How to Buy a Car: Make Your Next Purchase Like a Pro!
Buying a new car can be very difficult even for someone who is experienced, it becomes daunting especially if it is the first time. We understand that feeling, that is why in this article, we are going to arm you with all the information you need to make the best decision when choosing the best car for you.
Know What You Want in a Car
Don’t be afraid to get specific in the details about what you want in a car. List the features you are looking for in a car. You can start by deciding on the car type (car, truck, SUV), would you like a manual or an automatic? What year, total mileage and gas mileage range would you like for your car to have? How big do you need it to be? Take your lifestyle into consideration as well; do you travel a lot, or do you rarely go out?
A car is a huge purchase for most people, so don’t be afraid to spell out what you need your car to be, down to the exact details.
Set Your Budget
It is essential to know the limitations that finances may present when deciding on the car that is right for you. Before you go to a car dealership to buy a new car, you should consider your finances and what price range is reasonable. Based on this info, you can decide if you’ll be paying cash, getting a loan or leasing your new car.
If you’ll be paying cash, check your savings and make sure not to spend it all on just the car. Keep in mind that you will have to spend money on the sales tax, insurance, and registration as well.
Not enough in the account? If you will be taking a loan, it is a smart move to get the loan preapproved before going to the dealership. This simplifies the process and puts you in a position where you can negotiate with confidence at the car dealership.
Beware of Long-Term Car Loans
If you do decide to settle for a car loan, anything longer than 5 years can be a bad idea. Yes, a long-term loan of six, seven years may sound appealing as it means you are paying less money monthly but in actuality, you will be paying more in interest when compared to a shorter loan term.
Like most traditional loans, the interest will probably be front-loaded and paid before the principal. This means you are paying more in interest than the principal price in the first years.
A better way to go for a car loan is to opt for something that you can pay back in five years or less. The payments are not too high and you know that at the end of the decided time, the car will still be in good condition and there will still be value left in the car.
Check the Cost of Ownership and Reliability
An important aspect often ignored when buying a car is the total cost of ownership. You should always make sure you are choosing a car model for its features and dependability, but many people overlook the concept of the low cost of ownership over time.
Some car deals look sweet on the surface but add the cost of repairs, maintenance, insurance, and the potential of the car quickly depreciating in value and you may find out the deal is not so sweet after all. If a car seems affordable but doesn’t add up when considering the mentioned factors adding up, you may want to go for a car that seems a bit more expensive upfront with low maintenance costs, repairs, insurance, and expected depreciation.
Do Your Due Diligence
You have a rough idea of what you’d like out of your new ride, you also know the details and specifics you are looking out for. You have also decided on the amount you’ll be spending on your car, if it is a loan, and you have gotten it preapproved. The next thing is to do proper research on the cars that fit your specific needs.
It is considered a mistake to arrive at a car dealership store without having done a ton of research on the car that you believe is right for you. Knowledge is power, this is especially applicable when buying cars. You can easily do your research by searching online. Also, most car dealership stores have a list of their inventory online that can be accessed by anyone.
If you do not do proper research, knowing the cars that fit your budget while also having the features you want is impossible and you will likely lose the negotiation with the car salesperson and not get the desired outcome you want! The salesperson wants to maximize profit in every deal, he is a trained killer when it comes to selling cars and not knowing what you want puts him in a stronger position to get you to agree to a deal that is of more beneficial to him than it is to you.
Choose the Best Time to Buy Your Car
September, October, November, December tend to be the best months of the year to buy a new car. These months offer you a number of advantages that allow you to score a good deal on your car purchase.
Car dealerships and Salespeople have yearly goals and quota to meet. With the year drawing to a close, incentives are introduced to make the deals attractive so they can meet the quota they were given. The yearly totals are very important for car dealership stores as the allocation that will be given to them by the manufacturer for the next year will be determined by the success of the current year.
If the manufacturer of the model you are interested in has made many more cars than what is in demand. Buying at this time of the year means you have hit a timing jackpot as there will be lots of rebates and incentives on the car to sell off the excess units before the new year.
Also, be on the lookout for holiday discounts and special offers. Another advantage of buying during this period is that the competition amongst car dealerships can save you even more money. The more dealers you have competing for you to close a sale with them, the better the deals and offers you will get. This strategy can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars!
Get Dealer Quotes and Compare Prices
Another important tip that is essential when buying a car is to compare prices across different car dealerships. You can do this online by requesting pricing on any make, model and year of production you like. You may be bombarded with text messages, calls and emails afterward but knowing the prices that are on the table will help you when negotiating.
Requesting dealer quotes can take the stress out of negotiations. You can ask for a price quote by emailing the car dealership store through its website. Compare the asking price of a dealer to the average market price. Also, don’t be afraid to tell the salesman the amazing deal that the other dealership is offering you. This will surely get you an incredible price on your new whip!
Research Your Old Car’s Worth
While deciding on your finances and the amount you can spend on a new car, know that your old car, no matter how rickety it is, is an asset. If you plan on trading in your car when you want a new one, you should be aware of how much your old car is worth before going to a dealership.
Knowing this allows you to go to the dealership prepared with all the necessary information. Arriving at a good deal is easier when you know if your salesperson is telling the truth or not being honest with you, it also helps you make an informed decision on the offer in order to make the most money for your old car.
There are several online platforms that can help you determine the worth of your old car. Also, if you are not in a hurry, you will make more money if you sell the car yourself instead of trading it in at the dealership. Kellybluebook.com is a great resource for finding out how much your used car is worth.
