Buying Cars in the Age of Information
There is so much information online today that it does not make sense with how long it takes to buy a car. Here are some of the things you should do (from my experience in the industry) that will improve your next car buying experience.
(1) Make a list of essential and non-essential features that you want in your next vehicle. A lot of times, customers will come into the dealership and have a long list of things they want. Unfortunately, not all of us have the kind of money to buy a top of the line car. Because of this, it is important, before you begin your research, to know what you can and cannot live without in your vehicle.
(2) Figure out what your budget is. This is very important as it will tell you what is realistic and what is not. Too often I see people coming in and looking at a $35,000 (apx. $700 a month) car, but their budget is only for a $15,000 (apx. $300 a month) car. Knowing what you can afford will save you a lot of time and frustration.
(3) Compare different vehicles online. With all of the information online it does not make sense to start off by going into a dealership just to wander around the lot, not sure of what you are looking at. It is better, once you have figured out steps 1 and 2, to go on the dealerships websites and narrow the vehicles down based off of what you have decided.
(3a) Get an idea as to how much your trade is worth. If you have a vehicle to trade, then one of the best things that you can do for yourself is get an estimated appraisal of your vehicle. This is important because it will prepare you for any potential negative equity that you may have.
(4) Test drive and buy. Once you have figured out which vehicle you like the best, that is when it is time to go to a dealership and test drive to make sure that it is exactly what you want. If you like to have options then pick out your top three and test drive them starting at the bottom and working your way to your favorite. By doing this you can either re-arrange your top three list or affirm why you do not like one as compared to another. Since you have already done your research online, you will know what the best price for that car and will know if the dealership is making you the best deal.
I hope this helps and I look forward to helping you get into your next car.