Some people love nothing more than to pop into dealerships and peruse the cars they love. While enjoying the free donuts and coffee as they gaze at their favorite cars, these people could linger until the cows come home—sales staff be damned. And then there are the rest of us, right? Many of us dread going to the dealership because we think we’re going to be strong-armed into buying something we don’t want or need.
The truth is, a car dealership experience is what you make of it. And if you’re in the market for a new or pre-owned car, this visit could very well be in your future. Be prepared and all will go smoothly. Read on for what you should know about buying a car from a dealership.
If you’re really in the market and not just browsing, bring quotes and rebates. You want to have quotes on the car prices from other dealerships so that the sales staff knows that you’ve done your homework. As for the rebates, the more informed you are, the better.
As this CarAndDriver.com article puts it, “Be aware of all rebates for which you qualify and make sure you receive them. Dealers are known for not giving buyers every rebate available to them, instead of keeping one or two as additional profit.” Your due diligence will pay off in the end.
This should be a no-brainer but some people simply opt for what’s closest, and this is a mistake. If you’re looking for an Audi dealership near Scottsdale, don’t just go to the first place that comes up in your Internet search. Read the reviews, ask around, and don’t waste your time at a dealership that is known for second-rate deals.
People often assume that their financing has to go through the dealership, but you can often get a better interest rate at your credit union or bank. Consider going this route or at least bringing the quotes with you to see if the dealership will match the deal.
There really is an art to the whole negotiation process, and the dealership expects to get counter offers. So first and foremost, you need to know that there is wiggle room. There are other things to keep in mind, though, too. Know what you’re willing to pay based on your quotes from other dealerships, but not just in a monthly car payment—instead, know the lump sum. Consider going at a low traffic time, such as during the week as opposed to weekends. Also, go at the end of the month when the dealership is looking to make its numbers.
Lastly, always be willing to walk away if you’re not getting the numbers you wanted to see. In fact, many experts will even tell you to walk away no matter what, as this gives you a leg up if and when you return. If you do decide to go back, make an appointment with the sales manager, this way he or she will know that you mean business.
You need to have the big picture of your finances when you enter a dealership. Many people have a figure in mind without having talked to their insurance company about the fact that said dream car will mean a serious bump in insurance rates. Not only that, but keep in mind that maintenance and gas will also add on to your monthly payments.
You should also get your free credit check before your visit. As this article by US News points out, “New car financing and cash back deals are typically only offered to buyers with top-tier credit, so take some time to correct any errors on your credit report and mend any credit blemishes if you want to get the best deal possible.”
If you haven’t figured this out by now, the more you know, the better you’ll fare when visiting a car dealership. As long as you’ve done your due diligence in the areas we’ve mentioned, you could very well be driving your dream car for less than you would have without preparation.