28 October, 2020

7 tips for buying a car

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels


I hate car shopping. I mean, I really struggle with it. I need to spend about a week motivating myself to even set foot on a car yard. And that's coming from a car salesman. If I feel that way about it, what hope is there for everyone else? 

Buying a car is a big decision. A car is a big part of our lives. It's how we get around, and is a part of how we see ourselves. And depending on where we live, work or study, then public transport might be out of the question. A car might be the only viable choice of transport. Yes, buying a car is an important decision, which often gets emotional and expensive before you know it. So let me share a little experience with you to make it easier. Here's seven tips for buying a car.

1 - Just admit it

Just admit it - you're there to buy a car. Not being able to admit this to yourself is one of the biggest obstacles to buying a car. Once you've walked the lot, asked your questions, narrowed your options and taken a test drive, then you need to decide if it's the right car for you. But once you have made that decision, then you need to be ready to do the deal. You might find the right car at the right price, but unless you admit to yourself that you're going to buy, then you're dragging things out and making it more painful for yourself.

2 - Know your budget

How much are you willing to spend? If you don't know the answer, take another look at your savings and your household budget. You do have a budget, don't you? If you don't know what you can afford, then it's going to be difficult to decide which cars you should be looking at. Whether it's a changeover, or a weekly repayment, this is crucial information for you to know. Afterall, there's no sense getting attached to a car that you can't afford. 

3 - Know what you need

Your salesman doesn't expect you to know their range inside and out. That's their job. They can help you to match a car to your needs. But you need to know why you're buying the car. Do you need a small runaround car? Do you need seven seats? How much boot space do you need? Is luxury important to you? Is it a ute that you're after? Decide on what's important to you, and decide on what you can live without. 

4 - Communicate

Use your words. Say what's on your mind. There are some pretty amazing salesmen out there, but not many of them can read minds. They ask questions so that they can help you. How you answer can have a big impact on your car shopping experience. Some of the most satisfied customers are the ones that communicate openly and honestly with their salesman. They're the ones that get what they need with minimal fuss.

5 - Don't play games

Do you hate mind games? Then don't start playing them. Forget being cagey, or keeping your cards close to your chest. That slows everything down, and it can stop you from getting what you want. When I started out in the industry, it surprised me how many customers would try to be crafty about negotiating by playing guessing games. Sadly, doing this often leads to frustration for all involved. Remember that a salesman can't force you to pay a deposit or sign a contract. So there's no reason to keep what you want a secret. You'll be doing yourself a favour by leaving the games behind.

6 - Take a fresh look at value

Some people assume that there is still large profit margins in new cars. Those days are long gone. On some new models, you will be lucky to score a discount of a few hundred of dollars. So if you feel insulted when a car salesman suggests a discount of $500 to get you onboard, maybe look at it another way before you get riled up. What if someone walked up to you now and simply handed you $500 cash? Most people would think they've hit the jackpot. So now that margins are tighter than ever, keep your price expectations in check to avoid disappointment.

7 - Make an appointment

Buying a car isn't like heading down to your local supermarket to pick up a loaf of bread. There's a fair bit more involved. Meeting the salesman, finding the right car, taking a test drive, getting a trade appraisal, and crunching the numbers, you could be there for a few hours. Car salesmen spend their days talking to lots of people, and may be already in the middle of helping someone when you turn up. So if you don't want to be left standing around, make an appointment and stick to it. This will make sure that there is someone ready to help you when you get there.

So there you have it. Seven helpful tips for buying a car, that this salesman wants you to know. No one was born into this job, so we all know what it's like to be on the other side of the table. Most salesmen are sympathetic to what you're trying to do, and we want to help. I hope that this post was helpful. This is not an exhaustive list, but these tips will go a long way to making your car buying experience easier. If you have any other tips for buying a new car, then feel free to post them in the comments below.

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