Locate and Test-drive Cars you Like
Maybe you have narrowed your search down to a select few cars at this point. Now, you should go to the stores and test drive the cars before arriving at a final decision of which car to settle for. It is essential to inspect the car thoroughly and give it a good test drive just to make sure that the car is perfect for you.
Research the Cars History
As part of your research, you should find out how the model of the car you want typically performs, and then compare it to the one you test drive at the dealership. Sometimes, a car may look great in writing and on paper but may fall short when it comes to that specific car’s performance.
Therefore, do not let the look of a car or its list of features fool you, know the performance standards of similar models to ensure that the car you want is in good shape. Carfax.com is a great resource for learning all about the history of used cars.
Improve Your Negotiation Skills
Once you are certain about the car you want to buy, it is time to start researching how to properly negotiate so you can arrive at the car dealership backed by all the information you need in order to walk away with a great price.
Check out other cars with the same features and compare the prices at other car dealerships. It is also a good idea to inquire about rebates or cash incentives. When you are ready to speak to the salesperson and commence haggling, detach yourself emotionally and remember that you are performing is a business transaction. The only thing that matters is getting a great price on the car you want!
Shop for Your Car on the Last Day of the Month
Do you want a better deal? It is smart to shop for your car on the last day of the month as most sales representatives are eager to seal an agreement during this period to earn their monthly commissions and meet their quotas. The reason is that most of them work on quotas, and selling more vehicles by the end of the month would earn them more commissions in the process.
They will be trying hard to make their quota by this period and offer you fantastic incentives to close the deal. During this time, they do not want to lose a buyer who has shown interest in purchasing the car. You may need to ask your sales rep what he or she stands to gain from the deal of the vehicle. If you are fortunate to let him or her spill the beans, you are in for a fantastic deal.
Most often, car manufacturers offer incredible incentives on their dealerships to sell more vehicles of a specific model. This usually compels most dealerships to set a challenge for their sales team to promote healthy competition amongst their staff members.
Don’t be afraid to walk away from the deal that the salesperson offers you if you are not satisfied. If you are smart about your timing and have the courage to walk away from the deal, he or she will be calling you within a day to offer you a better price. Stay strong and true to the price you are set on and eventually, you will seal the deal at the price you are satisfied with!
Avoid the Extra Features
As soon as you have agreed on the price of the vehicle, you will sign some documents, and then you will be assigned to the business manager. The business manager will handle the finalization of the car purchase. You need to be careful when working with the business manager as he is likely to show you tempting offers and extra packages such as floor mats, extended warranty, etc.
If you have no need for extra features on your vehicle, it is better to say NO to the offers. If you are patient enough, you can purchase additional features for your car in the future at a reduced price, as well as an extended warranty.
Negotiate Your Final Sale Price With the Dealer During Test Drive
You can negotiate your final sale price during the test drive. However, most car sales representatives allow their confidence to get to their heads, and usually think they can convince you to purchase the car without riding with you. In cases where the sales rep did not make a move to ride along with you, ask him or her to join you and ask for an extended test drive.
While on the test drive experience, you need to ask the sales rep some pertinent questions and make sure the salesperson does not dominate the discussion. Most of the car salesmen are really great at making you make decisions based on emotions. While on a ride, you might be getting some questions such as, “Don’t you love the interior design of the car?” These questions are designed to make you see the vehicle as to the best car or truck in the world.
Ask questions such as “What is the resale value of this car?” “What is the gas mileage of this car?” “Is this the emergency brake?” Then act unimpressed by the answer. This reaction will put you in control of the transaction as soon as you get back to the dealership office. If you show that you love the car, the dealer will know that they can charge a higher price.
After Closing the Deal
Most buyers make the mistake of driving off in their vehicles as soon as they sign the purchase agreement. You can get more perks on the deal at this point. Request for a tour of the service department of the dealership, and have a chat with the manager. You may ask if they are currently running a promotion on servicing vehicles.
For example, they may have a regular maintenance promotion or oil change promotion, and this could earn you a free service for a long time. Ensure the tank is full, and if the gas is not filled, feel free to ask for a gas voucher. Most dealers sell new cars with a full tank of fuel, but sales representatives avoid filling up the tank after test drives and use the gas vouchers as most customers do not ask for gas vouchers.
Make sure you examine your car thoroughly and check the exterior of the vehicle for any scratches or chips. If you find any dent or scratch, inform the sales rep immediately. Make sure that you check the interior of the car for any marks on the seats and dashboard. Carefully take note of the minor defects on the vehicle, and make sure the seller documents these imperfections. Make sure that you also schedule a time for repairs with expenses on the seller for any and all damages.
Congratulations on the purchase of your new car! We are sure that this information will save you thousands on your new ride and will increase the quality of your experience with your car for years to come!
FAQ’s About How to Buy a Car
Car salesmen want to make a sale no matter what, so you should never mention that you don’t know much about cars or that you love a certain model because you will definitely not get a very good deal for your money. Also, never mention that you want to pay in cash, as you will not get a great discount.
Who says that you have to purchase a car immediately. Financing a car is a great idea, especially if you want to get a good car that will save you money in the long-term, but if you don’t have the money right away and you don’t want to take bank loans.
If you are considering of purchasing a new car, then you will have to pay 20% in advance for the model you are interested in. But if you are planning on purchasing a used vehicle this lowers it down on 10%.
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