Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Car Buying Learnings

I recently went through a car buying ordeal and wanted to share some points that worked for me. Some of them were things that I learnt from reviewing the plethora of car buying advice on the internet and some of them were pure luck/thinking on the feet.

Which car to buy is another challenging decision to make. The points below make sense after you have narrowed down the car that you want to buy. 

1. Buy Consumer Reports report on your vehicle(s). This is an under $20 investment for a potential few thousand dollars purchase. So totally worth it. 

2. Get Pre-Approved on a loan, preferably from a Federal Credit Union (because they offer the lowest rates, per my research, at this time).

3. Ask for email quotes from multiple dealers. This way you can avoid visiting multiple dealerships and wasting time.

4. Focus on the out the door $$$. Ignore "free" throw ins like, tire locks, 2 year free maintenance etc. Recruit a buddy to constantly enforce this. I kept getting tempted to go down the 'throw-ins' path. Fortunately, my mother was my buddy who kept me from chasing the shiny object.

5. Pick a month when the month end is on Monday or a Sunday. In hind sight, I believe that this double whammy really worked for me.

6. Reach the dealer to sign the deal on Sunday late afternoon, as they are in a hurry to pack up as well. 4 PM is ideal.

7. Be ready to walk away, if anything does not feel right.

8. Follow the Consumer Reports Car Buying Guide to the 'T'.

9. Negotiate on the Financing Rate based on #2 above.

10. Negotiate on the Extended Warranty $$$ if you are getting one. Pay it outside the loan amount for lesser finance charge. I did not do this and in hind sight, should have.

11. Ask to waive the Doc fees.

12. Pitch one dealer against the other, ask to provide a better offer. Do not feel bad about this. Have a buddy constantly remind you to not feel bad about this.

13. One learning that I found missing in all the research I did was that Buyers Remorse is for real and you should prepare for it. If you are, like me, financially conservative (my wife prefers the term "stingy"), then this will hit you after the deal is closed. Acknowledging it makes it easier to manage it.

One litmus test, I discovered, to measure if you did good is how annoyed was the sales guy when you were signing the deal. The value of the deal is directly proportional to the  pissed off factor!

Do you have any tips or experiences to share on car buying? How about on home buying? Feel free to share those in the comments.

No comments: