So I recently bought my 10th car (yeah I’m a car guy), and every purchase is different but I’ve learned a lot in buying cars (good & bad), and use those experience the next time I’m buying a car.
So for this one I had used two different apps to find cars (Cars.com & Car Gurus), I also use Autotrader.com too. And I searched and waited almost five months to find the right one.
I get to the first dealership and its chaos (Saturday morning), no organization in how to wait for a sales person or anything. And I didn’t have all day to wait, only a few hours tops.
I actually walked all the way around the building before I found the car I was looking for (it was pre-owned and salesman was using it for his “demo”), and no info on the car at all (sticker, price, options, etc.), so I left.
I saw (on the Cars.com app), that the neighboring dealership had another good vehicle at a great price (same owners for both stores), so walked over there and found the vehicle and while I was there a salesman approached.
He was new and I let him know I had worked at a dealership previously (and that let him get comfortable and more confident doing his job), and he got the keys for the vehicle.
Here’s where you need to be careful and not openly fall in love with the vehicle so that the salespersons sees that because then he has all the leverage in the deal.
So we took a test drive (and every test drive is different), ideally you want a mix of traffic, open roads and terrain. The Naperville dealers on Ogden near Aurora Ave share a test track (I used to work over there), it’s awesome.
But this was around the block, a little traffic (okay it’s Schaumburg, so more than a little), and an apartment parking lot, not bad.
But I had driven the vehicle previously and knew some characteristics, but this just confirmed it.
So when you come back from a test drive the dealer is going to want to do a deal and sell and want to know why if you don’t.
You’ll hear the classic line “What do we need to do to get you in this car today”, sometimes the answer is time, other times money, or you are just shopping. Be firm with your answer and be prepared to walk out of the door.
I honestly didn’t have my trade in or down payment with me and the dealer wanted to start a deal anyway.
As excited as you may be about the vehicle or optimistic as the dealer may be, don’t do it.
You don’t want to be stuck in a mediocre (or bad deal), for years just because you don’t have everything at the start (and having accurate trade info and more down payment money helps you financially), and the dealer pushed you into a deal.
They will tell you other people will look at the vehicle and it could be sold quickly, remember they made more than one of these.
Don’t do a deal until you are ready to buy with a cleaned out trade in, all of your paper work and as much money as you can put down.
Every $ 100.00 you put down lowers your payment by $ 10.00 a month, its still true cash is king, not only does a down payment show you are serious but it helps your credit, interest rate and lowers the amount you are financing.
Yes you can prequalify via a bank, credit union or credit card company but there is nothing like coming to the dealership with certified funds (cashier’s check, certified check), you should always have certified funds if it’s over $ 500.00.
For down payments in the past I’ve had money orders, an envelope full of cash even a debit card once but to make the deal easier and help out financing (and you want to be nice to them), then have that certified check, try to make it at least 10-20% of the price and if you can do more, even better.
One thing you don’t want is for financing to have to try lots of lenders for your loan, all that looking into your credit is not helpful to you and means you won’t get the best financing.
It may mean you should wait to get more down payment money or improve your credit or get a car that doesn’t cost as much or pay more off on your trade if there is a lien against it.
Also if you do a deal after banking business hours, you may not get all of the details (name of the lender, etc.), and that’s normal, so make sure to call back in the morning to get that.
The main reason why you want that is so you can give that to your insurance company.
Make sure you call the insurance company before buying the car, reason why is if you have an old car (that you are trading in), with only liability insurance, you’ll need to upgrade that to full coverage for a new car especially if it will have a loan on it.
The lender will insist on it.
Also once you get the car call the insurance company and make sure to have the details on the car including the VIN number so the insurance company can get you a temporary card and proper coverage, this is where having the lender’s name is vital.
Got all that?
Good, trust me buying a car is never a quick or easy thing but being prepared makes it easier for everyone.
Filed under: Cars