May 18, 2013

Car Shopping...Yikes!

I’m in the market for a “new to me” vehicle and it got me to thinking about being proactive by researching & preparing for a new vehicle.
This week I stopped by a few dealerships and discovered that I was totally unprepared for the questions being thrown at me. Do I want 4 or 8 cylinder? Do I want a Vista View or convertible? The options were endless. I was quite overwhelmed by it all, but I began taking notes.

I started by making a list of wants vs. needs and quickly discovered that half the things the salesman was pitching to me were definitely not necessities. Secondly, I downloaded the free Kelly Blue Book/NADA app. This will help significantly in determining the actual retail value for any car I consider purchasing and thus gives me a slight advantage in the negotiation process.

Next, I determined how much my budget could afford to pay each month and how much I can use towards a down payment. Going in blind is foolish and will certainly cost me dearly if I don’t know what I can afford to spend. Lastly, I checked my credit score so that I’m aware of what interest rate I could expect to receive.

I decided to skip using Car Fax, I do not find this service reliable because it relies heavily on the word of previous maintenance technicians and this history does not go back far enough to really determine all that has taken place in the life of a vehicle.

So now I’m ready to tackle this head on. I’d like to think that I have an edge, but I’m just going to take my time. I have flexibility on my side and no time constraints. I could take it or leave it, I hope that will also help me to score a great deal. Dealerships need customers, I don’t need a new car.

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