Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Strategies to Buy and Finance a Vehicle - Strategy #2

Okay, you've decided on how much you can afford. Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to "test drive" your new car payment before you buy. Plus, this savings could be your down payment. Finding the right vehicle for you may be intidating but it shouldn't be.

Buying a car for many people is an emotional purchase which can be costly. Not that you don't want to love the car you will spend a great deal time driving but you are much more likely to make a financial decision that you may not be able to live with for up to 8 years depending on the amount financed. So, it is worth doing your homework BEFORE you ever visit a car dealer or even one being sold by an individual.

There are two misconceptions that people fall prey to:
1. If you purchase from a dealer, the car will be guaranteed or will be free from maintenance troubles;
2. You get a better deal from an individual

Both are not true, many dealers buy used inventory from auctions and have no idea how well the car was maintained and they sell the cars "as is." Some individual sellers are actually folks that buy used cars, fix them up and sell the to the public instead of an owner that actually used it for their transportation.

Start with "window shopping" from comfort of your own home by searching local dealers on the web. Many post their entire inventories on-line and offer "internet discounts." Also search websites like AutoTrader.com that you can search autos offered by both dealers and individuals. Most of these sites allow you to search by make, model, body style, location, price and more.

Once you find vehicles of interest, you will need to determine the value of them by going to a website like Nada.com or Kelly Blue Book. These sites offer values on both new and used cars and have links to dealer inventories.

If you are purchasing a used vehicle, consider purchasing a CarFax or similar report that will give you information about whether the car has been in an accident or totaled for events like flooding. This is important because there are vehicles out there that make it on the market with a "salvage title" which means that an insurance company has "totaled" the car and sold it for parts. Many dealers offer reports for free. Ask to see it before you shop if so. If not, definitely purchase one BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.

It is helpful to make a list of your three to five to take to the next step. Strategy #3 will give you hints when you are ready to take that test drive ...

No comments:

Post a Comment