The how-tos of new car buying

March 10, 2011 

There is nothing more pleasing than the smell of new leather in a new automobile. That new car smell can often trigger strong emotions. In fact the purchase of a new vehicle is often based on emotions rather than on objective decision-making.

To ensure that you get the best deal, here are a few simple steps you can follow.

First, you must determine your need for a new vehicle. Would a used vehicle fit your need? When you consider an automobile is usually the second largest expenditure that most of us will ever make outside of the purchase of a home, the decision you make can have significant importance. Notice I said expenditure and not an investment. That is because a vehicle, in most cases, is a deprecating asset. Car companies often use advertising to entice customers into buying a new car. With the appealing ads, customers often get dreamy visions of owning a new vehicle. Before entering a car dealership, make sure you’re acting on need rather than want.

Once you have determined that you need a new vehicle, research the vehicle’s cost and determine what price you are willing and able to pay. Doing this research can put you in to a much better position to negotiate the best price possible. It’s important to know the dealer’s invoice cost of the vehicle before speaking with the dealer. Information on vehicle pricing can be readily found in many printed pricing guides and web sites including, www.consumerreports.org and www.kelleybluebook.com.

Now, you’re ready to speak with the dealer. While negotiating the purchase price, it is important to keep your focus on the dealer’s invoice cost and how much you’re willing to pay. Also be aware of dealer incentives that reduce the dealer’s actual cost of the vehicle. Dealers talk about the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or sticker price; however, to avoid overpaying, know the dealer’s invoice cost for the vehicle and negotiate up from there, allowing a fair profit for the dealer. Avoid beginning to bargain at the sticker price and negotiating down.

Once your deal is done and you and the dealer have settled on a purchase price, it is time to begin shopping around for the best financing deal. There are a series of questions you should ask yourself -- should you finance or pay cash; should you go for the rebate, special dealer financing or finance the purchase through a bank. In certain situations, you may even want to consider using a home equity loan for financing? When it’s time for you to make a vehicle purchase, a variety of loan payment calculators are available on the web to help you make educated financial decisions.

Buying a new automobile can be a challenging task. But, if you do your homework and proper research, you can be enjoying that new car smell before you know it. By the way, don’t forget to call your agent and let them know you have a new car.

Wayne Scroggins, president and owner of Scroggins Insurance Agency, can be reached at (941) 795-1500 or wayne@waynescroggins.com.

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