Most people are often very uncomfortable with the process of buying a vehicle and rightly so. It’s damn hard to keep up with current trends, purchase options, screaming car ads, not to mention the ever-changing technology. Let me try to make it easier for you so you won’t be pulling your hair out in a showroom somewhere with a salesperson telling you “that I have to check with manager”. So, before you venture out into the car buying jungle and let your endorphins kick in with that ‘new car smell’, think about these three key points:
- What do you want?
- What do you need?
- What can you afford?
If you can’t answer these basic questions, then you are not ready to make the second largest investment in your life besides your home. Think about it… “I want a Bentley coupe, I need a full-size SUV, I can afford a hatchback”. So, balance these three key factors by using both emotional and rational side of your brain.
Remember how many times your teacher told you that knowledge is power? That adage remains true to this day, just make sure it’s not fake news being fed to you from dubious sources. The first thing I suggest is decide the type of vehicle you need. Coupe or sedan, SUV or pick up… you get it. Once you do that then venture out into the wilds of the open road and check out the vehicles around you that fit your vehicle type. Take time the next time you stop for groceries or meet your friends for a drink to check out what other people are driving and see if something catches your eye. It’s the ‘birds of a feather’ theory. If you are at the gym see what your like-minded friends are driving, I bet it will be a lot different then what you might see at the Toys R Us parking lot.
Don’t forget to get free advice your friends and family who are always eager to ram it down your throat (well at least mine anyway). Ask them about their vehicle, especially if they just bought it. Why did the choose that vehicle? Are they happy with it? How was the deal… You get it, after all their favorite subject is usually them and their possessions. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying all gay men are narcissistic, just don’t ask my husband…
Car Buying Made Easy
On Line Resources and Apps
Now that we have talked about the decision process and you’ve decided on a must-have Bentley (ok Honda) it’s time to put online tools out there to work for you before you race to the dealer’s lot. Check out these sites:
Here’s an example of what Edmunds can help you with:
- Research Vehicles and Features
Not sure what car you want yet? The Edmunds app and website have just about all the information you need, including expert and owner reviews.
- Get Preapproved for a Loan
A preapproved car loan starts you on the right foot. You get an idea of how much you can afford, and you’ll have an interest rate that you can then compare to other offers.
- Plan Your Trade-In
If you have a trade-in it’s important to get your trade-in value before you go to the dealership.
- Locate and Test-Drive the Car
By now, you’ve settled on a few car candidates. You should see them in person before deciding.
- Check Sale Price and Warranties
Once you have a target car, it’s time to focus on getting a price. Call, text or email the internet sales department of three dealerships that have the car you want. The best price will be obvious.
- Review the Deal and Dealer Financing
Now that you have a price quote for the car, your big question is probably whether it’s competitive.
Also, some dealerships have credit applications on their websites and you can fill one out. If the interest rate is lower than the one in your preapproved loan, go for it.
- Close the Deal
If the price, financing and fees look right, it’s time to say yes to the deal.
- Take Delivery