Buying a New Used Lexus GS300

After my last accident I needed a new car, and I finally got around to buying one….my new (used) black 1999 Lexus GS 300.

WHY A LEXUS?
I was thinking of buying another Toyota Camry because it was such a great car, but I decided to step it up a notch and go with a Lexus…..same great quality with a little more luxury. The rational thing to do was buy a relatively cheap new car for the same price, but many times the rational thing isn’t the most fun! I’ve saved up a bit of money over the years, and I was prepared to drop around $16k on a car…..which doesn’t exactly afford the nicest of new car.

I decided I wanted a used 1998+ Lexus GS 300 with under 100,000 miles. Research showed me this is a very long-lasting and reliable car….not to mention Lexus has been the consistently rated the #1 most reliable car for years.

On a very superficial level, your car says something about you. I wanted to go for the young professional look (not sure how professional I am) but I didn’t want to spend $45,000+ on a BMW or new Lexus.

— — — — — — — — — —

SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT CAR:
Perusing Craigslist, AutoTrader and Yahoo Autos for a few weeks made it clear that all the good deals on private party Lexus’ in Texas were in Dallas which is about 3 hours away from Austin.

I passed on a few deals I shouldn’t have because they were in Dallas, but finally I found a good one and rented a car to Dallas. Patience was key here. I was getting a little hasty at first because I just wanted to get this whole car thing over with. I’m glad I waited a little bit longer for another good deal to come along.

— — — — — — — — — —

RENTING CAR, WITHDRAWING CASH:
I got a one-way airport-t0-airport rental car from Austin to Dallas, so I could ditch the car if the deal went through and had to drive the Lexus back from Dallas. Since I’m under 25 there was a fee, there was also a fee for one-way drop off, and I also got upgraded insurance (juuuuust in case) which brought my total to $113 for the entire rental car, plus a $30 tank of gas in the end.

The night before the car rental I went to my local Bank of America and withdrew $15,000 in cash. That $15,000 involved a lot of hard work and savings over the years, yet it fit snuggly inside two small envelopes. I just HAD to play around with it!


$15,000…..Not as impressive looking as it sounds.

Money smells funny.


I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do this!

Years of saving and hard work = Half inch stack of paper.

— — — — — — — — — —

BUYING THE CAR
I finally met up with the guy in Dallas after visiting several Lexus dealerships and viewing some other private party cars around town. Did a quick test drive, went through my check-list of things to look for and decided to seal the deal. In the end it came to $15,000 in cash even.




Sitting pretty on the driveway. 1999 Lexus GS 300 with 65K miles.

— — — — — — — — — —

BEING FORCED TO GET A LOAN
I wanted to pay for this car in cash, and I did…..however I DON’T want to miss this opportunity to put a loan on my credit report. Therefore I’ve already arranged to have a $10,000 loan taken on the car from a Federal Credit Union. All I have to do is transfer the car title to the credit union for collateral, they write me a $10,000 check and I make monthly payments which looks good on my credit.

I wish the whole credit system worked in favor of people who pay off their cars in cash, otherwise I would never take this step.

— — — — — — — — — —

INSURANCE
I’ve got GEICO insurance which was a pretty pleasant experience, and since I was in two wrecks in the last 3 years (My fault or not), my insurance for the Lexus is $1,080 for 6 months….yikes. The original quote they gave me was for $650 for 6 months….until that pesky little driving record was pulled up.

— — — — — — — — — —

So I finally get to cross “Buy a new car” off my to-do list. So far the car has been wonderful, and I’m very glad I bought it. For some reason the most fascinating part of this whole experience…….I have seat warmers!

Blog posted on: February 12, 2007

50 comments on “Buying a New Used Lexus GS300

  1. Anonymous

    How much are you paying for the FCU Car Loan? Whatever it may be I think it is a steep price to pay to raise your credit. A better option is just to use your credit card and pay it off each month or pay other good debt, such as student loans, in full every month.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Car looks good, how many miles did it have? I also agree with the above comment, unless you got an insane rate, there are better ways to up your credit than paying interest on $10,000 for no reason other than to build up credit.

    Also, slight grammar error:

    “Patients was key here.”

    Should be patience :)

    Tri Megatech Technology Solutions

    Reply
  3. Sami

    Put that 10K from FCU to an online savings account that pays at least the interest rate you’re paying on that loan, (assuming the loan rate is around 5%), so you can offset the $800 (assuming a 36-month loan)interest you’ll be paying “to strengthen you credit history”. Alas, it was a dumb move.

    Reply
  4. Slim

    Nice car.

    I was excited for you that you paid cash, but then I was disappointed that you got a loan to improve your credit score. Was that move really to improve the score, or did you just want the $10k close by? Who cares what your credit score is when you pay for stuff with cash???

    I love cars (see my link) but I hate putting that much hard cash on a depreciating asset.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Unless you can save $ by getting that loan (you alternative investment makes more than the interest you pay), else it’s a BAD idea…

    the good thing about the car is the relatively low mileage… good luck…

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Maybe, you will not be so non-chalant about your driving record in the future as you have been in the past.
    We have insurance for two drivers, two cars (one brand new & expensive) insured in CA and we are paying less then twelve hundred a year. The only exception that we are over twenty five.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Great post… your pics are always hilarious.

    Don’t you mean you’ll get to cross the car purchase off your “anti-to-do” list?

    Reply
  8. Marco

    Congrats Nev…how many people can drop 15k cash on a Lexo and still be cool….at 24!! Not many bro. You are on track no matter what anyone says. To all the financially smart anon’s out there, my question is where is your blog that shows you buying luxury cars with cash? I rest my case. Shake em off Nev. -Peace, Marco

    Reply
  9. Spence

    Any Toyota or Lexus (kind of the same thing) will last you 200,000 miles without much of a sweat.

    Most reliable cars on the road, so great choice!

    Reply
  10. moneymonk

    Nice Car Nev. You are moving up now!

    All the girlies will want you more !!! LOL

    Nice taste Nev. I love Lexus cars.

    Congrats on the Young Professional look :)

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    Hopefully, you can
    put 300,000+ miles
    on the car.

    _____________________
    I have 300,000+ miles
    on my ’88 Accord.
    _____________________
    How did I do it, by
    not listening to
    the “mechanics.”
    ____________________
    And also, financially
    not able to buy a
    new or used car.
    _____________________
    But, all in all,
    forced me to learn
    all kinds of cheating

    tactics used by
    car mechanics.

    #1 tactic:
    scare tactic and
    out and out lying
    by the car mechanic.

    Worst offender:
    car dealer auto repair departments, followed by “independent”
    one or two car bay repair
    shops.
    __________________________

    If the car moves and doesn’t leak anything, then
    don’t go to the car
    mechanic, unless it is
    for the basic “oil change.”

    Abide by this
    rule like your car life
    depended on it !!!!!!!

    Then you should be OK.
    _____________________
    SAT. FEB. 17, 2007/
    2/17/ 2007. SATURDAY.
    _________________________

    Reply
  12. Adam

    You should forget the loan. If you wanted a loan you should have gone pre-owned at a dealership. Did a mechanic check out this Lexus? 8 years old and 65k for $15 cash….some what odd to me. Many other ways to build up your credit. Since you bought yourself a car with cash, you saved yourself from debt. But one of the other people have a point, put the money in an online savings account, however I think you might use the money to fund your bodymonkey or something.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Getting a Loan is the dumbest thing you could have done. You actually dropped your credit score by doing so.

    You’ve increased your Utilization to 100% on the loan and you’ve now more inquiries. Opening a credit card account and keeping it at 0% utilization would have done the same thing without the cost.

    Reply
  14. Patrick

    car loan isn’t the smartest idea, dude. you paid cash for a car that will depreciate in value, and you’re paying someone else money for the use of money you don’t need.

    take the difference between what your car is worth in a year and what you paid for it and add that the interest you paid the credit union and you’ll tally up the significant financial mistake you made.

    you might be good at coming up with business ideas, but you sure dont seem to be very experienced when it comes to actually managing the cash.

    you’re young and will learn.

    Reply
  15. Tim

    $15k is on the low end of retail for the car, so i think you probably got a good deal. Especially considering that it has over $65k, which should mean that the previous owner had major maint. done to it like new brakes, new tires (which I see in the ad was), etc. since the previous owner had all service records, it would be easy to see if he/she had the major service maint done.

    $10k loan is fine to build credit. especially if you got the loan for lower than what you could earn in a more secure investment. car loans are different than CC as far as usage, since you dont’ have a credit limit on a loan.

    I’d check with Geico and/or your FCU about discounts for being a FCU member. Normally, Geico will provide discounts for FCU members. just think, another year and the insurance rates should decrease. speaking of which, you alluded to driving record. you might opt to take an online (or go to blockbuster and rent) driver safety course. it is really boring, but it will get you discount on your insurance in texas. also, texas also allows you to take a driver safety course if you get like a speeding ticket, which you can avoid having the ticket listed on your driving record as well as not having to pay the fine. The only caveat is that if you already took the course, then you wouldn’t be eligible since you’d have to take the course afterwards.

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    Please bring back the comments section. I liked reading people’s responses, even if there was occasionally spam. Couldn’t you just use a spam-filter of some sort???

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    Luxury cars are very nice, but by the time they age to the point where I would be able to afford them, all the “sensors” that cost $3000+ to fix are going bad. And the sensors definitely impact reliability. Just part of the overall planned obsolescence (like Cadillac’s useless, 7-year old OnStar units).

