Purchasing your first car is one of the most exciting experiences in life. However, it can also be overwhelming and costly if you don’t have a strategy.
Fortunately, we’ve prepared a short guide on the do’s and don’ts when buying a car from a dealer.
Do: Your Research and Be Prepared
A car buyer’s best friend is information. There are many websites that can give consumers data on every vehicle available today. Use these sites to select your desired automobile and the price you’re willing to pay to make it yours. This information will act as a guiding star once you step into a dealership.
Once you know the price you’re willing to commit toward a car, you need to get a pre-approved financing offer from a credit union. This puts the negotiating power in your hands. Car dealers often make a significant portion of their profits through their financing office by taking a cut out of any auto loan. When you show up with your financing in hand, the dealer knows there is only so far they can push you while still securing a sale.
Do: Compare Prices from Different Dealerships
Although dealerships may look the same, they differ in their deals, their sales team, and their missions. According to COX Automotive, 41% of car buyers only shop at one dealership while on the automobile hunt. This limits your opportunities in two key ways. First, you have not seen what other dealerships in your area have to offer. Second, you lose negotiating power. If the sales member knows you are only looking at their lot, then there’s no reason to go the extra mile to secure your sell.
Forego the convenience of the one-stop dealer shop in favor of gathering comparisons by visiting multiple lots.
Don’t: Be Pressured into Getting Costly Add-Ons
While you may think selecting a vehicle is the hardest part of your car-buying journey, you still need to make it through the “add-ons” discussion. It is at this point the sales member will offer you the “opportunity” to purchase features like anti-theft devices, splash guards, window tinting, and wheel locks. These overpriced add-ons are another way dealerships can pad a purchase for some extra income.
During discussion, the price of the add-on features may not seem like much. This is because they are added to your monthly payment. A good trick to get the real price of any add-on is to multiply the extra cost by the length of your auto loan. Instead of increasing the overall price tag, buy the add-ons after you’ve purchased the car. This will give you the opportunity to shop around for better prices outside of the dealership.
Do: Close the Deal the Right Way
If the pricing and financing look right to you, then it’s time to close the deal. You will have two options: purchase at the dealership or have the vehicle and paperwork delivered to your home. Some people enjoy driving their new car off of the lot, and that’s OK! In either instance, carefully read the contract before signing. You have time to make sure the numbers are what you and the car salesman have agreed upon.
After signing the contract, the vehicle is now yours to enjoy!
Purchasing your first car is an exciting milestone. We want it to be a good one for you from beginning to end. Give us a call today, apply online for an auto loan, or come by the office today so that we can talk about your next steps.
- Cox Automotive (2019, June 4). 2019 Car Buyer Journey Study. https://www.coxautoinc.com/learning-center/2019-car-buyer-journey-study/