Are you in the market for a vehicle? New, maybe used? Looking for a used car buying guide?
Previously owned vehicles can be an excellent option for many people. However, there are some things that you need to keep in mind during your search for the “perfect” vehicle.
Don’t worry this isn’t going to be your typical used car information that everyone out there has written about. No! This is an insiders point of view (an insiders used car buying guide), things WE (car dealers) want YOU to know. These are things that we wish we could say to you (as you complain about everything)!
You might be asking yourself: How I have this information…. Well, if you’ve been on my site before you may have realized that I work as a Finance Manager at (gasp) a busy name brand car dealer. If you think that your “cash is king” boy are you wrong! Anddd just because you are paying cash that you won’t step foot in my office, you are wrong again! Just about every dealer is required to put you in “the box” aka F&I managers office to sign all your legal papers. More about this later….
Anyways, to help you (and the dealers) have a better car buying experience, I’ve created a list of things you need to know when buying any vehicle! Use this insider used car buying guide and you’ll have a better car buying experience.
Used Car Buying Guide: Insiders Knowledge – Things WE want You to know
CASH IS NOT KING
OK, Let me repeat that: Cash is NOT king! I don’t care what you have read out there about cash being king. If you really think that, then you are sadly mistaken!
Just because you only have $10,000.00 in cash to spend on a vehicle and you are looking at $15,000.00 cars doesn’t mean a thing. Honestly, do you think a dealer is going to “lose” $5K+ to sell you a car? WRONG!
The reality is that dealers actually do lose money on sales. We have to pay to have the vehicle on the lot, dealer personnel, for that water and soda you are drinking, over head expenses, transportation fees, auction fees and the list goes on. But WE do have a tolerance on just how much we can lose before it’s simply not a deal for us.
Just because you are buying cash does not mean you are in a better position than someone financing a vehicle (we actually like them better).
Be realistic about how much tax, tag, dealer fees, state fees, ect. are going to add to your purchase price. Look for a vehicle that’s better suited for your budget. If you are looking at a vehicle $5k over your budget, after all the fees and taxes its’s more like $7k. Sorry, but as much as we want to move a unit. that deal is just NOT going to happen.
Anddd about that dealer fee, it’s not going to be waived for you or anyone else. It’s actually law, that if a business charges a dealer fee from day one they must ALWAYS itemize a dealer fee on EVERY purchase agreement until they are no longer in business. That would only open a dealer up to a class action law suit and again, your deal is no different. It’s not happening, PERIOD!
IT’S NOT NEW
If you are buying a previously owned vehicle than you are aware it’s not brand new. New to you, but not brand new. Why am I saying this? Well, let’s put it this way: dent, ding, scratch, stain, missing owners manual, missing second keys, missing floor mats YOU ARE BUYING IT THAT WAY!
Stop asking for these items after the purchase and appear appalled they are missing. Ask the dealer upfront about these items. When you test drive the vehicle, please look at it thoroughly. If you like the vehicle but it’s missing the second key, work that into your deal. Meaning get it in writing! There’s something called a “WE OWE”. That document is a written promise to provide you with something for that deal. Maybe it’s to get the smell of smoke out, provide you with a second key, get windows tinted, dent out, ect. Please get it in writing the day you make your purchase, BEFORE leaving the dealership!
Just for the love of goodness, stop being a whiny baby when you ask for these things!
THE FINANCE DEPARTMENT IS NOT YOUR ENEMY
Let’s be honest here, most people hate the thought of going to the finance department to sign all the legal papers to finalize your vehicle purchase. But, not every finance manager is terrible. I have a family too.
F&I stands for Finance and Insurance Manager. The finance departments job is to go over different financing and insurance options available to you. Some are required by the state to explain to you, others are optional. Let’s repeat, others are optional.
Honestly, if you walk into my office and tell me you have 20 minutes left and I need to hurry up – BRACE YOURSELF for this response: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO PURCHASE YOUR STUFF FROM WALMART OR TARGET OR ANY STORE OUT THERE?
People, you are buying a vehicle! Not groceries! You are buying the second largest purchase aside from a house! Some people will never get to buy a house, meaning that the vehicle they are about to buy is the largest purchase they are ever going to make! Stop! Slow down, come with time!
The average car buying time for cash or someone with excellent credit is 6 hours. Yes, you read that right 6 hours. Not the 30 minutes you try to give the finance person to finish your papers after you spend four hours test driving every car on the lot…. Please go to the dealer with plenty of time and with a full belly so you can think straight. No one makes a rash decision when they are rushed or starving.
Plan on spending the day car shopping. Don’t come in and expect to be in an out in less time than buying those groceries. Clear your schedule for the day so you don’t feel pressured. Leave the kids at home (if you can)! I understand some simply cannot afford a babysitter or have any family to help watch their kids. There are circumstances that do not warrant leaving your kids at home, however if you can, leave them home. Not having them as a distraction will also help you make more rational decisions and you’ll be more relaxed not worrying if they are causing a distraction or not.
BUYERS REMORSE IS REAL
Buyers remorse is real. In my experience the people who run thru my office in a rush because they’ve “been here all day” or they’re “hungry” are the first ones to complain! They are the ones who come back and don’t want the vehicle anymore. They are the first to say that “nothing was explained to me”. O.M.G! REALLY??
Just because you complain, yell, kick and scream about everything and anything doesn’t mean we are going to let you out of the deal. Some states like Florida do not have a cooling off period. Meaning once you take delivery of that vehicle and drive off- IT BELONGS TO YOU! There are some states that do have a cooling off period such as New Jersey.
Point here is to slow down so you don’t have buyers remorse. Do your homework, get those inspections and think your purchase through. Like I mentioned earlier, if WE OWE you something on your purchase that can’t be provided that day or completed that day, get it in writing to protect yourself and save us all a headache later.
GETTING THE VEHICLE INSPECTED
If you are planning on getting the vehicle inspected by your mechanic, do it BEFORE you purchase the vehicle. Don’t think that you’ll buy the vehicle and then go get it inspected and honestly think that the dealer is really going to foot the bill later.
Test drive the vehicle and if you think you are wanting to purchase it, take it to your mechanic if you want to. There are millions of people who purchase vehicles every year who do not get them inspected and millions that do. If that’s something you are wanting to do, please handle it before signing all the papers and taking delivery. Once you drive off the lot we are technically not responsible for it after, I mean it does now belong to you.
As you read this some of you may had a little chuckle from time to time, while others may be surprised at what I had to say. The reality is these are things that car dealers have to deal with day in and day out. If you keep some of these things in mind, all of us will have a better experience. You have to remember that people who work at dealers have families too and we are not scum. We are doing our jobs.
Do we make money if you buy a car? Absolutely! However, we do want you to have a good experience. We also want to help you! Dealers assist people buy and sell cars daily. Don’t think everything we have to say is some lie to “get one over” on you. I’m also not saying to believe everything you hear, that’s why I told you earlier to get things in writing.
I hope you enjoyed my used car buying guide. Happy Car Shopping!