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    Nev, don’t let these naysayers get you down. They are looking at this “car loan” from a very black and white perspective. People say that car loans are bad because you are paying interest on something where the value almost always depreciates the longer you own the car. However, this is a very one sided view. Here are some benefits from having a car loan (assuming you are getting the loan to upgrade vehicles):

    1) As you stated it will build credit. Credit cards will do the same thing if you pay them regularly. But a larger purchase like a car will help your credit score.

    2) Vehicle reliability. Some newer cars are more reliable than older cars. If you do research (like you did) getting a car that runs consistently without failure and gets good fuel efficiency will save you money in the long run. My father always told me that if car repairs (and other maintenance expenses) start to add up to more than a car payment, get a new car.

    3) Safety. Newer cars are safer than older cars. Doing proper research on Consumer Reports can help steer you to a car that will protect you from the next uninsured inconsiderate person that hits you.

    4) Some cars depreciate less than others. The two cars I purchased new I made sure had a very slight depreciation curve. That way if I had to sell them I wouldn’t owe that much left over on the loan.

    I have owned 3 cars in my life, 2 of those purchased new. I got a new Honda with a loan of 3% APR and a new BMW with a loan of 5%. I still own the Honda years after it was paid off (190K+) and it runs great. Why did it get it? Reliability. Same thing with the BMW. I got it because my wife and I needed a second car and it was reliable, had the safety features we liked, and got 25-30 mpg.

    Do I regret the loans? No. The APR was quite low compared to the average auto loan and they both helped to build my credit. Could I have paid more on each car to have less of a loan? Maybe. But instead I invested that extra money and made a 16-24% return on my investment.

    If done responsibility and with a little foresight, car loans are not a bad choice. It’s when people decide they want the most they can afford (without thinking if they really need all the extras) and then get a loan with a very high APR that they get into trouble.

    One more thing – When buying a used car always have it checked out by a third party mechanic before buying it. That way you can be certain you are getting a fair deal.

    Reply
  19. Jaded Consumer

    Congratulations on the new-to-you used Lexus! I am considering a used Lexus for my household after my latest experience with Mercedes ….

    A few years ago, when Mercedes began offering a Diesel to the North American market again, I bought one (and sadly, “new” was the only game in town). The upshot? I can get 37mpg on the freeway in a car that’s safe as it gets, but it’s got lots of issues, and I don’t dare own it out of warranty.

    The beginnings of my rant on this car are here:
    http://jadedconsumer.blogspot.com/2008/06/all-that-is-gold-does-not-glitter-why-i.html

    So while I was investigating the alternatives, I met several people who have been thrilled to death with their experiences in Lexus models bought through pre-owned programs.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    Patience is key. I appreciate your sense of humor, too. We have to have a good sense of humor when searching for a used car!

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    Nev,

    I quick question… I know this is an old post, but could you describe how the transaction went down when you made this purchase with cash? Weren't you kind of nervous? I love the idea of buying with cash but I would be a little freaked out and would probably just write a check. Thanks,

    Anony2Tommy

    Reply
  22. Zander Chance

    Walking around with $15K in cash is just plain stupid. Why didn’t you just opt for a bank check instead?

    I realize this post is pretty old.. How is the car holding up? Any issues or anything?

    Reply
    1. Neville Post author

      Zander,

      The car so far has been EXCELLENT! I’ve put over 35,000 new miles on it since then and haven’t had a problem yet.

      Definitely happy with the purchase….I also never got that loan I talked about in the post. I simply paid it off in cash and that was that.

      I used cash only because I didn’t KNOW these people, I met them over Craigslist. If I showed up and handed them a check (which is just a piece of paper), they’d be reluctant to simply let me drive away with a car.

      For this reason I figured cash would be better and make them comfortable to give me the car at a lower price.

      There’s something very powerful about handing over thousands of dollars IN CASH to someone!

      Reply
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  24. Ivy

    Hi Nev,
    I’ve just came to US and I need a car. So far I’ve found 1999 Lexus GS300 with 120k miles on it, the price is around 6000$. I don’t know much about car and the price also, so I searched on Internet and found your blog. It’s such a interesting website. But with your experiences, can you tell me that if I should buy that car or not?Thanks for your time.

    Reply
  25. Pingback: 2011 Lexus GS : A Great Luxury Car

  26. jacksback

    Awesome car man!!!! My Lexus gs300 has 330,000 miles all original everything yeaaaah you heard right killing the game reliability quality craftsmanship is truly king in Lexus!!!!

    Reply
  27. Jeffrey

    Thank you for the information, Neville. I’ve never owned a Lexus but I’m considering a 2004 Lexus ES 330 Sedan 128651 Miles • 2004 $11,378. Test drove it and it’s incredibly impressive. Beautiful inside and out with printed clean mechanical and accident record. Used car dealer with good rep in town is selling it. Taking it to my foreign auto mechanic before doing the deal. Wondering what you and any other Lexus aficionados thing of the deal. Also curious about how this car holds its value in terms of re-sale.
    Thanks very much.
    Jeffrey

    Reply
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