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Car Buying Tips – Part One Of Two

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June 2, 2014


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Car Buying Tips – Part One Of Two

Car Buying Tips - Part One Of Two

With the Internet available to everyone, there really is no excuse for not doing one’s research before buying a car. Online you can not only spec out your dream car, but you have access to countless reviews from previous buyers and experts- ensuring that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Reviews aren’t limited to vehicles, previous customers are happy to share their dealer experiences with the online world too. Dealers have years of sales experience and trade secrets on their side, but we have the Internet! Here are a few tips to help you make a smart purchase, and not get taken advantage of during the process.

Before getting anywhere near a dealership, figure out how much you want to spend. Setting a budget in advance will keep you from getting carried away with upsells, higher trims, or that shiny red convertible that will wipe out your kid’s college fund. Don’t count on the salesperson to keep you within your budget. He is there to sell, and since he’s likely on commission, he wants that number to be as high as possible. If you’re unsure, talk to a friend or relative who has good money management skills.

In recent years, dealers have been framing their pricing in the terms of payments, rather than total price. This helps consumers better understand their monthly, or bi-weekly obligations, but it also helps the dealer wipe the total purchase price from the consumer’s mind. Rather than focusing on a $20,000 price tag, instead, all your brain hears is $177 every two weeks. It’s up to you to decide whether manageable affordability is more important than the overall investment. The smarter move is to shop for price rather than the payment plan, but we understand that this isn’t always in the cards for people.

Once you’ve determined your budget, make a list of the things that are most important to you. Start off with the purpose- is the vehicle intended to get you around the city, haul hockey gear, commute 90 minutes each way? Followed by other important features such as fuel economy and safety. Once you’ve made that list, create a second list of the features you cannot live without. For some that might mean a great sound system and built in navigation, for others that might mean a more powerful engine, extra sockets for gadgets or leather seats. You can review these features online too, and make decisions far away from the pressure sometimes found in a dealership. Don’t forget, the dealer will also try to upsell you on things like rust-proofing, extended warranties and upholstery treatments, some of which are completely unnecessary, others can be found cheaper elsewhere. The Internet is your friend here too.

By Linda

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