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Holland Financial

Car Buying Countdown, Part II

Last week, I started a countdown of car buying tips. I discussed dealer fees, the key information dealers know (that you don’t), the things that aren’t relevant to your car buying decision, and “time limits” for a sales transaction. Today, I’ll share six more nuggets of advice and two personal stories!

#20 - The car salesperson doesn’t work for you or represent you in the deal. Ignore personal questions. You’re not there to make friends. Keep your guard up. In fact, if you want to have a little fun, turn the tables and ask the salesperson off-the-wall questions!

#19 - Even if you’re told you’re getting the dealership’s “best price,” salespeople rarely start with the lowest price for the new automobile and highest value for your trade. A true story: Not long ago, I traded in an older vehicle for a newer one. I asked the salesperson to give me the dealership’s lowest price without going back and forth to his manager ten times. He said they wanted my trade and $15,000. I asked for the manager and pressed him for a lower price. A few times I asked, “What is the price that, if I gave you one dollar less, you would let me walk out the door?” That produced two more “lowest prices.” When all was said and done, the final number was $9,000! I saved $6,000 because I kept asking if they would take less. I was willing to walk out (and they knew it).

#18 - The buyer’s most powerful tool is his/her feet (see the story above). If you never walked out of a dealership in the middle of a transaction, maybe you didn’t try hard enough!

#17 - Do not drive the new car, and do not discuss the transaction, until you have the key to your trade-in vehicle back (from being appraised) and you know where it’s parked. You need to be able to leave at any time.

#16 - If you’ve reached a “deal,” but then they come back to say there was a “mistake” (or give another reason for a cost increase), walk out. This might be hard to do since you’ve already invested so much time and energy. But do it! More than once, the “mistake” was magically rectified when I told them, “Well, then we are done here” and stood up to leave.

#15 - If you get any indication that the dealership has questionable practices, walk out. Example: While shopping for my teenage son’s first vehicle, we were discussing a used truck with the salesperson. A manager strolled over and said that he would reduce the price “just for us.” As it turns out, his “lower price” was already painted on the windshield of the truck! We got up and left. You, too, could encounter a shady dealership, but don’t lose heart, there are honest, reputable ones out there!

Could there possibly be more tips? Yes! We step on the gas with 14 next week!

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