I know this sounds impossible: An “Easy” car buying experience? I’ve read dozens of stories online and heard hundreds of stories from customers telling me about what a horrible experience they had the last time they bought a car.
We decided to poll some customers over the last few months and find out what the real sticking points were and how car buying experiences go downhill for the buyer from time to time. We analyzed the results and came up with the following list of tips for car buyers to help them have a much better buying experience. Here goes…
1. Do your research.
Don’t walk into a car dealership without knowing what brand of vehicle you’re interested in buying and preferably what exact model you think fits your needs. Over 90% of all used vehicle shopping starts online because there is an abundance of information available for you for free online…so get with the program and get online. All the information online is FREE and you can learn a lot about vehicles on your own schedule, in the comfort of your home.
2. Find a good fit online and find that vehicle in stock.
Find yourself a make and model vehicle that fits your needs. Keep in mind all of your necessities: How many seats, 2 wheel drive or all wheel drive, SUV or convertible, etc. Narrow down your search online and then find that vehicle at a dealership. Look online at sites like Autotrader, Cars.com and ebay Motors to find vehicles that are actually still for sale, not just an old catalogued ad out in cyberspace. It is also VERY IMPORTANT to call the dealership first to make sure the vehicle is still available and on site for you to view if you choose to come in.
Once you’ve tracked down a few similar vehicles that may fit the bill for you, start comparing those vehicles and listing out the important information, the pros and cons for each vehicle. Since every used vehicle is essentially a thumb print, one of a kind, make sure you pay attention to miles, options, colors and probably most importantly the vehicle’s history. ALWAYS check the Carfax report -AND- the Autocheck History Report. These reports are different and they do get information from difference sources, so it is important to make the investment and check both. Compare apples to apples and you’ll get a good idea of what the fair price is for the vehicle. This will help you be prepared for price talks. Many dealerships have moved to the “NO Haggle” style of selling vehicles since it’s more pleasurable for the buyer, so be prepared to pay the advertised price at some dealers. So long as it’s a fair price, there’s no harm in this. Just do your pricing research up front so you know what a fair price is.
4. Get Yourself Organized.
Be prepared to be successful. There’s no sense in going to a car dealership ill prepared and making multiple trips to finally get the purchase done. Be productive with your time and you’ll have a happier experience. Grab a few current paystubs, your current insurance card, your driver’s license and your insurance agent’s name. Do you need to trade-in a vehicle? If so, get your title. No title? Bring your payoff information with you, the dealer will need that.
5. Go get your car !
You’ve found a model that you like, narrowed it down to a specific vehicle, found that vehicle at a dealership, researched the vehicle history, researched pricing, organized your paperwork and called the dealership to check availability. Now you’re ready to make your first trip to the dealership. You’ve set yourself up for success and so long as the vehicle looks, runs and smells like you expected…you’ve got yourself a car!