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Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Old Mar 9th 2014, 4:35 am
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Default Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

I moved to the US ~6 months ago and have managed to get by so far without a car... but now I'm getting to the point where I think I really need one to get the most out of life here.

I've looked into short term leases and long term rentals, but both have turned out to be quite expensive. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be in the US, but it will definitely be another 3-9 months so I'm trying to figure out if it's worthwhile to buy a user car outright and try to maximize the resale value when I come to sell it on.

Any recommendations on makes/models which tend to hold their value over relatively short periods of time (e.g. whether it's better to go for a large initial "investment" in a higher end model vs. spending as little as possible on an old/low end model and consider it as a sunken cost)?
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 4:50 am
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

I think a lot depends on your own personal preferences and what you intend to use the car for.

If you just want a car to make some things more convenient, but you are not dependent on it, I would be tempted to go for something really cheap (and take the risk of of it needing repairs or not being reliable) and regard any money that I could get for it in 6 to 9 months time as being a bonus.

Remember that, in most states, you will be paying some kind of sales or transfer tax based on the value of the vehicle - the more expensive the vehicle the more you will have to pay.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 5:11 am
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

As you've managed this long, I'd just rent as and when you need a car. It might not be the cheapest solution, but you don't have to worry about repairs, shop around for insurance, or dispose of it before you leave.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 5:28 am
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Look into taking over someone's lease...a few sites around for that kind of thing. People move, lose job, whatever and can't keep the car lease going.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 3:51 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
As you've managed this long, I'd just rent as and when you need a car. It might not be the cheapest solution, but you don't have to worry about repairs, shop around for insurance, or dispose of it before you leave.
+1.

Enterprise will even pick you up and drop you off when renting from them.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 3:56 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
As you've managed this long, I'd just rent as and when you need a car. It might not be the cheapest solution, but you don't have to worry about repairs, shop around for insurance, or dispose of it before you leave.
Thanks - this is the main reason I haven't bought one yet.

I tend to rent for 1 week every 4-6 weeks for ~$220 a week including LDW/CDW. Obviously I'd prefer to have the use of a car all of the time, which is why I was considering buying (getting by vs. having an easier life and being able to do more things). But like you said, I've got to weigh up the cost of buying/repairs/inruance/resale vs. the cost of rental and opportunity cost of only having a rental car every on a sporadic basis.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

If you have AAA or a membership to one of those bulk stores like BJ's/Sams/Costco, you get get some decent weekly discount rates on a rental.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
If you have AAA or a membership to one of those bulk stores like BJ's/Sams/Costco, you get get some decent weekly discount rates on a rental.
Thanks - I've found Expedia.co.uk to be the cheapest for rentals - they offer very similar prices to CostCo ($205 per week at CostCo vs. $220 per week at Expedia) but Expedia also gives you LDW and CDW included.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

That's pretty good going then

Also, have you looked at Zipcar? I hear they've gotten pretty expensive lately though, well in the Boston area, but might be handy if you only needed the car for a few hours at a time, but a bit costly if you wanted to go away for the weekend kind of thing.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 4:31 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
That's pretty good going then

Also, have you looked at Zipcar? I hear they've gotten pretty expensive lately though, well in the Boston area, but might be handy if you only needed the car for a few hours at a time, but a bit costly if you wanted to go away for the weekend kind of thing.
Yes, I've had a look at the local equivalent (Enterprise Car Share) - it does work out pretty cheap if you just want to rent for an hour or two, but anything longer than that makes it worthwhile to head to the airport instead and rent for a day.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

As Bob said, a lease takeover might work. I've done it before and as long as you make sure all the paperwork is done properly, it's safe.
http://www.leasetrader.com/lease/
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 7:03 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Originally Posted by bah View Post
.... head to the airport instead and rent for a day.
No! Head anywhere other than the airport. Cars rented from an airport are loaded up with fees and additional taxes. Renting from a remote office or agency, such as a car dealer or hotel, will save you money.
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 8:09 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
No! Head anywhere other than the airport. Cars rented from an airport are loaded up with fees and additional taxes. Renting from a remote office or agency, such as a car dealer or hotel, will save you money.
Sadly the airport is the only place that's accessible without a car, other than a downtown Avis and Hertz who are quite a bit more expensive than the airport rental agencies (Alamo, Thrifty, Enterprise, National, Dollar). Sometimes even the airport Hertz and Avis are cheaper than the rip off downtown locations!
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Old Mar 9th 2014, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Buying a car for short term (~3-9 months)

Originally Posted by bah View Post
Sadly the airport is the only place that's accessible without a car, other than a downtown Avis and Hertz who are quite a bit more expensive than the airport rental agencies (Alamo, Thrifty, Enterprise, National, Dollar). Sometimes even the airport Hertz and Avis are cheaper than the rip off downtown locations!
Enterprise will pick you up and drop you off at no extra charge. I've used them a lot at various locations.


http://www.enterprise.com/car_rental/home.do

Enterprise offers a wide variety of car leasing, replacement rentals, vanpooling, car sharing and hourly rental programs – and local car rental customers are picked up at no extra cost. In addition, the Enterprise Holdings Foundation has contributed more than $200 million to thousands of local non-profits focused on community improvement, education and environmental stewardship.
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