emphasizes, “This is probably the most consequential part about buying a car. Go to a website like CarFax and enter the VIN number in their database. They will provide you with a report about the vehicle. If the report says the frame of the car was ever damaged, pass on it. If the car was ever in a wreck or was reported a total loss, you do not want to purchase it.” 

Step five: Test drive the vehicle

Lastly, take the car for a test drive. Fred Farah claims, “There have been times I’ve driven a car and it just didn’t feel good. Especially with older sports cars. People tend to drive those cars irresponsibly and neglect repairs. After a while they just don’t drive like they once did.” Remember, you can check out North Star Motors and take any car for a test drive if you live in Texas!

Fred (Fayez) Farah is the owner of North Star Motors, an independent car dealer in Houston, Texas and Okley Construction.