Used Car Purchase: better to wait until after January 1st?

Hi there!

I am new to posting to the forum, but I did try to search first before creating this discussion. I had a question that really revolves around car depreciation I guess.

I live in zip 46307 and the van I am looking to purchase is a used Honda Odyssey, Touring trim. I am looking at either 2011 or 2012. I am looking primarily at listings that have less than 30k miles on them. My question (and please forgive me if I am very ignorant here)- if I wait to purchase car after the first of the year, so it is officially 2014…should I be able to get a “2011” or “2012” significantly cheaper since it is another year older (this is assuming the mileage remains the same)?

I have my eye on a few listings right now, but I keep wondering if I just wait a month, will I be in a better place to negotiate because we have technically entered a new year…

Really appreciate the advice if you have any- thank you very much!

I’ve always heard that right before Christmas is a great time to buy - because everyone is dying for extra commission to get them through the holidays.

However, I have never worked anywhere near the car sales business. So what you are getting from me is total double-hearsay.

My only input they had great deals and financing for new when I bought my last truck. I was tried to get talked into a used vehicle, the price for the used was more than my price for new, so I bought new, do not consider used always means a better deal.

Thank you cigroller and barkydog!

Here in the SF Bay area, real estate estate prices tend to peak a bit in the spring, then droop a bit later in the winter. So I think there may be a small effect to what you say, where the price of a used 2011 falls a bit more than would be expected for a one day increment on Jan 1 2014. But it isn’t anything close to a one year jump. Sellers generally understand how time progresses.

Making sales goals at the end of the month or quarter are important for new cars, which would mean the last few days before New Years. But I don’t know if that applies to used cars.

The 2014 models have been on the market for months already. The values of these cars will not change on January 1. If you live in a cold and snowy area this could a good time to purchase a car.

The only way to know is to make an offer. Find the car you like, test/look etc and know how much you want to pay. Then go there on December 24 and make an offer. Repeat on New Year’s eve. If this didn’t work, you might have to wait until the end of January.

Honda’s have high resale and around here a new one is cheaper than a used 2011-2012. The way it works is on new ones you can get a discount off MSRP. The used ones are priced according to MSRP of the new ones, so the book values are higher than a good deal on a new car.

Check the price of a new one on and also a 2012 with ~24K miles on and see.

It doesn’t work that way. The value won’t change on January 1. The sales people do become more aggressive though toward the end of the month or year so I’d get it done before the first of the year. We’ve bought on December 30th and done pretty well. I agree though, compare prices for new. There may not be much of a difference at all and you don’t have to worry about the oil being changed and whether it was abused, and you also get a warranty.

If you buy the car before Dec. 31, 2013 you can take the deduction for sales tax when file your '13 tax return. If you wait until after Jan. 1 then you can’t take the deduction until you file your '14 taxes in March or April of 2015. On a newer car the sales tax can be a big item in your taxes.

Can you wait to February?? That historically has been one of the best times to buy. Not a lot of people are buying so salesmen are trying to get any deal they can. But don’t wait til April/May. A lot of people start shopping for new vehicles then…and the deals dry up.

Thank you for all the great advice and insights! I will definitely have to see if I can make it work to make an offer just before year end and see what the difference in price is between used and new. Right now, at face value (which I know can be deceiving!) they are about $10-$12k different, which for my family is too much at this time. When I checked a few weeks ago, the only incentive with Honda for the odyssey was 1.9% financing for 60 months, but I can look again.

Thank you again for the valuable feedback!

I’ve had good luck on cold rainy days towards the end of February when I’m the only customer in the showroom.

Ed B.

You might be able to get a better deal on a new, left-over 2013 model right now than a used 2011 or 2012. They’d probably be more willing to negotiate, since most used Hondas are “If you don’t pay what we want, the next guy through the door will”