Car buying at the dealership can be an exciting experience, especially if you leave the lot driving a new car! But many folks dread the vehicle buying experience. You want a good deal, but you also don’t want to be at the dealership for hours on end. It’s important to prepare before you walk into a dealership. Are you buying a new or used vehicle this year? I want to share my tips to simplify the car buying experience.
Are you going to pay cash or finance your new car? If you’re going to take out a loan it’s important to know ahead of time how much you can actually spend. Getting pre-approved for an auto loan will help you set a realistic budget. You will know exactly how much you can borrow and at what interest rate before you step foot into a dealership. This will simplify the buying process and put you in a stronger buying position.
Choose The Right Car For You
Now, on to the fun part. You know your budget, which means your next step is to find the car and features you want. Decide your must-have features first. Then use an online car finder tool, like Kelly Blue Book, to match your needs. Build a target list of about 5 cars to research reviews and auto experts and consumers. Find competing models as well so you don’t overlook a model that may suit your needs better. Narrow your search to 3 cars.
Schedule a Test Drive
Now that you have your top 3 cars its time to schedule a test drive. Scheduling a test drive will avoid fending off eager salespeople. Call the internet sales manager during a weekday morning. Tell the internet manager that you won’t be buying that day and that you’re still comparing different models. Drive the cars back-to-back so you can compare them with a fresh impression. Also, pick a driving route with variety. Include hills, rough pavement, curves, and get on the highway.
Get Car Dealer Quotes by Email
Leave the dealership after your test drives. If you’re undecided go back to your car finder and pick another auto. But, if your decision is clear as day, you can move on to the deal-making phase.
I recommend requesting quotes from the dealer via email. You could also request to get quotes via text! It takes the stress out of negotiating. This will also give you time to compare the asking price to the average market price so that you know you’re getting a fair deal. Chances are the seller is asking more than the market average. Once you decide on a vehicle and price point you can choose to go in to sign all the paperwork. Be aware that the finance manager may offer to beat the terms of your preapproved loan. It doesn’t hurt to see if you can get a better interest rate, but be sure the terms are the same.
Signing the Contract
My best advice is to take your time with the contract. Don’t let yourself be pressured into signing just to get it over with. Review the contracts additional figures:
- Sales tax. A percentage of the price of the car
- Registration fees. The dealer has the ability to register the car for you. It’s a convenience.
- Documentation fees. This is a fee for filling out the contract. Each states fees vary. For example, Florida has a cap of $700.
If at any point in time the finance manager cannot explain a fee to you, ask that it be removed.
Congrats on your new car! I hope I was able to improve your car buying experience. I’d love to hear from you if you used or plan to use any of the information above to your advantage. Feel free to reach out and ask any questions. The Beards Got You Covered!