Top 10 Tips on How to Speed Up the Car Buying Process
Don’t feel pressured or unsure when buying a car, taking the time to review these 10 Tips can help make the car buying process quicker and easier, all while leaving you feeling more confident in your final decision.
Tip 1: Know Your Needs vs Wants
Know your negotiable and nonnegotiable, make sure to think ahead what you need in your next car versus what you want. Doing this will make sure your in-control throughout your buying process. If you have an idea of the car you want, style, or features you need, make sure to utilize all the available online research and be open minded. Being a little flexible can help get the best car for you and your lifestyle; with so many standard features in safety and entertainment available, you may be surprised what some cars have over others, even in their base models, their are now more standard features than ever before.
So ask yourself, what are you looking for? Looks, Versatility, Safety, Fuel-Efficiency, whatever it is, make sure to know exactly what you're looking. Take a moment and think about what you need out of your next car; is it for daily commute, weekend adventures, child friendly transportation, or all the above. Know your lifestyle and expectations before you buy.
With an overwhelming amount of information, reviews, articles, and opinions, Side-by-Side Comparison brings numbers and features that are fact based, not opinion. Giving you an unbiased tool at your disposal that makes it easy to compare multiple cars across multiple models and makes at once, leaving the opinions out of the equation.
Tip 2: Calculate What You Can Afford
Once you know what you want, next you need to figure out what you can afford. At this phase you’ll discover whether your looking to buy new, pre-owned, or lease. Knowing what you can afford helps you fix your price range; it's important to understand your down payment amount, monthly payment, and insurance cost. Adding these costs help you get an idea of what your monthly recurring expenses will be, along possible eliminating some cars out of your initial list.
If you currently own a car, think about what will you do with it. Look up how much you can get for it for a trade in or sell yourself, getting an estimate before you fall in love with another car can help you better understand what your future down payment can be. Review the benefits of a trade in or private sale before.
Things to know before you buy; calculate the monthly payment, check for any customer or dealer incentives that may be available on your new vehicle, remember to add state tax, license and fees. Review Financing Tip in order to get a better understanding of the loan process.
Tip 3: Do Your Research Online
Review all the standard features, safety ratings, quality, expert opinions and five-year cost of ownership of your next car before you buy. The more you know beforehand, the easier your choice, allowing you to buy with confidence!
Standard Features are what vehicle features are included without any additional charge or upgrading to a different trim. Some vehicles have standard safety features like back up cameras, blindside protection warning and automatic collision braking; while other vehicle may have these features for an additional cost or more expensive trim model. Other standard features could include different entertainment bundles, like smartphone connection, sound systems, and comfort control like heated seats. Know what your getting before you buy and weigh out additional cost for the features you want or need.
Safety Ratings, every car goes through numerous safety regulations and test, make sure to research what the rating is for your next purchase on websites like IIHS (The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA), and Kelley Blue Book. Doing so will give you a better picture of what respected 3rd parties think and can be a good source for alternative vehicle recommendations
Quality and Expert opinion bring trusted and established auto industry researchers like J.D. Power in the equation to make car buying easier. Take advantage of their research for free and see full breakdowns of vehicles rating in multiple categories, including safety, Overall Best 5 Year to Own, and even industry excellence awards.
Tip 4: Find Financing, Warranties and Insurance
Before you head into a dealership, know your credit rating. See what offers your current bank can make before getting the dealers’ financing offer. If you have a good credit rating, be sure to check what finance incentives the manufacturer is offering, but be aware that many interest-free financing offers may require shorter terms, which will result in higher monthly payments. With low interest rates, an array of incentive options and the competitive advantage of online financing, you have more tools than ever at your disposal when it comes to making a smart vehicle purchase.
Warranties, extended service contract backed by an auto manufacturer are generally a great option and include numerous repairs and services for multiple years. Choosing a manufacturer warranty means your buying from an authorized dealership with certified mechanics and getting certified parts.
Insurance, be aware that the type of vehicle you choose can impact your monthly insurance. Typically, sports cars, high-performance cars, turbocharged or supercharged vehicles, those with larger engines and vehicles with four-wheel drive often result in higher insurance rates.
Tip 5: Sell or Trade Your Current Vehicle
Selling your current vehicle yourself can be beneficial to get the most money and control over your selling experience, however, if your vehicle isn’t in optimal condition or in need of repairs, trading in to a dealership may be the better choice.
