Best Things to Buy Used
Things You Should Buy Secondhand
There's something about being the owner of a brand-new piece of merchandise, and often that something is an empty wallet.
Although certain items are better bought new (underwear, mattresses) many can be found second-hand at dramatic savings without any compromise in quality.
You can find good deals when purchasing the following items secondhand:
Photo by samilubinetzki
Boats After an initial burst of enthusiasm, many boat owners realize they just don't have much time to spend out on the water. For this reason, you can often snag a catch for cheap, be it a simple kayak or canoe, standard motorboat, or luxurious cabin cruiser.
When checking out a boat, pay special attention to the hull; that's where the damage will be if the boat has been in a collision or run into an underwater hazard. Always insist on a test ride on the water to check for leaks and to make sure the mechanicals function as designed.
Bicycles Stand in a bicycle shop on the first nice spring day and you'll see customers thick as spawning salmon. By the time summer wanes, though, many of those newly acquired bikes will be gathering cobwebs, victims of good intentions. After sitting for a few years, many end up at garage sales or on Craigslist.
Bicycles are simple mechanical devices that don't wear out quickly even as they lose value, which means they can be had at a bargain, especially in the off-season.
Spin the wheels to see if they whirl true, run through the gears to make sure they shift, and check the tires for wear. If the bike passes your inspection, you're probably good to go at a price that should leave you smiling as you ride.
Photo by josepatau
Musical Instruments Trumpets and trombones and snare drums and violins are often youthful enthusiasms, and as musicians age out of the band scene (rock or marching), their old instruments often end up on the used market. You could score a bargain. But first, look for obvious signs of abuse (such as dents and scratches) and make sure the moving parts move freely.
Exercise Equipment The expanding waistline of the average American inspires many a purchase of elaborate exercise equipment. At some point, though, many owners who have come to use the equipment as an expensive coat stand decide to offer it for sale at a dramatically lower price point. Your gain, so to speak; their loss. Make sure all the parts are included and look for excessive wear on moving parts before carting off your prize.
Cars Surely you know the familiar refrain: the most expensive mile you'll ever drive is that first mile on the way home from the showroom. The depreciation is staggering. But with leased cars coming back on the market and generous guarantees for certified used cars, it doesn't make any sense to eat that depreciation just for the thrill of a new-car smell. You can put an air freshener that will replicate that smell in a used car and save yourself thousands of dollars.
Find a mechanic you can trust to check the car, see what Consumer Reports has to say about the make and model's reliability, and don't forget to consult CarFax, which provides a written history of the car's ownership and insurance claims.
Hand Tools The baby boomer generation is approaching retirement, and many people are choosing to downsize theirhomes and move into condos or retirement villages. This means that potentially thousands of households will be offloading their tool collections, so you'll have a great chance to stock up on tools that never wearout, such as hammers, pliers, planes, chisels, screwdrivers, and the like. Stay away from files and saws, though; these do wear out, although the wear might not be apparent.
Photo by teamstickergiant
Golf Clubs Thanks to the seductive advertising of the golf equipment industry, the average duffer comes to believe that new clubs will magically improve the old swing. This common delusion means excellent quality used clubs can sometimes be had for a relative song, especially late in the season. Make sure the shafts are straight and the heads are solidly attached. If you're lucky, you'll land a set that will surely improve your less-than-ideal swing.
Final Tips Of course, buying used requires that you be on your toes. Before cutting a deal, size up the seller. If other items are for sale, are they well maintained? Does the seller hold to the quoted price? Does the item match the description? Is it offered out of a car trunk in an alley behind a bar?
It's usually impossible online, but never pay before receiving your goods when buying face to face. Be prepared to walk away if a "bargain" doesn't pass the sniff test. In short, trust your instincts.