How to Buy a Car Online & Save Money

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Purchasing a car at a dealership can often feel like a roll of the dice—an experience that can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and far from enjoyable. Factor in the often-stressful negotiation process and it’s no surprise that many people dread this traditional approach to car buying.

Fortunately, online car shopping provides buyers with an efficient and user-friendly way to research and buy a car from the comfort of their homes. They won’t have to deal with high-pressure sales situations or potentially awkward visits to the finance manager’s office.

However, with so many car-selling websites out there, where do you start and how do you get a great deal? Read on to find out the best way to buy a car online and save money while doing it.

Buying a Car Online

Spending all day at a Richmond, VA, car dealership is nobody’s idea of fun—especially when you can take advantage of all the benefits the online car buying process has to offer.

Here is a step-by-step process for buying a car online:

Set a budget—Determine how much you can afford to spend on a vehicle. Include costs in addition to the purchase price like insurance, maintenance, and gas so that you have an accurate number to work with. 

Determine your needs—What type of car do you need? Consider factors like size, fuel efficiency, features, and how you plan to use the car (commuting, road trips, hauling large items, etc.).

Do your research—Use online resources to research the makes and models you’re interested in. Look at reliability ratings, customer reviews, general performance, and feature evaluations. Websites like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and MotorTrend are great places to start.

Contact the seller—Reach out to the seller to ask any questions about the vehicle. If it’s a private seller, ask about the vehicle history reports, condition, and reason for selling. If it’s a dealership, inquire about any ongoing promotions or deals.

Schedule a virtual tour or test drive—Many dealerships now offer virtual tours of vehicles. But if the car is within a reasonable distance of your home, consider arranging a test drive. Some dealerships may even offer to bring the car to you for a test drive if you’re seriously interested.

Have the car inspected—If buying used, it’s highly recommended to get the car inspected by a reputable inspector before purchase. If buying certified pre-owned, the dealership will often pre-inspect the vehicle and provide you with their findings.

Negotiate the price—Even when shopping online, there is often room for negotiation. Don’t be afraid to make a lower offer or ask for additional perks like extended warranties or free maintenance.

Finalize the financing—Finalize the paperwork with your lender if you’re getting a loan. Make sure you understand the terms of your loan agreement and interest rates. 

To get the best car deal in Greater Richmond, VA, just contact Call Federal. We offer vehicle loan pre-approvals that will give you leverage over the dealerships at the negotiating table.

Complete the purchase—Once everything is agreed upon, you can finish your purchase online. Many dealerships will deliver your car to your home. If they don’t offer this service, you’ll need to arrange to pick up the vehicle.

Register and insure the car—Once you have the vehicle, don’t forget to register it in your name and buy new car insurance.

Remember, online shopping does make the process easier, but it’s still important to be thorough in your research and decision-making. It’s a significant purchase, so take the time to ensure you’re getting the best car for your needs at the best price.

Tips for Buying a Car Over the Internet

If you’re wondering how long does it take to buy a car, the answer may surprise you. You’ll save countless hours by using the internet over visiting dealerships in person. Follow these essential tips to make your online car shopping experience smoother, more efficient, and cost-effective.

Take Advantage of Online Shopping Tools

The advent of online car shopping has given rise to a multitude of tools designed to streamline and improve the process of finding your perfect vehicle. Car-buying services like TrueCar have emerged as invaluable time and money-saving assets for potential car buyers. 

On average, new car buyers have saved $1,824 off the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) when harnessing the full potential of what TrueCar has to offer. You can directly compare the make and model of cars available at dealerships in your area. 

TrueCar provides you with a wealth of research options and insights into what other buyers have paid for similar models. You’ll gain a keen understanding of the current market and be able to use that valuable information as a benchmark for negotiation.  

At Call Federal, we’ve partnered with TrueCar to give you complete peace of mind during the car-buying process. Leveraging this powerful shopping tool will allow you to approach your purchase confidently.

Seal the Deal by Getting Pre-Approved

Negotiating a car’s final sales price isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and many consumers often find themselves at a seemingly unfair disadvantage. Getting pre-approved for an auto loan can help level the playing field and give you more control during this crucial step.

Our Check-In-Hand pre-approved auto loans help streamline the process further by locking in great rates and monthly payments that fit your financial situation. We’ll hand you a check and “Instructions to Dealer” documentation that will make the entire process quick and straightforward.

Save Money by Buying Pre-Owned

When the time comes to invest in a new set of wheels, turning your attention towards pre-owned vehicles could unlock considerable savings. Expanding your search to include used cars in Richmond, VA opens up a wider range of choices and frequently offers an appealing reduction in the sticker price.

The potential benefits of purchasing pre-owned extend beyond the initial cost. Opting for a used car could also translate to more favorable loan terms and significantly lower insurance rates. This broader approach to car buying can ensure that your hard-earned money stretches further, maximizing the value you receive from your purchase.

Separate the Financing From the Purchase Price

Dealers often manipulate the finance price and purchase price figures to steer the buying process in their favor, adding additional triggers that increase the final price or add-ons to your monthly expenses. These “extras” often include features such as warranties or insurance, which can inflate the salesperson’s bottom line.

However, these extras are typically available at lower rates when purchased separately. You’ll maintain greater control of the process without overspending or being lured into unnecessary add-ons by separating your financing from the purchase price.

If you’re a member of Call Federal, we can help by getting you pre-approved so you’ll know exactly what you can afford before you go online car shopping. Car loan pre-approval removes a significant leverage point dealerships often exploit, giving you a distinct advantage as you negotiate the final price.

Car Buying Made Easy

Call Federal and TrueCar will give you the upper hand in the car-buying process. You’ll save time, money, and potential headaches by not having to deal with high-pressure sales situations and unwavering finance managers. 

Click below to see how easy it is to get a great online car deal in Richmond, VA.

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