Shopping for Cars Tip #1 – Patience Pays Off

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Shopping for Cars with Patience
Shopping for cars

Patience got my wife this 2010 Infiniti QX 56 for over 50% off the original retail Price.

I have heard the statistics and they are astounding. The majority of people that are shopping for cars will purchase a vehicle within 48 hours of stepping onto the lot the first time. I must admit, I am not helping that statistic any, but it’s for a good reason. I don’t go to the lot until I am absolutely ready to buy. I think sometimes we purchase cars out of necessity or self-entitlement instead of taking our time to be sure we are buying “value.” It’s a proven fact that at some point, your car is going to die. Why wait to do the leg work until it’s too late?

Save Up for Your New Car Before You Need It

Annie and I have both recently purchased vehicles. In fact, we have purchased 2 cars in the past 3 weeks. Because we have a Car Accrual Account, we were able to do it on our terms. However, neither of the transactions was without pressure from the dealership. The good car salespersons, I mean the really good ones that have done it for a living for years, will talk you into buying more than what you need. You must tell yourself up front, you are going to be patient and buy a car on your terms while you’re shopping for cars. You will not give in and conform to anyone else. Period. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin your quest to look for a vehicle.

General Characteristics You’re Looking For

This one was relatively easy for us. We knew that we needed to have a third row seat. We wanted a used car, preferably 2010 or newer. We wanted low mileage. We wanted something that was certified pre-owned by the manufacturer. Outside of that, we were not picky. We didn’t really care about the color. Even the bodywork need not be a big concern these days as you practically pay $0 in out-of-pocket costs for your hail damage repair in Austin and other cities including minor paint jobs and/or restorations. We also didn’t care about tons of options, nor did we care about where the dealership was located. We basically, had 3-4 non-negotiable things that needed to be a common theme in the vehicles that made the final cut for test drives.

Shopping for Cars? Check the Internet

I don’t know of a car dealership out there right now that doesn’t have a website. While you can get a great deal from a private owner in distress, there is a certain amount of comfort to be had from purchasing a vehicle directly from a dealership. In the case of the cars we purchased, we were able to get them from the same dealership that sold them the first time. In addition to knowing the car from the original sale, in most instances, nearly all of the maintenance was done by the same dealership so maintenance records were handy. You can still get this same information from a private party, but it may prove difficult to verify prior to stroking a big check. When you are shopping on the dealership’s page, you are able to sort by year, mileage, make, model, price range, etc. It’s almost like taking an open book test. Once we started sorting on the dealership websites, we were able to identify a few vehicles we were interested in at multiple dealerships.

Request the Special “Internet Pricing”

Nearly every dealership has a “special” internet price on vehicles. Know up front that you are probably not going to be able to get them to budge much lower on the price once you are given this number, but there are other things in the negotiation process that you can ask for that will sweeten the deal. When you ask for the special pricing, you will be required to give some personal contact information. That’s OK. It’s much easier to talk to a car salesperson on your terms than it is to talk to them on their lot. Keep the ball in your hands and you will do just fine. If you are able to engage with them, it will show them that your interest is sincere. Nothing grates a car salesperson more than a patient, educated buyer. Follow up with them every few days to let them know you are still in the market. If they are serious about moving inventory, they will find a way to get you on the lot. You may need to ice them for a week or two, but eventually, they will cave to your deal.

We are going to be writing a series of articles on this topic. With tax time around the corner, many of you will be looking to go out and get a new vehicle with a large down payment. If the only tips you use are those listed above, you will be way ahead of the game.


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