How To Win At Car Buying

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A roll of the dice, the luck of the draw… these phrases should not coincide with making a major purchase. But according to a 2015 survey from Autotrader.com, that’s how 99% of people have negative feelings about the way we buy cars. And what’s to like? Wading through a sea of information to find a vehicle that meets your needs and budget? Trying to negotiate to a fair deal? Spending an entire day at a dealership, test-driving, haggling, and filling out paperwork? Given the choice, it’s a game that few people would play.

Since most of us will have to play at some point, we’ve put together the following tips to help you beat the odds and become a winner in the car buying game.

When it comes to making the right choice about an auto purchase, there is a wealth of information out there, almost overwhelmingly so.  Manufacturer or dealer sites can give you a feature rundown on the latest makes and models, but how do you know which brand to investigate?  Social media, blogs, and forums can help narrow your search with the shared experiences of people like you, but none of these sources allow you to compare information with the actual vehicle inventory in your area. This is the genius of a car-buying service like TrueCar, where you can make a final decision by comparing the actual makes and models available at dealers near you. Imagine the time this tool would save!

When it comes to negotiating, some people may brag about their deal-making skills, but for the most people, it’s a dreadful experience. Regardless of which of these describes you best, it is undeniable that consumers have less information about pricing than the dealers, an inherent disadvantage when negotiating. Some dealers laud their market-based pricing and transparency policies, while others tout their “no-haggle” sales processes. That’s nice and all, but imagine how much more confident you would feel knowing this pricing data was vetted and verified by a third-party source like TrueCar?  The validation of prices as well as a comparison of what others are paying for the same vehicle in your area is a game-changer for car buyers of all ages and expertise.

One excellent tip that everyone can follow when it comes to getting the car you want at a price you’re comfortable with is to separate the financing from the purchase price. Your trusted financial institution will work with you to get pre-approved with the rates and terms that work for your specific situation. Before you even set foot onto a lot, you’ll know what you can afford to buy and how much your monthly payments will be. Dealers are notorious for using these numbers to take control of the purchasing process, gaining additional triggers that result in a higher price or add-ons to your monthly responsibility. These added “features”, like warranties or insurance, are often available at lower rates when bought separately, but score major points for a salesperson (and their bottom line).

“Let’s go spend all day at the car dealership”…  said no one ever! Did we mention that preapproval will save time and give you added buying power when it’s finally time to get your hands on those new car keys? It’s just like having cash in your pocket. Or an ace in the hole!  Skip the awkward meeting with the finance manager. Bypass the insurance office. You have already taken care of those things.  Go directly to the driver’s seat or simply walk away and play another day.

At Call Federal, we want you to win the car buying game every time you play it. We’ve partnered with TrueCar to give you the peace of mind that comes with a consolidated research portal, price transparency, and comparisons between the actual cars you’ll find on the dealer lots in our area. Our Check-In-Hand auto loans are like a turbo-boost for the buying process. You apply, we preapprove, locking in a great rates and monthly payments that fit your situation, then literally hand you a check to pay for your new car, as well as instructions that you give to the dealership. They might as well be stamped “I Win”. They get the check, you get the keys and drive away happy. That’s car-buying the Call Federal way!

To find out more about the Call Federal Car-Buying Program, powered by TrueCar, visit us online @ CallFederal.org, call us @ 804-274-1200, or visit any of our six branch locations around the Greater Richmond metro area.

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