Auto Shopping Tips

checklist Image courtesy of OregonDOT

Shopping for an automobile is an exciting experience, but it is also an experience that can result in buyer’s remorse and other negative feelings at best and in many cases a vehicle that is not exactly what you wanted.  This is true not only when looking at the vehicle, but the auto loan too.  The trick is to know just a few simple tips and follow a few basic rules based off of these tips, and here they are:

Tip #1: Use Logic & Facts

Some people start negotiations by picking a price point that they never intend to get and then meeting the other party in the middle.  For example, a buyer sees a vehicle for sale at a price point of $3500, so they naturally respond by starting their counter-offer at $2500 with the intent of meeting the seller at a price point of roughly $3000.

The problem is that nobody in this equation has done anything to truly determine what a fair value for the vehicle is using existing and readily available standards such as the Kelly Blue Book standard.  Such standards exist to determine a fair and unbiased way to sell and buy a vehicle, offering an unbiased opinion on the subject that is not in any way attached to the transaction.

The lesson here is to pick a fair standard and stick do it.  Do not be lured into arguing silly figures with no meaning behind them as this is a great way to get scammed.

Tip #2: Don’t Get Attached

Sure that shiny vehicle looks great now and you were really having a blast on the test drive, but it was mass manufactured.  This means that there are thousands more like it, many of them probably for sale as well.  If you become too eager you risk losing your head and overlooking important issues such as a full and proper inspection and the lesson from Tip #1 as well.

The lesson here is not to be too eager to close a deal as your decision making capabilities are impaired.  A salesperson or savvy seller that can sense the urgency is much like a shark that can smell blood in the water; don’t be their next snack.

Tip #3: Get a Professional Opinion

Most people are under the impression that they can evaluate their own potential purchases, and this may be true with simple items but modern vehicles have engines that are so high tech that it takes engineers entire generations to develop new iterations and test them.  The complexity of modern computer driven engines is such that most people can no longer even change their own sparkplugs, much less determine exactly how roadworthy and reliable a vehicle is.  Add to this the great repair work that many shops do these days that may be utterly invisible to the untrained eye.

The lesson here is that you need to know where your own limits are and do not overstep those bounds.  If you need help, get it.

Tip #4: Don’t Constrain Yourself

The power of the Internet is such that it completely and utterly demolishes boundaries.  You do not need to go down to your local car lot and argue prices with a pushy sales person or deal with people from the local classified section of the paper.  Now you can shop from coast to coast with just a few clicks, and this goes both for vehicles and for finding the perfect auto loan online; one application and you can search dozens of lenders.

The lesson here is that the world is a much smaller place that is stuffed full of bargains for those that will leverage the power of the modern technology.

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