I recently shared our car dilemma and how both of our cars decided to give us problems at the same time. We decided to replace one vehicle and fix the other since one of our cars was not worth pouring money into. Luckily, my husband’s cousin is a former car salesman and gave us tips to help us prepare before facing the car dealership.
We wound up buying a car that had a exactly what we needed and below our set budget. Along the way we hit some road blocks because car dealers are not always used to dealing with people that come prepared. It meant an extra week with no vehicle, but I’m glad we took our time and made the right choice for our family.
Tips for Buying a Car From a Dealer
Figure out exactly what you want
Don’t go to a car dealership to figure out what you want to buy. We did go to a local dealer and drove the model that we wanted, but we didn’t make a decision right then and there. In fact, we figured out what features, color and model we wanted by doing the bulk of our research online. It made the experience less daunting and we didn’t waste time test-driving cars.
Although we had no intention on doing dealer financing, I suggest that you apply for a car loan with a local credit union or bank prior to stepping into a dealership. This will give you leverage when it’s time to negotiate. This will also ensure that you’re not offered inflated rates since you’ll know where you stand financially.
Set a budget before negotiating & say no generously
When dealing with a car dealer, you will be offered and tempted to add on extras that cost big bucks. The car salesman is trained to word things in a way that will make you feel like what you’re being offered is necessary. We encountered this several times even after we voiced that we were not going over our set budget. We were offered extended warranties, add-on car services along with a slew of things. I don’t think they liked us very much after the fact, but we never budged and stuck with our original plan.
Don’t be loyal
I know some people like to stick with a specific car dealership due to customer service, past experiences, etc. That’s great, but if you want to get more bang for you buck, let the car dealers fight for you. Once we knew what car we wanted, we found a handful of car dealers that had the car for sale. We called each of them, told them what we wanted to pay and let them make us offers. We wound up saving close to $2,000 by going this route. We purchased our car from a dealer that offered us an exceptional price that was below our budget. Had we gone with the first couple of dealerships that called us, we would’ve potentially paid more than necessary.
Skip the options!
Like I mentioned previously, we were offered several add-ons even as we were signing documents to finalize our purchase. Car dealers train everyone including those in the financing office to upsell. So don’t think that you’ll be in the clear once the price has been negotiated. You’ll be offered extended warranties, fabric and paint protection, along with several other add-ons. These all can add thousands of dollars to your bottom line and most aren’t even necessary. Read everything carefully and don’t be afraid to simply say no.
What tips did I miss? Feel free to chime in and share with others!