There are several pros and cons to buying a car online. One advantage is you can shop from the comfort of your home. However, even though buying online is convenient for new car buyers, the chances of being conned are greater. Without the proper diligence, your car-buying experience can end up wasting time and costing you thousands.
Check out the guide below to learn about diligent car buying online.
Gather Your Savings
Before you start looking for a car to buy online, you need to know how much cash you have. Check all of your accounts and add up the total amount of money you’ve been saving. Some people spend everything they have on their vehicles. We know how boys and their toys can be. Keeping this in mind, you should only spend what you can afford. It’s the first step of learning how much have to spend on your new car.
Prequalify For A Loan
Now that you know how much cash you have to buy your car, prequalify for a loan. When you prequalify for a loan a lender tells you how much they’re willing to let you borrow. This will help you estimate your overall budget. Doing this early as you shop for a car online will keep you from having too many hard inquiries on your credit report.
Value Your Trade-in
If you’re buying a new car to replace your current vehicle, you might as well sell your old one. Depending on the condition of your vehicle, you could get thousands for your current vehicle. Still, if your vehicle needs an engine rebuild, it could still have some trade in value. You can put the cash from the sale towards the purchase of your new car. This adds to your budget, giving you more money to work with. Another benefit is that the more cash you put towards your new car, the less money you have to ask for from a lender. Your diligence before you even start searching for a car online can make a huge difference later on.
Calculate Your Budget
Take the numbers from your savings, trade-in value, and prequalified loan and add them together. This is your budget. Your new vehicle has to fall into this price range, since it’s the total amount of money you have to put towards your future car. Knowing your budget will help you save time while buying your car online because you already know whether the car you’re eyeing is affordable.
Consider Which Car You Want
There are ample new and used cars to choose from when you’re buying a car online. Consider your needs and research vehicles to narrow down your options to two or three models. This is key because a young couple without kids might not care about backseat access and decide on a coupe. Think about features as well. Maybe you have a long commute and appreciate auto start-stop engine features, which will help decrease your carbon footprint.
Read Expert Reviews
Deciding on a make, model, and features isn’t enough. Check out expert review sites such as Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book to get an idea of how the car drives, practicality of features, and safety reviews. You might find out the car or features you were considering fall short. You might have to spend extra time in your old garage making minor repairs yourself. If you do your research, you can get well informed what other buyers have to say. That way, it saves you time and disappointment later on while you’re shopping online.
Find Car’s True Value
Remember, the goal of the seller is to make a profit, and you want to be well informed about how much your car is actually worth to keep from getting cheated. If you’re buying a new car, find out the MSRP, invoice price, and available incentives. The MSRP is what the manufacturer suggests for the vehicle, and the invoice price is what the dealer paid. When the time comes, this information will help you know what an appropriate price point is. If you’re buying a used car from a private owner, do the same research as you would with a trade-in to find out its true value. It will keep you from accepting online car quoted that are too high.
Collect Price Quotes
Since you’re shopping online, you can negotiate with several different dealerships and private owners at once. Consider deals in their entirety before you sign on the dotted line. Be sure to ask about hidden fees, such as a destination charge for example. Asking them to itemize your quote is a great way to see what you’re being charged for and better negotiate. Unless both parties are fully satisfied with the car deal, keep looking. It can be tedious to keep searching because you have so many options as an online shopper. Stay persistent until you find a price quote that meets your needs.
After following these steps, you will be ready to make a vehicle purchase online. This guide for car buying online will save you time and streamline the process for you. Finding your budget and car model will save you from considering countless models and time. A car’s value is important to know, so that when you collect price quotes, it’s easier to negotiate. Follow these steps before you sign. As a result, buying your car online will be a smooth process.