Friday, May 10, 2013

Lessons Learned From Buying A Car Part 1

These past few weeks, Mr. and Mrs. Edge have been car shopping.  This is a first as a married couple, so we are learning both a little more about each other as well as about the car buying experience itself.  While we have not settled yet on a car, I wanted to discuss my experiences thus far to help you prepare for your car shopping experience.

First, try to figure our what type of car (the trim, even) before you go shopping.  Nothing is worse than showing up at a lot and saying "We want to buy a car!"  "What kind of car?, asks the dealer."  "Oh, we haven't thought about that."  We were pretty set on a crossover-SUV type model.  Something more than a car, but not quite a monster truck, either.  

Second, if you can, try to settle on the make before hand.  This helps with your research of best prices.  AAA's car buying program, Edmunds,, or Kelley Blue Book are great places to start.  

Third, visit several dealers (if you have settled on the style, brand, etc.)  They do vary and even though you may be buying the same Volkswagen, dealers are not exactly nice to one another about their tactics.  For example, we got a quote on a trade-in that was about $2500 difference between dealers.  We asked why.  One dealer says, "Well, did they put it in writing?"  We hadn't gotten that in writing.  "Well, here's what they do, and I am not saying that they are underhanded, but they will high ball the trade-in, but then high-ball the price of the new car."  Ug.  Do we even bother with asking about a trade-in before haggling prices?

Fourth, look for certified used cars, if you are shopping for a used car.  Several advantages include extended warranties, service options, 150 pt inspections, and peace of mind.  You will pay for this, though.  

Fifth, prepare to be there a while...a long while.  It seems like each dealer we went to was an hour, hour and a half.  Eat before hand.  Nothing is worse than trying to haggle on an empty stomach.  But, it might yield surprising results if you sound impatient.

Sixth, prepare to hear about their kids, or some other anecdote to pull at your heartstrings.  "Look, the dog is eating my kid's ice cream again!  How cute is that?"  That was one experience.  The other, "[A higher being] has compelled me not to take advantage of you."  That was a good one, I must admit.

Stay tuned for how we end up resolving our car buying.  It looks like prices have only dropped since we started shopping, so I am not in a hurry, and neither should you be.

--The Edge