What a car dealer does not want you to know
Purchasing a house, boat, car or a nice piece of jewelry is considered to be one of those “ready to drop big bucks” or a step to becoming a “big boy” or a “big girl”. The trick to making large buys is to be knowledgeable and well calculated. You cannot have the “O, my gosh! I love it, got to have it now!” moment. It is not supposed to be an impulse-buy. You must make some important decisions to avoid problems in the end.
It is very easy to be talked into a purchase by a slick, sneaky and sweet talking seller. But the more you know, the less likely you end up with a raw deal.
Here are some tips your car dealer is not going to tell you:
- To get an idea of the price of your dream car; go to websites such as www.edmunds.com or www.kbb.com (Kelly Blue Book). Make sure to note the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). It is basically the “wholesale” price the dealership paid for the car, before they put it up for sale;
- Buy “out of season”. Ladies know for sure, that buying boots in summer is much cheaper, than to buy them before winter. So, for instance, you are going to purchase a convertible. Getting it right before summer will be much tougher on your bank account, than if you wait until fall. Plus the dealership will want to get rid of the last year convertibles, because the new ones come in fall, so there will be no choice but to lower the prices. Experts say the best time to buy a used car is at the end of the month, in lousy weather, between late December to early January - they are said to be cheapest of that time;
- Not all gold that glitters. Going to Macy’s and end up buying a lotion, aftershave and cologne, so that they will throw in a free traveling bag from Hugo Boss or Kelvin Klein clutch - that’s what a majority of us does. Watch out for “free gifts” while shopping for a car (do you really need those heated seats in Texas?). Or a bigger one, when the dealer takes a few thousands off the price - the reason he can do this, is that the car marked way up beyond its true value, which means you are not really getting any cash brake. Is the car still appealing to you without all the shiny accessories or even rebates and financial deals your dealer is throwing at you, if not - keep shopping;
- Do not be shy - negotiate. After all the possible incentives ask the dealer, “So, what else can you give me?”. And act interested, but not “Ok, lets go, there’s my check” - so you will get some brakes in the first place. Speak up, do not pay extra charges after you and the dealer have agreed on the price;
- If you decide to finance, have your own financing plan ready before walking onto the car lot. Yes, it may seem like a lot of trouble going to a bank or credit union, getting pre-approved for a loan, asking for the lowest interest rates, but you’ll be happy , when the dealership will try to beat or at least match their rates;
- If you decide to lease a car, find out if there is an option to buy this car later, with the price adjusted to how much it has depreciated in value.
When going for a used car:
- Look for low mileage (do not get the 1999 car with 50 miles on it though), extended warranty option;
- Have your mechanic check it before the final deal;
- Get a vehicle history report from Carfax or Car Detective, where you’ll find a national database of car damage and repairs (you’ll need VIN number for that);
- Make sure you get the Registration Document, service and insurance records.
But mainly, be smart. Be safe. And if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!