Before Buying a Car- Do these 5 Things to get the BEST Deal!
There is nothing like owning a new car, but the entire process of purchasing a car can be very stressful and intimidating even to the most confident and smart people. Buying a car can take hours and for most people is a major commitment in time and money. There is nothing worse than the stereotype of the car salesman, looking for an easy target, just waiting to take advantage of the poor innocent car shopper--yes that is you- but it doesn’t have to be!
Don’t be that person who goes in and agrees to everything and leaves the dealership angry hating the car you just purchased — leave the dealership feeling as though you owned it and with a car, you love and can AFFORD!
Here are 5 things to know before you go car shopping from a person who has been in car sales for over 15 years!
Know what financing is available to you~~it goes without saying, you should only buy what fits into your budget, so making the most of your finance options is key. Check with your personal bank and credit unions to see what loan programs are available to you. If possible, get several quotes from various lenders. Keep your loan term as short as possible while balancing the payment that will fit your budget while still allowing you to enjoy your new car. Know what you want to spend before you go to the dealership if possible take a friend and tell them no matter what “Do not let me spend more then XXX”.. It is easy to get sucked into buying more car then you need- resist and you will be happier with your purchase.
Check your insurance rates for the vehicle that you are interested in.
That new sports car sure would look great in your driveway, but if the insurance coverage is too expensive, it may rarely leave the driveway. Be sure that you can enjoy your new vehicle without carrying any regrets with you while driving down the road. Remember if you have children even if they won’t be driving the car, the insurance may include them on the cost of that new vehicle- my experience is with a Mustang 5.0 GT- no way would I allow either of my daughters to drive it, but they are included as it is a family plan-which made my insurance for that vehicle higher than if it were just me and my husband.
Here is a great article on adding a child to your insurance policy:
3) What do you need in your next vehicle
I have asked this question to hundreds of clients over the years. Many times, the customer pictures a lifestyle change that will coincide with the new vehicle purchase. Consider the vision of being outdoors in your new four-wheel drive, offroad in the Rockies, complete with a kayak on top. An awesome vision I will agree, but is this lifestyle change a realistic achievement at this point in your life?
If you are like most, you will be spending the majority of time in your new car commuting to and from work. I have seen many off-road capable SUV’s traded in after only a year or two, simply because the vehicle did not make a good commuter vehicle, uncomfortable, rough, and no reason to put the kayak on top if just going to and from work.
When thinking about what you need in a vehicle, be fair to yourself and your needs. Good fuel economy, safety features that are state of the art, a sound system that will make every commute a getaway from the rat race – really, you do deserve to have nice things, but are you ever going to put anything in the back of that truck that caught your eye? At the end of the day, see yourself 6 months after your vehicle purchase; if you see your self just as happy as you thought you could be, get that new suv or truck, or sports car.
4) Visiting the Dealership
Before you head out to the dealership, shop online for the car of your dreams. Research the safety, reliability, fuel economy, cost of ownership, and most importantly, what do owners of this vehicle like / dislike about it. Pick out three vehicles that would fit your life, and study them. You will be glad that you did.
After you have an understanding of your loan and insurance options, head out to the dealership. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a salesperson that is more than eager to take you for a test drive. Let the salesperson know what you are looking for, and together you can find a good fit.
5) Negotiating your Deal
Everybody hates this part, but don’t be afraid, just remember that this is a conversation, not a confrontation. Depending on the tenure of your salesperson, this can be a really smooth process. The salesperson will at some point pressure you to close on a payment, term, and interest rate. This is where your preparation will pay off.
You know what your banks are offering regarding interest rates, so keep that in mind. Be sure that all potential costs are discussed, ie., extended warranty, tire and wheel products, GAP insurance, maintenance programs, etc.. at some point you will be turned over to the finance department, who will finalize all paperwork, and prepare your contract.
Remember, the dealership is in business to make money, so hold your ground on your loan options – at the end of the day, they want you to be happy, satisfied, and recommending their store to everyone you know. Referrals and repeat business is what makes a dealership successful if you have a bad experience-leave and go to one that will treat you like a valued family member! If you like a car at one Ford Dealership but not the salesperson, go to another one in that Family of dealerships and have them get that car for you- they can trade between dealerships if it is owned by the same Corporation.
At the end of the day- after hours of negotiation- you the buyer hold the final ability to say “no” and walk away-never forget that fact!
I hope this helps with your car buying experience- the better prepared and educated you are the better your experience will be! And if you drive by and just spontaneously stop and buy a car, don’t beat yourself up too bad, that is how the majority of people purchase a car!:) Cheers, Karen