Does your car need repairs, do you owe money on your current car, does the dealership have trade-in incentives? Be mindful of your situation, if you need repairs or owe money, the dealership may be the better option. They handle everything the moments its sign over and in most cases can roll over your owed amount to your new payments.
If you don’t need any major repairs, private selling can be financially beneficial but still tricky unless you personally know your buyer. Haggling and mechanic checks are all on you; tips for a successful private sale include washing and cleaning your car, have a mechanic check it prior, be honest of any repair or accident history, ask for more than what you want to negotiate down, and advertise on sites like Craigslist and eBay Motor for free.
Tip 6: Know What to Ask
Make a list of question before you purchase you new car.
Before you head to the dealer, take a moment to think and ask yourself:
- Does this car fit my lifestyle?
- Can I afford this today and long term? (Gas, Repair, Insurance)
- How long will I own this car and how long will it take me to pay?
- Do I need this car right now?
- Is this the best offer I can get?
Once at the dealership make sure you have pre-written any questions or concerns:
- How long is the warranty?
- What benefits does this dealership offer over online?
- Are their additional fees?
- What features are standard?
- How much is your documentation fee?
- Can I hold the vehicle overnight while I make a decision?
- Are there any early payoff penalties?
Tip 7: Know What To Look For While You Test Drive
Experience the vehicle first-hand, if you’re serious, the dealer will work closely with you and should give full access to the vehicle for inspection and test driving. If you are planning to test drive a few different vehicles. Make sure you’re working with a good salesperson and are happy with how knowledgeable they are, showing you all the finer points and additional features you didn’t notice while doing your online research.
While test driving, concentrate on the driving experience, the test drive should help you make your final decision. Feel the ride comfort, make sure to fully customize everything available, including heat, seat and mirror adjustments, radio, and whatever you usually do when you drive to see how it feels. You’re looking for the overall ease of use and accessibility. Next, focus on the ride itself; is the handling good, noise, brake response, does it offer enough power, and most importantly, did I feel safe and in control.
Tip 8: Know the Right Price
Be confident when you finally pull the trigger to buy by knowing what the fair price is. You can do this by sourcing multiple dealership offers and benefit or simplify this process by going to a site like Kelley Blue Book. Kelley Blue Book® Fair Market Range and Fair Purchase Price help gather all necessary information for you to get the best price match. So for a new car pricing, look up the invoice, MSRP and Fair Purchase Price to help you buy with confidence.
The dealer’s invoice price is the lowest level a dealer can go and still make a gross profit on the sale. Dealer invoice is the dealer’s cost for the vehicle only and doesn’t include any of the dealer’s costs for advertising, selling, preparing, displaying or financing the vehicle. However, Incentives and manufacturer-to-dealer cash could actually reduce the price below invoice in some cases.
The MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is actually set by the manufacturer and means just what it implies a "suggested" price. By law, this price is displayed on every vehicle sold in America. Unlike most other business categories, the automotive industry gives retailers the ability to offer the customer a discount while still making a profit.
Fair Purchase Price reflects the price consumers are paying for new vehicles on a current market basis. Down to the specific make and model, Fair Purchase Price pricing reports offer a new car’s typical selling price, range of selling prices and market conditions.
Tip 9: Know The Right Time to Buy
Do you need a car right this minute, if not, look around online and find out when the best time of year is to buy. The months of October, November and December are generally the best time of year to buy a car. Car dealerships have sales quotas and new models arriving, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals.
September, many automakers launch the upcoming year's new models, which drop the value of the current year's models substantially. Come December, prices will hit a low for the year and during the holiday shopping season, cars continuously lower in price as dealerships monitor retailer sales in order to compete for shoppers' dollars.
Tip 10: Know Where To buy
Do your research, once you’ve found the car, done a test drive, and confirmed fair pricing, its time to sourced all extra benefits and look up reviews to find out which dealerships offers the best longer term ownership experience. Buying your car is just the start, knowing who your buying it from is important because you’ll be dealing with them for years to come for all your annual check-up, tire changes, warranties, and payments.
Make sure the dealership in competent in explaining the buying process, answers all your concern, and that you enjoyed your overall experience. Don’t do business with any dealership that makes you feel pressured. At M’Lady Nissan in Crystal Lake, IL we have devoted ourselves to helping and serving our customers to the best of our ability. We believe the cars we offer are the highest quality and ideal for your life needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. Our staff is happy to answer any and all inquiries in a timely fashion. We look forward to doing business with you!