Tips for the Smart Car Buyer

Buying a car is just like having a baby, it can be the happiest moment of your life if you are well prepared for the job. Of course, preparing to buy a new car is easier said than done. In fact, there are several ways car dealers will actively try to sell you a poor-quality car for a bad price. In order to get the best price on the car of your dreams, you need to do quality research, test drive several different cars, and get a good mechanic to help you out.

Research Your Car!

In order to find the car of your dreams, you need to make to list of the qualities you want in a car, ordered in importance. Things like safety ratings, engine power, gas mileage, comfort, looks, features and price are all things you need to look at. It can help to decide on what class of car you are interested in too, such as a sports car, truck, luxury sedan, family sedan or economy two-door.

Once you have a list of qualities and class of car you want, check out car review services like Consumer Reports or Edmunds.com. These offer professional quality reviews and specifications, including prices, of each model year car dating back over 30 years. Read about what cars fit your specifications, and print out those reviews for later consideration. Make a list of the top 3 or 4 cars you want, then research respectable dealerships to buy from.

To research individual dealerships, check out Google Reviews and Yelp.com for any insight into customer experiences from the shops. Don’t forget to check out the Better Business Bureau’s website to see the rating of each dealership. If they have poor ratings for reliability or honesty, pass them up. Alongside these resources, give your local trustworthy mechanic a call. He can help you find an honest dealer to buy from.

Test Drive Each Car

Go to your honest dealerships and test drive each car to get a feel for them. Don’t forget to check out the extra features like seat adjust ability, navigation systems, window viewing range and brake and engine performance. Compare each car until you find the one you like.

Talk Prices With The Dealer

Once you have the car you like, check out the Kelly Blue Book value of the car for your area. Take those documents to the dealer to start negotiations. If you are buying a car without a lease, ask them if they can sweeten the deal for you by adding in extras like upgraded trim, warranties or navigation systems. Take a hard line with your budget, and offer to take your business elsewhere if they can’t meet your demands. Be prepared to walk out of the shop, and you should get your car at your price, or at least close to it.

Outside the Box Car Buying Tips

When considering a new car purchase, a little homework goes a long way. It is easy to get excited about a particular model, grab the wallet and head out to the dealership, but it is just as easy to get tricked into buying something you don’t really need. Before making any decision, write down exactly what you can afford to pay, what amenities are absolutely necessary, and memorize this information.

Check The Auto Maker’s Website

Become familiar with how to navigate the site and see what options you have for customizing your own package. Regardless of the number of trim levels, there are often many ways to “build your own” vehicle. Also it is a very good idea to check the pages that compare a certain model against the competition in its segment. In most cases you can browse other similar vehicles and see firsthand how their mpg, cabin volume, warranty and other features stack up.

Don’t Buy Amenities You Don’t Need

When comparing trim levels, keep in mind what is being added in terms of interior/exterior features and then look at how much this increases the price of the vehicle. All it takes is chrome door handles and exhaust tips, leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated outside mirrors to drive the price on some models up at least $1,000. However certain extras like anti-theft systems and rear door child safety locks are often included at no extra cost, and are a good investment not only in terms of insurance rates but also the resale value of the car.

Small Engines Offer Big Performance

New models often have two different engine sizes from which to choose, but the more powerful of the two may not be required in order to provide enough giddy up. Today’s small 4-cylinder engines that deliver about 150 horsepower may be all you need. The best way is to take a test drive and get a feel for the overall performance and acceleration. The larger engine may cost you an extra $1,500, and will of course be less fuel efficient.

Check Consumer Reviews

Some models have a very high resale value; one way to check this is to browse the used car sales websites, where private sellers nationwide are listing their vehicles. Look at the model you are considering and see what the asking price is for various mileages. And go to the consumer forums and see which models are being sold for the highest prices. The best investments in new vehicles are those which lose less than 10 percent of their value annually.

Car Buying Tips Before You Hit the Lot

A car or truck is a huge purchase that usually requires a fair amount of consideration and research. Most people are not in a position to miss out on grabbing the best possible price for the vehicle that is going to meet their needs. Often a vehicle represents more of an investment than just a regular purchase. This means there may be additional factors that need to be examined.

Evaluate what you want and what you need. Auto makers have provided nothing short of a vast selection to choose from. This allows the consumer to really pick and choose what works for them. While it used to be as simple as truck versus car, now you can have the best of multiple worlds. By having a list of characteristics that they are looking for, the search will be much less overwhelming once buyers hit the lot.

Research and never take the salesperson’s word at face value. While it is true that car salespeople have developed a rough name, this isn’t always the case. However, because it is the buyer’s money at stake, they should be proactive. They should also not be afraid to expand their location to other areas. Some dealerships will fly buyers to them! Internet hunting is a great tool in the search for the perfect match.

Used cars should never be overlooked. Most models lose a huge percentage of their resale value just by being driven off the lot once they are no longer owned by the dealer. Since this is going to happen anyway, why not let someone else take the depreciation hit? This applies to almost every make and model. Although registered dealers of the particular make may be able to offer special discounts and offers direct from the manufacturer, this does not always mean they can give the best price. Other major dealerships should be checked out, and often the best sticker price can come from a local used car lot.

Dealers will almost always negotiate to get a car of their lot and in the driveway of a buyer. Vehicles sitting on their lot cost them money every day that they do not sell. This can be used to give the buyer an advantage.

Keeping in mind that the vehicle will most likely need to be sold or used as a trade-in one day should be kept in mind. Resale value is priority one for some people and does not matter to others. Buyers need to decide where they fit on this spectrum. Even though one can never be completely certain a vehicle will retain the value that is expected, a little research will give a good insight into recent trends.

3 Ways to Prepare for the Car Buying Process

Whether you are shopping for a new or used vehicle, luxury or budget model, compact or SUV, the car buying process largely remains the same. A lot of the work can – and should – be done before you step foot onto a car dealership lot. Here are three ways to prepare for the car buying process.

Set a Realistic Budget

A new vehicle is likely to change your financial situation, and most of the time, buying a vehicle is likely to add or increase a monthly car payment. On occasion, someone may trade in an expensive car for a cheaper model, which may cut down the person’s monthly payment. Online payment calculators are useful for calculating monthly payments, depending on the cost of the vehicle.

In addition, be sure to take into consideration other costs that come with purchasing a vehicle. Depending on the model and gas mileage of the vehicle, your gas costs may increase or decrease. Consider the cost of maintenance and repairs – some car makes and models can be particularly expensive to fix or require special parts. Your insurance rates are also very likely to be affected. Most insurance companies are able to provide an estimate quote for a particular make or model. After taking into consideration all of the potential costs of a new vehicle, create a realist budget for your car purchase that will work for you now and over the next 5 years.

Pull Your Credit Report

Your credit score and overall credit history has a significant impact of your ability to get auto financing and the interest rate of that financing. Knowing your credit score, obtainable from all three credit reporting agencies, will give you a clear picture of what you can expect to hear when you talk financing at the dealership.

Arrange Financing Ahead of Time

No matter what your credit score is, you may want to consider alternative financing options. A local bank or credit union may be able to offer customers with good credit lower interest rates than the dealership’s rate. More online lending companies have been established recently to assist buyers with less-than-desirable credit. Be sure to be do your research before signing with a company.

Whether this is your first or tenth car buying experience, heed these three tips for preparing before hitting the dealership. Doing your preparation ahead of time will help ensure a smoother buying process.

New and Used Car Buying Tips

Purchasing a new car can be one of the most exciting prospects in a person’s life. There are so many aspects to buying a new car that many people may become overwhelmed with the choices. Because these choices can be overwhelming, some people find themselves confused when they are approached by a sales agent and may not make a wise decision when it comes time to close the deal. There are a few tips one may keep in mind when purchasing a new car that can save a lot of time and headaches.

Stick Firm on Price

One of the biggest mistakes many people make when purchasing an automobile is exceeding the limit they can afford to spend. Sales agents are schooled in up-grading customers, which make it exceedingly hard to stick to one’s budget. However, a car isn’t as enjoyable to drive when you can barely afford to make the payments. Find out what monthly payment you can make before you walk on the lot and stick to it. It is generally recommended by economists that one should not purchase a car that he or she cannot pay for within forty-eight months.

New or Used

The decision to purchase a new car versus a used car can be very perplexing. A used car is much cheaper than a new car; however, a new car may come with a better warranty than a new car. When buying a used car, it is best to know if there is any warranty with the vehicle. Most used car dealerships offer some type of warranty whether it is thirty days or ninety days. Some used car dealerships offer the buyer the option to purchase an extended warranty. Before purchasing any extended warranty, you should always read it thoroughly to ensure you are getting what the salesperson says. New car warranties are usually easier to negotiate because the car will have some type of factory warranty that goes with it.

Record Checks

There are many available services online that allow one to check all service records and issues with a particular car you may want to purchase. Ask for a vehicle report on the car that you wish to purchase before you sign any type of loan papers. AutoCheck and Carfax are the most popular used but there are many more services available. A consumer report on the car you wish to purchase is another bit of knowledge that is good to be armed with as well.