Disclaimer: Before we begin, I want to state that this post assumes you are ready to buy a car at this appointment. If you want help figuring out when to buy or what car is right for you, please see future posts on these topics.
A common complaint about buying a car is the amount of time it takes to seal the deal - making sure you get the best price and drive home happy. Some parts of the process are out of our control, like the time it will take to clean, prep, and fill up your new car or the long wait to sit with the finance people to get the contract all tidied up. We can, however, control the amount of time it takes to get to a deal. You, the customer, can save quite a bit of time by showing up with a few answers already prepared and being ready with what is needed to close the sale.
For the purposes of this post, let’s say you are interested in a shiny, new 2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata. You’ve made up your mind and this is the car for you and you’ll be trading in your Ford Fiesta (quite the upgrade, indeed). You’ve looked at pages like Kelly Blue Book and True Car, and you’ve got a good idea of the price you’re willing to pay. You contacted the dealership on Wednesday and we have an appointment on Friday evening. Now what?
Before we go on the test drive in your new Miata, we’ll discuss your trade in and anything we’ll need to know about it, so we can start thinking about trade-in offer. I’ll ask you what the ownership status is, whether or not you own the title or you still owe on it? If you still owe on the car, then we need to know which company owns the title - who are you paying for the car? This helps us look further into your trade-in status.
If there is anything we should know about the mechanics of the car, now is the time we’ll ask. As you’ll learn in a later post, we’ll often take a trade even if it comes in on a tow truck, so don’t be discouraged. Just talk it out with us.
How much is your trade worth? Before you bring it in, please be sure to look closely and learn more about the information that can be found on sites like Kelly Blue Book. If KBB says you could sell it privately for $3000, but it also says you’ll get $1000 trade in for it, then you should expect to get somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000, maybe a bit more. If you need to get the full private sale value, then you’ll need to sell it privately instead. This discussion is not always pleasant, but if you prepare ahead of time for what you’ll realistically be offered, then you can save a lot of time and stress during the sales process.
In summary, for your trade you’ll need to know:
How much is still owed on your trade? Do you have the title? If not, what company owns the title to the vehicle?
Have you researched how much it is truly worth?
Not much explanation needed here, really. Just know that we need a lot of info from you when you buy a car. If you have it all available at your appointment, it will save more time than anything else.
Things you may need:
For Well-Qualified Buyers:
Proof of Insurance
If you have a trade:
Current Title - if you have paid off the vehicle
10-Day Payoff Information from your Lender - if you still owe on the vehicle
It's important that this is accurate at time of trade in order to avoid delays in paperwork.
If you have any concerns about qualifications, or you are new to the Austin area:
Proof of Residency - Lease or Utility Bill
Most Recent Pay Stub - For both you and your cosigner (if applicable)
Financing and Money
Discussing financing and costs, payments and interest, in a general forum like this is difficult. Each buyer has different needs. Instead, I recommend that you use a Car Loan Calculator to understand the amount of interest, the way interest affects your bottom line, and the way payments are structured. Knowing this information going in will ease the process and lower your stress about this part of the your car buying experience.
If you want to talk in more detail about your financial needs or concerns, feel free to contact me . I'm happy to go over it and help you find the answers to your questions.
Being prepared with these things will help cut down a lot of time at your cur buying appointment. Come ready to spend the afternoon hanging out with your salesman, take advantage of the free coffee, relax, and enjoy the adventure of getting your new car!
Are you ready to buy? Contact me to get started!