Christmas weekend is here and that means one thing…fantastic car prices left, right and center!
Are you planning to purchase a car this weekend at a used car dealership near you? Today, you’ll learn some important tips to help you get value for money when comparing deals. After that, you’ll get to know the tips smart buyers use to spend the least amount of time in crowded dealerships during this much anticipated weekend.
1. 10 tips on how to get a good offer
1. Read the fine print carefully
Perhaps you’ve already noticed the big flashy popup ads appearing on your computer reminding you about Christmas. The discount offers appear in bold red digits and advertisers display financing terms in warm colors to instantly draw your attention.
Once you notice an ad that appeals to your purchase decisions, take a step further by reading the terms and conditions attached to the offer. You might spot various costs that won’t appear on roadside billboards. For instance, fines charged for late payments.
2. Compare perks
Car dealerships look forward to Christmas Weekends because sales increase by 15-18%. On the other hand, they understand the high level of competition among rivals looking to dominate sales. So, each seller might throw in a few items to entice potential buyers away from competitors.
You might come across dealerships offering free maintenance for the first year or 100,000 miles. Some will give you a couple of brand new tires and that’s great for motorists who frequently drive long distances. Usually, most sellers prefer throwing in free electronics such as iPads or iPhones.
3. Check the inventory online
Good planning prevents you from buying a car that you don’t like. If the dealership you’re intending to visit has a website, check their inventory on the online gallery. It saves you time because you can search for particular models and check their availability.
Doing this also helps you to find out which dealership has the car you want in the right color. Most female motorists prefer warm colors to darker ones. You also avoid spending a lot of gas and time driving from one seller to another doing comparison.
4. Test drive the car
Make sure you carry your driving license to the dealership to get approvals for test drives. Despite the large turnout of customers, most sellers will still allow you to go on a test drive. It gives the buyer an opportunity to experience the car and gauge whether it matches their needs.
The sales rep might limit you to a short test drive, unlike regular days. The best you can do in this situation is assessing the suspensions by driving and halting at different speeds over short distances. You can also do fluid leak tests within that brief duration.
5. Compare delivery costs
Did you know that you can buy a car without a license? In this situation, you’ll probably want the car delivered to a friend or relative as a birthday gift. Some business owners also request deliveries to their premises so that employees can get on with customer deliveries.
Since each seller sets their own per mile rate, doing cost comparisons helps you to get value for money. Dealerships expect delivery costs upfront because they hire third-parties to do the shipping for them. So, this means that they cannot include the fee in your monthly car payments.
6. Check your Facebook for adverts
Facebook enables sellers to display advertisements in specific geographical areas perceived as hot target markets. Anyone who lives in the specified area and matches other attributes described the seller gets to see the advertisement. Now that Christmas is here, most sellers are targeting people aged from 20-50 years old and employed.
Perhaps you’ve seen several car adverts appearing on the right side of your Facebook timeline. That’s because you meet most of the descriptions described by used car dealerships near you. When you find an advertisement you like, you can save the post for future reference.
7. Visit the dealership right after closing hours
I know this sounds strange but here’s how it works.
You were planning to buy your car on Friday but unfortunately, your workload was so big that you left the office half an hour to the dealership’s closing time. By the time you beat evening traffic, the dealership is closed. Should you make a U-turn and drive home disappointed?
No, you shouldn’t. Rather than go home, get inside the dealership and try to find a sales rep. Tell them you want a car but your working hours make it hard to get there on time. He or she will book a car for you without any hassles. Why? Because sales reps earn commissions for each car sale. So, he or she will be eager to secure your sale.
8. Compare prices on Kellys Blue Book
Kellys Blue Book is a highly credible source for doing price comparisons. It’s free and easy to use because you just have to type the vehicle model and age. Why should you use this tool before making a purchase? Because it helps you to know whether you’re getting the best price or overcharged.
Using this online tool also helps you to determine your financing plan. By comparing car prices, you’ll make a better estimate of your down payment. This information also helps you in planning your car monthly payments. Most auto finance companies use Kellys Blue Book when providing credit.
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9. Search for discount codes
In addition to giving free electronics or tires, car dealerships will provide discount codes to attract buyers. The sales manager might announce a special code on local popular breakfast shows that gets you 20% off cars valued over $30,000. That’s a huge benefit for buyers interested in car financing.
Where else can one find discount codes? By following your short-listed dealerships on Facebook and Twitter. Most businesses share discount codes online due to the rapid sharing of information. Remember to visit the seller’s website and check for any web banners displaying discount codes.
