June 28, 2010

Car Buying? New/Used, Don't Go it Alone

Buying a new or used car can be stressful enough just trying to find the car you're looking for, whether it be new or used. Buyers don't need the added stress of haggling with a dealer, so why not help ease some of the stress?

How can you do that? The power of knowledge. Do your homework before heading into a dealership. Have a general understanding of what you're looking for in a the make and model you're looking for. Read up on the vehicle(s) that best interest you. Get to know the car before you enter a dealership for that test drive.

There are many web sites out there that you can find where you can read about a car's values, safety ratings, consumer ratings like Car and Driver and Consumer Reports. Some of these web sites may require a subscription. Not only will this research give you a better understanding of what to expect during your car search, it may even open your eyes as to whether the make and model you selected is the right car for you.

You may want to put together fact sheets on your findings, keep notes and arm yourself with information that a dealer may try to overcome. Again, having this knowledge gives you the power to be and stay in control. There is a lot of information out there and there are many dos and don'ts. Don't fall into any traps. Here is a good article from Edmonds.com on Dealership Don'ts, great information we can all use.

Web sites like Edmonds.com are your friend. Here are the top 3 that will give you the most information for what you will need when buying a car. The most important is the cost/pricing you should expect when making an offer. Use these web sites to your advantage:

It will help to print out the pricing of a vehicle's new or used invoice cost/pricing or trade-in information from these web sites. Stick by your research. Don't let a salesman talk around the facts you uncovered. You will have it in writing with you and it doesn't hurt to show the dealer the information you have. You may also want to talk to more than one dealership for the same make/model. Many times a dealership will add some extras and even beat the price you received at another dealership. You will see it works in your favor.

The dealership wants your business, you don't necessarily need theirs. When working with a dealership, don't forget to ask them for your free CARFAX. Most, if not all dealers, should offer you the CARFAX, which is the vehicle history report of the vehicle you're interested in.

The same holds true for vehicle financing. Do your homework. You do not have to use a dealerships financing department to buy your vehicle, unless the manufacturer is offering a lower promotional rate than you can get at your bank or AAA. AAA is a great resource to do your financing research. Also, it's been known that credit unions offer lower interest rates than traditional banks.

It's your money. Don't let the pressure of a dealer push you to make a decision you're not ready to make.

Have fun and enjoy your car shopping!

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