Buying A Car

Q . Any tips on how to buy a car and not get taken?

Buying a car is one of the most stressful things ever, especially for those of us who are very concerned about getting a good deal. For one year I worked as an account executive in a retail automotive advertising agency. You know those screaming car ads on the radio, those were my ads. (Not my proudest career move.) But from working with some of the shadiest and some of the most straight up car dealers, here are my tips:

1-If buying a new car, check with some of the better websites. (www.car.com, www.edmunds.com, www.autobytel.com). What you are looking for? The invoice price. Ideally you want to pay anywhere from $1500 to $2000 above invoice. But be warned there are several ways that dealers can make more off of your sale. This is pretty complex. Additional costs that you should expect to pay: Destination fee, tags, tax and title.

MENTION THAT YOU HAVE BEEN SHOPPING ON LINE, I knew a dealer that would automatically drop the cost because he knew that people that were on the internet were more car price savvy.

2- Newspapers have tons of car ads that have some legitimate good deals. BUT READ ALL OF THE FINE PRINT! If it seems to good to be true…it probably has one heck of a disclaimer. One of my responsibilities were to make sure that the ads were properly disclaimed. Bring the ad(s) with you. If the deal car has a stock number next to it, this most likely means that the car will be "Sold" when you get there, at this point the dealer will try to get you into a different car.

3- Try to buy a car that’s already on the lot. If a dealer has to order your car or trade with another dealer, you lose some buying power. The longer a car sits on the lot the more pressed the dealer is to move it. This is also another complicated financing thing for the dealer.

4-When you are really ready to purchase, the check book is your back pocket, try to buy on the last weekend of the month. Some people will disagree, but I know that the sales people have tremendous pressure on them to close as many deals at the end of the month. This is when the dealers will be the most anxious to get your sale on their report to the factory. Those are my tips. But the upside of all of this is that this industry has come a long way. Their are regulations that will protect you as the consumer. Good Luck!

My husband asked the person selling the car if he had any objections to having the car checked out by a mechanic.  We have a friend that’s a mechanic and he checked it out for us.  He told us everything that was wrong and approx. what it would cost to have it fixed.  In 1998 we bought a 1993 Dodge Caravan for $3,500.  I’m still driving it.  We checked around and talked to another couple that had just bought a 1992 Dodge Caravan, and they had paid approx. $12,000. and were having to take care of some problems.  If they say it’s in good condition, but don’t want it checked out, I would question it.  Gary & Goldie

My husband has been in the car sales business for 12 years. He has run into a lot of good people and some real dillys !  Just like everything else there are good and bad salesman and good and bad customers !  One thing that should be done first off is to research the car you want to buy. Know as much about it as possible. That helps you and the salesman, you know what you want and why.  Second, most dealerships don’t like to be "used" while you’re shopping  around and many won’t give you the "bottom" price unless they know you’re  serious.  And it is always best to buy a car that is a year or two old. Buying brand new is not cost effective.  Most salesmen are just trying to make a living, their NOT there to rip you off. My husband is often told he is too nice to be a car salesman !  But… Watch out for the "salesman of the month" too. He may be trying  to out sale every other guy and may be quite a "wheeler-dealer ".  M & M

CAR DEALERS’ VERY TRICKY TRICKS Now You Can Beat Them At Their Own Games reprinted from Bottom Line/Personal  www.bottomlinesecrets.com  MKB

In response to people looking for advice on buying a car I have a few tips.  First know, that I sold cars for many years and have seen it all. Do as much research as you can via the net or "car shopping". Once you have determined what you want you can find out what the dealer pays for a car on the net or even in consumer reports. Remember, you want to work a price from dealer cost or invoice, a car salesperson wants to keep the price as close to sticker or MSRP as possible. Second, don’t disclose that you have a car to trade in until you have agreed on the price of the new car. You can also do research on the net for your trade-in. Check out Kelly Blue Book or Edmund’s. A car salesperson will always ask you what payment you are looking to be at, keep that to yourself until you have agreed on a final price for the new car and trade-in. Third, check out your financing options (i.e., see where your bank is at in terms of interest rates). Some Auto websites can calculate payments for financing or lease. Make sure you go into a dealership armed with as much info as possible and remember………try not to get caught up in the emotional part of buying a car. That’s where you can run into problems. It’s just a car. And if not that one there will be another one. Try to find a salesperson you like and can trust, one that can guide you through the second biggest purchase of your life after a house.  The automobile industry is stereotyped by many, however there are some good guys out there, I know, I was one of them!  MEK

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