How To Buy A Car (Trust Me – I Used To Sell Them)
We Americans like to buy a car at the dealership in one afternoon, and the dealerships try very hard to make us think that is possible and even smart. But it’s not. Realize how big a purchase a car is. And it is complicated.
Buying a car is the second-largest purchase most people make after buying a home. When you buy a home,
think about all the help you have: you have a broker to help you find the best home for you, and a mortgage broker to help you find the best financing.
And an inspector to make sure the house is safe. Sometimes you also have an attorney to make sure the contract is fair,
and a title company makes sure the title is clear before you pay for the home. But when you buy a car, there is not one person there to help you.
And the dealers want you to THINK you can waltz in to the dealership and buy a car from start to finish in an afternoon…
and sure, you can, but you will pay much much more if you do it that way. Here are four tips to give you an advantage:
1. Make at least one trip to the dealership JUST to look around and drive the cars. Promise yourself you will not buy that first time, no matter what.
Why? So that you can go home and look up information on the internet, including dealer cost, safety ratings, option prices, and any manufacturer to dealer incentives that the dealer has certainly not told you about!
2. Know what you can afford before you visit the dealership to buy! This means talk to your personal banker or credit union officer before going to the dealership.
Why? Some dealerships might actually WANT you to sign on for a more expensive car than you can afford so that you will then default on your loan and they will repossess the car.
3. Whenever the finance manager calculates something, insist that he show you the calculation. Why?
The easiest place for dealerships to take more money from you is in the monthly payment. It is VERY common for dealers to increase monthly payments
by just a few dollars, even $20 per month, over about a five year period is like giving the dealership $500 extra on the spot.
E.G. If you tell the salesman you can afford a payment of $500 per month, he might find a deal for you in which the payment works out to $460 per month.
But instead of telling you that, he might tell you that he has “great news”!! – – that your payment is down to $480. What happens to the $20 difference between the lender’’ $460 per month and the $480 the dealer is charging you? It goes right into the dealer’s pocket,
and you will never know it unless you Len how to run the calculation yourself, or at least run it by your banker. How much would a dealership make, taking in an extra
$20 per month for five years, on a loan with an interest rate of 3.9%? About $500. It is next to impossible to figure this kind of thing out without a financial calculator, or a friend with a financial calculator. But it’s worth the trouble!
4. Write down everything you learn about the car, from the internet, magazines, and especially from the salesman. Why? Doing this keeps everybody honest, and literally
“on the same page”—YOUR page! Your salesman will see that you are writing down everything he says, and he will be less inclined to lie, or to try to change information on you later on. This tip is all about staying in control.