• Wed. May 18th, 2022

How to get a “good deal” when buying a new or used car

ByElla E. Kidwell

Mar 31, 2022

“Did I get a ‘good deal’ when I bought my car? This is the most asked question I face as an automotive expert (and former car salesman), because most consumers are simply out of their element when buying a new vehicle or a new one. used – studies show that people wait about a decade to replace their cars and trucks, so some misunderstanding is to be expected.

The good news is that there is a simple answer to the question: “A ‘good deal’ is when both you and the seller are happy.” The bad news is that making sure both buyer and seller are happy takes a bit more work.

But first, let’s be honest – nobody cares about the seller. Most auto retailers are qualified to sell new and used cars and trucks because that’s their job. Understanding the market, knowing current values ​​and the art of negotiation is their expertise – they do this daily and they will only enter into a transaction if they are confident that the transaction is fair.

Yet the buyers – regular consumers – need help. In the most basic sense, they need to know how to prepare before going to a dealership. They need to know how to understand fair market values. And they need to be sure that their funding is fair. Make buyers comfortable with these three things, and they’ll walk away happy — they experienced a “good deal.”

Research before you shop

Buying a new or used vehicle should never be an impulse purchase. Before setting foot in a dealership, offer three or four interesting cars. Then do some research online to look at specs, fuel economy, and find out what owners think of their vehicles (there are owner forums for just about every vehicle on the market – pay close attention to levels finish, as satisfaction often varies depending on optional equipment) .

There are great sites for new vehicle buyers, including Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Car and Driver. There are also great sites for used car buyers, including CarGurus, Autotrader, and iSeeCars. These sites allow the user to research features, fuel efficiency, retail prices and used prices (find three or more similar used vehicles for sale privately and you have a solid understanding of the market for second-hand cars).

After researching vehicles and armed with a few good choices, take it for a test drive – not just one, but several vehicles. I usually suggest trying no less than three vehicles (let the seller know you have an appointment, so you won’t be able to stay very long, this will deter him from trying to negotiate on your first visit). Also take your time, because buying a vehicle is a big purchase.

Arrange financing before negotiating

The dealer will be happy to finance the purchase of your new or used vehicle. Unfortunately, dealership rates are usually much higher than what you can get if you go to your bank or credit union. Savvy buyers contact their financial institution before entering the dealership and inquire about applying for a new or used car loan (in most cases, the application can be completed online or over the phone). There is no need to actively purchase a vehicle (tell the bank you are shopping around and want to prequalify for a loan). And there’s no obligation – if you don’t buy a vehicle, the loan application will expire.

After negotiating the selling price with the dealer, find out their interest rate (compare this rate to the rate you have already received from your financial institution). In most cases, the dealership will lower their interest rate to match or beat a bank or credit union, making sure you’ve been offered the lowest rate possible.

Shop more than one dealer

Visiting a single dealership is one of the most common issues faced by most buyers. While it’s nearly impossible when buying used vehicles, those looking for new cars or trucks should visit at least two different dealerships — ideally three — to gauge sales practices and selling prices.

Shoppers living in large metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles or Dallas, will easily be able to visit multiple retailers of the same brand within a few blocks of each other. Those in more remote areas should focus their attention on shopping online – every new car dealership will have a website for buyers to request quotes. Buy two or more, at a minimum.

With a little homework, some simple research and a pre-qualified loan, negotiating a new or used vehicle will be easier and more comfortable – for everyone involved. Sellers will find the transaction easier and buyers will never wonder, “Did I get a ‘good deal’ when I bought my car?”