10. Ask friends and relatives for referrals
No man is an island, right? Perhaps you might believe that there are no good deals around you, only to find out that a friend knows two dealerships that you hadn’t visited. The new piece of information can drastically increase your chances of purchasing the car you’ve been looking for a while.
When you have a friend who’s built a good relationship with their dealership, you’ll receive special treatment that’s usually not accorded to first-time buyers. For instance, getting a free car alarm installation as a way of welcoming you into the family.
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2. How to get the car you want without spending hours at the dealership
1. Prepare all your documents at home
Car dealerships request documents that enable them to verify your identity and check whether you meet their financial requirements for financing. For instance, bank statements and tax returns for the past one year.
Some sellers also request for proof of residence. It’s hard to obtain this information at the last minute, and, still expect to find the car you want waiting for you at the lot. So, get your financial records and utility bills all in place before driving to the dealership.
2. Show up with the required down payment
Why should you show up ready to pay the down payment? Because there are other interested buyers eyeing the same car you’re planning for. No matter how loyal a customer you are, your dealer won’t turn down a new customer who’s ready to pay for the car.
Call the dealership in advance and find out the payment options. If it’s an honest seller, you can wire the deposit a day before then show up with your receipt. This is after confirming that the car you want is available.
3. Negotiate the price prior to your arrival
When you’re in a crowded pub during a highly anticipated basketball or football game, you know how hard it is getting the waiters’ attention. They’re constantly taking orders and returning change to several customers. That’s exactly how car sales reps operate during Christmas Weekend.
As you wire your down payment the day prior to your arrival, negotiate for a better price with the sales rep over the phone. Doing this gives you a better opportunity to negotiate because the sales reps don’t have customers tapping his or her shoulder for attention.
4. Plan your alternatives
Since your colleagues, friends, and neighbors are all planning to get new vehicles this weekend, the car you’re hoping for might run out of stock faster than you think. So, you might need to have a few alternatives that still match your car needs.
Why is this important? Because a sly sales rep might take advantage of the confusion to mislead you into buying a car that just looks good on the outside but has mediocre performance. Have about two other cars that you can settle for in case your Plan A doesn’t work.
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5. Don’t expect to do a trade-in
Trade-ins enable car buyers to spend less money on down payments. Doing a trade-in is also easier than selling a car privately in order to buy another one. On the other hand, it can take anywhere between a couple of hours to some days. Why does it take that long? Because the seller has to inspect the car then propose an offer that usually leads to lengthy negotiations.
During this weekend, most dealerships will shy away from trade-ins. You can’t really blame them because each seller wants to attend to as many buyers as possible. If you have some savings, you can use them then replenish your bank account after selling the car privately.
6. Don’t be indecisive
Sales reps hate undecided customers. They check out more than ten cars but seemingly can’t find the “right one”. Then the sales rep has to spend more time repeating the financing terms. At the end of the day, the sales rep loses valuable time that could have been used to generate more sales.
If you can’t find the car you want, just walk out of the lot. Drive to another dealership and see if they have your alternatives. Doing this ensures that you retain the sales rep’s attention from the moment you meet.
7. Avoid showing up with more than one person
If you’re a rookie motorist, it’s advisable to show up with a more experienced one. You’ll count on his or her experience when inspecting a vehicle at the lot and while out on a test drive. An experienced motorist will also enhance your bargaining skills by actively engaging the sales rep.
How many experienced motorists should you bring to the dealership? Just one. Bringing two or more people might bring about differences in opinions that might take several minutes to resolve. The sales rep might get tired of hearing your friends arguing back and forth over which car you should get.
8. Use a car payment calculator
A car payment calculator is a great tool for planning your future monthly payments. You can use it on a smartphone or tablet at home while downloading your bank statements. Doing this enables you to determine how much down payment you need to pay $500-$600 monthly.
Using this free tool also enables you to evaluate refinancing options. On the other side of things, you get a better job and might want to make a lump sum payment in order to reduce the remaining monthly payments. Make sure you bookmark it on your web browser so that you can make calculations immediately when dealerships present their offers.
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9. Prepare to do a brief inspection
Since dealerships expect a large number of buyers, you’ll most likely have less than five minutes to inspect a car on the lot. That’s why it’s advisable to bring a more experienced motorist because they know what to check.
10. Arrive early
The sooner you arrive, the better your chances of getting the car you want. You’ll also receive more attention from the sales rep compared to a buyer who shows up in the afternoon.
Are you ready for Christmas Weekend?
These tips will help you get value for money and ensure you have a pleasant experience at the car dealership. You can get started by downloading your bank statements and making copies of your driving license.
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