In our last installment in this series, we discussed the test drive as well as the negotiation process. Your sales consultant should willingly work alongside you, answering your questions and assisting you in choosing the vehicle that best meets your needs and your budget. Don’t be afraid to make counter-offers either. Just keep in mind that a dealership has less room to negotiate when it comes to new automobiles. To save the most money on a new car purchase, make sure that your sales person informs you of all the available offers and incentives from the factory. This can literally mean thousands of dollars in savings for you!
You agree on a purchase price and plan to finance your new vehicle. Unless you’ve been pre-approved earlier in the purchasing process, you’ll need to compete a credit application at this point. This simple form authorizes the dealership to access your credit file as well as your score. Your credit score determines whether or not a bank will lend you the funds necessary to purchase the vehicle. If your score is on the lower side, a bank may lend to you at a slightly higher interest rate. (Rule of thumb: work hard to ensure that your bills are paid on time; being a slow or no-payer can really damage your credit score.).
At this point in the process, you’ll sign documents with the finance manager. He or she will also share the various coverage options available to you. You can choose which of these optional features work within your needs and budget. The signing process takes about 20-30 minutes. But this time is not wasted. While you are signing paperwork, the dealership wash crew will prep your vehicle with a good washing and your temporary tag will be affixed.
After you sign, your sales consultant should give you a tour of the service and parts departments and offer to help you schedule your first maintenance appointment. If you like, your sales consultant will show you how to set up the various features in your car, such as the audio and climate systems. Your satisfaction is very important to your sales consultant. He or she knows that the corporate headquarters will have someone contact you to ask about your buying experience. And who doesn’t want a happy customer when this happens? So, feel free to ask questions about any of your concerns. Don’t leave the lot until you are satisfied. And remember, your dealer will be glad to help you later on as well should any new questions come to mind.
This process plays itself out at local dealerships all around the country each and every day. The most important things to remember about “the Big Buy” are these: (1) Ask plenty of questions (2) Make sure the vehicles you consider really meet your needs (3) Work with a dealership that is friendly and honest. If you keep these basic principles in mind, the big buy won’t seem so intimidating after all! Happy buying!
Jason K. Boothe, M.Ed., is the Social Media Coordinator for Vallery Ford in Waverly, Ohio. He and his wife live in southern Ohio with their son.