Buying a used car is always a little nerve-wracking, but when you're going to rely on that car to transport your family safely, the experience can be downright harrowing. To help take the stress out of buying a used family car, check out this quick guide to buying the perfect used SUV for your family.

Balance what you need, want and can afford

The features that you need in your next family car should drive your decision on the right make and model to purchase. Safety is of the utmost importance for a family vehicle, so prioritising a model with good safety features is important. What will you be using the car for? If you're an outdoorsy family you may need a four-wheel drive, however the average Australian family can get away with a two-wheel drive model for better fuel economy and on-road handling. A large family will want a third row of seats, and if you have young children the ease of access to tether points and car seat fitting will influence your decision.

Easy to clean seats, extra storage, back seats that fold flat and a rear door that you can stand underneath without bumping your head are also nice extras. Take the time to research suitable models that meet the needs and wants of your family, while remaining within your budget. If your family requires or desires a range of new and specific features in your used SUV, you may need to consider spending more money. A used car loan with a competitive, low interest rate may be worthwhile to ensure your family has a safe, comfortable care that will last for years to come.

Inspect and test drive before you buy

Once you have found a potentially perfect SUV for your family car, don't rush in to buy before you try! Check the log book for a consistent service history and major repairs in the past. Take the time to inspect any car that you plan to buy- if you don't have experience in this area, take a friend or family member along to check the vehicle over. You can employ a local mechanic to take a look while you're taking a test drive, and while getting a full pre-purchase inspection may cost a few hundred dollars, it's an excellent way to avoid serious mechanical problems looming in your future. Having a professional safety inspection is also essential before you buy to ensure your family will be safe and secure on the road.

Negotiate with the seller

Sure, you could swoop in with a wad of cash and offer the seller the exact price listed for sale. Polite and respectful negotiation with a used car seller is part of the experience for both parties, and could save you some serious cash if you can talk the price down. If you've spent the time doing your research, you'll have a good idea of the market value of your desired model. Take any wear and tear, necessary repairs, high odometer reading, tyre tread and registration length into account when making a reasonable offer to the used car seller. If the second and third row seating have been significantly worn by the previous family, negotiate a lower price for the impact this will have on your use of the car. For more negotiation tips, check out these guides to negotiating with a private seller or car dealer.

For information and advice on financing the perfect SUV for your family, chat with your local finance providers today.