Shopping For a Car Online

carlot Shopping For a Car Online Buying a car

Shopping for a car used to be a tedious task that involved reading through the classified sections of a local newspaper and possibly visiting local car lots.  The digital age has changed the entire car shopping paradigm for the better, and has massive changes to offer: a wider variety of vehicles to choose from, greater deals, and more auto financing options to choose from.

Selection Galore

The Internet as created a national market out of what once used to be a local market.  Instead of browsing through dozens of tiny print advertisements there are now sites such as eBay motors that allow you to look at a variety of vehicles from around the country or even further if you are so inclined.  The fact that such sites exist mean that an incredibly large selection is available at your fingertips, often with such services as professional inspection backed by buyer protection, and transportation.

Anyone that has ever taken a class in economics knows what happens when supply increases radically: prices are driven down.  While this is certainly true of shopping for a new vehicle online, there are some other costs and factors to consider that may balance against what seem like great prices.  The result often makes the prices still very attractive, but not as attractive as they seemed at first.

Buyer Beware

Professional inspection is a necessity when buying from a distance, so certainly be sure to use it.  Additionally, services such as CarFax offer a great layer of protection to those buying a vehicle from a distance.  Knowing the history of a vehicle is important whether you are buying local or from a distance because that vehicle may look great in pictures, but that could be the result of some great photography and maybe even some swift repair work after an accident.  That being said, most buyers are not qualified mechanics or claims experts and would not know what to look for in a local vehicle to determine if it had been repaired or even rigged up to temporarily disguise mechanical issues.

Buyer protection offered by many auction houses and retailers is another great way to ensure that a vehicle is what you expect it to be when you buy it long-distance.  Be sure to read the fine print carefully before signing up for anything or agreeing to buy, but consider that most local private parties and even car lots do not offer buyer protection when considering shopping online.   Buyer protection and inspections both cost a little bit extra in most cases, but they are certainly worth it.

Transportation Considerations

People buying online are faced with one certain challenge: getting the vehicle to them.  This can be accomplished by either getting yourself to the vehicle and driving it back or hiring a company to transport the vehicle.  There are many such companies that are made easily available via online sites that sell vehicles and many individuals and/or retailers also have their own connections to make receiving the vehicle a significantly simpler task.

It is also worth looking at local laws regarding taxation and licensing.  Most states require that vehicles bought in another state pay some sort of licensing fee for the right to be registered in the new state.  There may be additional fees associated with vehicle inspection, emissions testing, and licensing.  Be aware of these fees ahead of time so that they do not catch you unprepared financially.

Financing Made Simple

Just as looking for vehicles over a very wide area results in better deals, so does looking for lenders.  The Internet has become a hotbed for lenders competing for an entire nation of shoppers.  The competition is fierce, so take advantage of it and do not lock yourself into local deals when there are national options that are often far more competitive.

Think Big, Save Big

While there are a few extra fees and costs to consider when shopping online in the digital age, the net result is still more options and greater savings.  These are backed up by better guarantees and service that you may not have expected.  If you are shopping for a vehicle, pass up on the classified ads in the paper and the local car lots, and look online instead.

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