The process of buying a car from a dealer can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. This is because buying a car is a big step in life that people have to enjoy. However, without the relevant information and the know-how of the whole process, one might end up being conned. Additionally, you might buy a car that does not fit your requirements because of some small mistakes. Having bought several cars and helped people securely buy cars from different dealers, I have the necessary experience in this. Therefore, in this blog post, I will walk you through the process of buying a car from a dealer.
Here is the process of buying a car from a dealer:
- Search for your preferred car.
- Arranging for Financing.
- Choosing dealership.
- Locate and Test-drive the car.
- Negotiate your price and Check Warranties.
- Close the deal.
- Get your car.
1. Search for Your Preferred Car
The process of buying a car from a dealer begins with deciding what type of vehicle you want. At this point, you will consider the make and model that suit your needs. Furthermore, you should consider your budget before visiting or contacting any dealerships in person.
We recommend shopping around on sites like Auto Trader where you can find vehicles of all shapes and sizes from private sellers, used car dealerships, as well as new car dealerships.
Since there are so many cars to choose from on the site – you could spend hours looking at listings. So we recommend narrowing your search by using filters like price or fuel efficiency (higher MPG).
Once you have a list of your preferred cars, it’s time to figure out how you will finance it. This then takes us to the second step.
2. Arrange for Financing
In this step, you need to get approved by the financing department. The focus at this point is to ensure that you get preapproved for a loan. The financing department will take a look at your credit and decide whether you make the cut or not. On top of this, you will be advised how much loan you qualify for. With this information, you will check the list of your identified cars in step 1 and choose the one that fits the budget.
Still, at the financing department, you should check the interest rate of the loan being awarded. This is to ensure you get a car loan you will be comfortable to service with its interest. You can look for a loan application on the mobile web pages of your bank or credit union. From here, you will identify the lender who will work best for you.
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3. Choosing Dealership
There are many dealerships to choose from, and not all of them have the same process for buying cars. You want to make sure that you go through your options so that you can find one with the process that’s best for you.
One way is by getting recommendations from friends and family. This is a good way to find out what process they went through, and what process your preferred dealerships use. You can also go online to review the process for different dealerships in order to narrow down your options before visiting them in person.
You can now start negotiations with your preferred dealer in person. You’ll want to be specific about what type of vehicle you’re looking for (luxury SUV or family sedan or pickup truck), the color, and what your budget is.
The dealerships will usually have you fill out a form with all of this information so they can get back to you with more accurate prices for inventory that meets your needs.
If you’re looking to buy from a private seller, it’s also good practice to take your mechanic along when you go to take a look at the vehicle.
The dealer will do their own pre-purchase inspection, but it’s always smart to have another set of eyes on things as well.
You’ll also want to talk about whether or not they’re willing to fix any issues that might be present with the car before you buy it.
The dealership will be able to tell you how much money they’re willing to give you for trade-in on the vehicle that you are currently driving.
4. Locate and Test-drive the car
Test driving the car is an important step in the process of buying a car from a dealer. This is the step that will allow you to make sure that the car is comfortable for your own personal needs. Moreover, you will see if there are any faults with the car before signing on the dotted line.
Most of the car dealers list their car inventories on Edmunds. So you can go through the list to compare it with what you have before going for the test drive in person.
5. Negotiate your price and Check Warranties
You’ll need to decide on a fair price. The seller will usually have the car’s title and vehicle history report handy for you before making your purchase (though in some cases they won’t). After confirming that the car is what you want, it’s time to get a price. We recommend using the following approach:
- Contact the internet sales department of at least three dealers that have the car you want. You can contact by calling or emailing them. Ask for the total selling price of the car from each. Ask them of any additional accessories that may have already been installed on the car. From the communication, the best price will be obvious. You will then know how much you can part with to get the car.
Some dealerships also offer a warranty on new cars, which will cover much of the cost if things go wrong with your car.
A few other things to keep in mind: there are many different types of warranties out there and they can be quite confusing – something that you may want to discuss with either a salesperson or finance officer at the dealership.
You’ll need to decide on a type of coverage for your new car, which will cover if you’ve been in an accident or have had any damages done by storms or other natural disasters.
Luckily this is fairly straightforward – just pick a deductible and then choose how much coverage you want: $500 worth of damage would cost around $50 a year.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive warranty, some dealerships offer “powertrain” or “bumper-to-bumper” coverage which will cover any mechanical issues with your car’s engine or transmission – usually, these warranties are cheaper than the more expensive ones that have things like windscreen and theft protection.
You’ll also need to decide whether you want your insurance policy in place before or after the car purchase. If it’s on afterward, then make sure that the term of cover matches up with yours (i.e. if you only have a 12-month contract, then only buy an extended warranty for one year).
Close the Deal
If you are satisfied with metrics like financing, price, and fees, it’s time to take the deal. Here, it’s now up to you to decide whether to buy at the dealership or have the car and paperwork delivered to your preferred destination.
However, we recommend finding everything at the dealership. Here, you will be taken to the finance and insurance office once you have agreed on the price. You will sign the contract at the finance office and purchase additional products like an extended warranty.
Expert Tip: When finalizing the deal, take your time to check the contract to ensure that the numbers match the out-the-door breakdown.
Get Your Car
Happy now! This is the final step in the process of buying a car from a dealer. You can take your new car at home or at the dealership. However, ensure that the gas tank is full as a reward to you for being a good customer. You can drive the car again to look for any fault that might have occurred during its transportation.
The salesperson should give you a tour of the car. The importance of this is that he or she will introduce you to the technological features in the car. They will show you how to pair your smartphone via Bluetooth. Moreover, you will be introduced to other important and safety features in the car.
Now that you understand the process of buying a car from a dealer, go out there and get that car you have been longing for.
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