Car Buying Tips
This week, I’d like to welcome a guest post from Raj of AutoProcure Atlanta to give us his 10 top tips for buying a car.
I have used Raj’s services as an auto broker for my last two car purchases and could not be more satisfied. The first time, my car broke down in a small town outside of Atlanta. Unfortunately, it was beyond repair and I needed to buy a new car. Raj came to the dealership and negotiated for me. At the end of the negotiation, he brought the price of the car down thousands of dollars. The dealer put down his pen, and simply said, “Good job.”
The second car was much like that, as well.
So, I invited him to share some tips here on how to get the best price when buying a new or used car.
Raj's Tips for Buying a Car
Imagine you are driving ‘Old Bessie’- probably a hand me down from another member in the family, or a gift from graduation, or maybe just a first purchase as you became an adult. You start your car, and all the lights you never knew existed light up. A quick visit to your local dealer or mechanic indicates that the repairs will far exceed your bi-weekly paycheck, and more than likely will not increase the reliability of ‘Old Bessie.’ It is time to let her out to greener pastures and for you to find a new car!
Buying a car can make one elated and scared at the same time. It is likely the second-largest purchase a person will make in their life, after buying a house. For this reason, the thought and the time that is invested into an automobile purchase is real, and potentially stressful.
On average, the typical North American buyer will buy six cars in his/her lifetime. So, buying a car is an important decision because these automotive assets, if kept well, can give at least a decade worth of reliable service before we retire them.
I have been an Automotive Broker/Dealer since college. That dates back to a little over 16 years. Cars were a passion, then turned active hobby, and now finally a business. Over the past 2 decades I have bought and sold hundreds of vehicles both for my personal collection and primarily for my clients.
Here are the top ten most important things that I have learned about car buying over the past 20 years.
A couple of satisfied customers! Circa 2015
Top 10 Car Buying Tips for the Fabulous Frugalista
1. No Car is "The Last One."
Another will present itself. You just need to widen your net.
They say that the biggest part of getting a new customer to agree to purchase a vehicle is the fear that a “deal like this will never happen again!” But, Christmas sales come every year, as do model year change sales. Don’t forget Labor Day, Memorial Day, and all the other holiday sales as well.
No doubt the dealer will try to tell you the car you want is one of a kind. Usually, this is not the case.
Now do not get me wrong, there are limited production runs. But if your car is not a one of five 1995 McLaren F1 LM in Papaya Orange… then you can rest assured, you will find your car again. It is fine for you to walk away from a pushy salesman if you just don’t feel right.
2. The Dealer is Not Always Right
Get second opinions on anything you doubt. Ask, ask, ask…. Knowledge is truly power.
3. Arm Yourself with Information About the Car
Speaking of knowledge, use every search engine to your disposal. Here are some useful sites:
CarGurus : www.cargurus.com
eBay Motors: www.ebay.com
4. When Buying a Car, Shop Around
Use the search engines at your convenience and cast a net of at least 500 miles to find the model and car of your dreams for a price within reason and your budget. Search and search. If a car is not local, you can have it shipped. It is easier than you think.
5. Use the Internet - But With Caution.
Car valuation tools like TrueCar, Kelley’s Blue Book, and such are limited tools. At many times, they have failed to cover market demand and may either overprice or underprice cars you are looking for. With this in mind – evaluate comps as you would with a house – shop around the same exact car and see what different dealers or private sellers are selling it for. The old-fashioned way works just as well.
6. Wary of Online Retailers
Cars are not soda cans, or ham sandwiches. I tend to shy away from online car sellers. I think a test drive is important in establishing the majestic connection between man (or woman) and machine. Also, negotiations are little to nil for online retailers.
7. Know the Dealer's Bottom Line
To find the lowest price a dealer could have potentially bought your car for (this means his acquisition cost), go to www.NADA.com. This will show you how much wiggle room you have in pricing. There are other tools such as the Dealer’s Black Book, but those require expensive licensing (which I possess) and use in assisting my clients. Regardless, the NADA tool, which stands for National Automobile Dealer’s Association, is a great tool.
8. Stick to Your Guns
If you have a budget and the salesman is showing you a snazzier ride is within reach for just $50 – $100 more a month, be wary.
Step back and decide whether that will truly stretch your budget. If not, go for it. But never buy a car that makes you car poor in the same light as a house that makes you house poor.
9. Be wary of the Final Room.
Be wary of the final room you are taken to when buying a car. This is the room where things such as warranty for your tires, your paint, and other items which are generally a waste of money, are discussed.
In this case, for sure – No means No. Stick to the price that was finalized. No need for these added frills.
10. Have Patience
Take your time. If your other vehicle is working, be patient. The more you can hold out – the better a deal you will score.
Salesmen bank on your urgency, and that helps them expedite you signing the papers for a car you may or may not need. Hold back and take a breath and have patience – it truly pays in the long run.
These tips should help you become a shrewd negotiator and on your way to financial freedom!
For more articles on purchasing or sales or assistance and advice please reach out to us at www.AutoProcureATL.com.
Thanks for those excellent tips, Raj! I hope you find these tips helpful when shopping for a new (or preferably used) car! Do you have tips for buying cars? Do you want to share your experience? Comment below!
Stay frugal, ya’ll.
Standard Disclaimer: Not meant as individualized financial or medical advice.