Car Buying Advice

How To Go Car Shopping

How To Go Car Shopping

The internet has made car shopping easier, but car shopping has gotten a lot more complicated. For most of us it starts online. We start researching cars and trucks by looking at pricing, pictures, and car reviews. We are trying to find the car or truck or SUV that meets our needs and the way we drive. This is where things get complicated.

Finding a car is harder today, because we have more choices. Most of which are driven by our budget which is one of the biggest influence over what we drive. If you have figured out your budget, you can eliminate a lot of distractions and focus on what’s really important to you. However, for most of us budget equals our maximum spending limit. You also need a target or a floor price too, so you can narrow your buying choices.

Car shopping is like shopping for most things, it’s a process of elimination. Here’s a check list of consideration sets:
• Budget/Price Range/Payment
• Car/Van/Truck/SUV
• Domestic/Import
• Large/Mid-sized/Compact
• Color
• Features and technology (leather, moonroof, navigation, etc)
• FWD/AWD/4WD
• Buy/Lease
• New/Used
• Certified/Traditional Used
• Rebates/Special Financing Offers

Your goal with reviewing and researching all of this information is to generate a short list of cars that you would want to test drive. Your list should not be any longer than 4 cars. It’s tough, but if you can’t do it… you will likely still be shopping for a new car next year. After all, how long have you been “passively” car shopping?

online-shopping woman on couchFor most car shoppers your goal is to go into the dealership prepared to buy and get a good deal. You have shopped cars, prices, financing terms, and dealer’s reputations. After you have satisfied all of your needs, now it’s time to test drive a real car. The next question is… do you go to the dealership or do you make an appointment online? Reaching out to the dealer online or by phone is good time saver. One of your goals should be to make sure the car you want is still on the lot when you get there or all of your research was for naught.

Car shopping is like most shopping. It’s driven by a process of elimination. It comes with both excitement and apprehension. There is an emotional component and a financial review involved in the car buying decision. The one difference is that there is a level of distrust in this process that warrants so much research that we have to be prepared to go to battle, so we don’t feel like we have been cheated. Car shopping, like most things in life… you get out of it what you put into it. Good luck!

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