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Before Going to the Dealership: 4 Things to Consider
LaChelle Neudorfer, Associate Editor, Car-Buy-Her.

Buying a new (used) car can be an exciting experience. It can also be a huge hassle! Don###t make the mistake of showing up at a dealership on a whim because you could leave there making a very bad decision you regret.

Most people only consider the monthly payment when making a car buying decision. There is, however, much more to the process. To make your next trip to the dealership as enjoyable as possible you must consider what kind of car to buy, financing, insurance and warranty BEFORE you get to the dealership. Here are 4 Things to Consider before you go in: 1. Decide on what car(s) you would consider buying. a. Consider Lifestyle: single, family, business, pleasure b. Safety: visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov for safety and recall information c. Used or New? i. Used: Pro-Used has already taken depreciation and there is usually a return/exchange policy. Con- Does not have full factory warranty left. Note: An extended warranty can be purchased. ii. New: Pros- New car smell! Has full factory warranty. Con: New cars cannot be returned because once the car is titled it is considered used and the dealership will not take the hit in depreciation. New cars can depreciate as much as 20% the minute you buy it! iii. Tip: If you are a serial buyer (every two years or less) then stick with used cars! It is very tough to get out of a new car in that short of time without taking a painful financial hit. The savings is substantial versus new. If, however, you are a person who drives a car till it just won###t drive anymore, then a new car purchase does make sense. 2. Payments a. Check out current rates at www.bankrate.com b. To get loan offers from several sources go to: www.eloan.com or www.lendingtree.com. You can also check out your personal bank or credit union. An application can usually be submitted online. c. If you are unhappy with the rates you are getting you can check out your credit: For free you can see what items are on your credit report at all 3 bureaus once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. For a fee of $44.95 you can get your credit score from all three bureaus at www.myfico.com. Scores range from 300-850. The higher the score, the lower your interest rates will be. The national average is 678. If your score is 720 or above you are in great shape. d. Tips: The more money you put down and the shorter period of time you finance your loan (36 months versus 70 months), the more money you will save and the more likely you will avoid a negative equity situation. 3. Insurance a. Get quotes online or with your current carrier. The car of your dreams could cost you big bucks in insurance. An informative as well as company comparison website: www.insurance.com. b. If you are unsure about the quality of an insurance company, check out www.ambest.com for company ratings c. Generally, the more expensive the car, the higher the insurance due to the high expense for repair costs. d. Tips: If you are getting quotes online for several different cars, do them one at a time or you will get a lower quote because the site will be giving you a multicar discount. Also, consider having your car insurance, life insurance and homeowners/renters insurance through the same company to qualify for discounts. 4. Warranty a. If you have not thought about purchasing a warranty from a third party you need to start now because a dealership is sure to try and get you to purchase one. b. This is the time to decide if you are a candidate for a warranty (unable to afford minor to major repair on a moments notice) and which company you would like to purchase one from. c. Informational site with links to warranty companies-www.extended-warranty.info. d. Warranty prices are based on the reliability of particular makes andmodels as well as the costs associated with repairs. e. Tip: It is usually cheaper to go to a warranty company directly thanto go through a dealership. Before deciding on a warranty company, research who administers the warranty to make sure they have a good history of paying claims. LaChelle Neudorfer is the Associate Editor of car-buy-her.com, an automotive resource for female consumers. LaChelle graduated from UGA with a journalism degree and has worked in the automotive industry for 9 years, where she started as an Inventory Associate optioning cars and ended as a Senior Buyer who went to auctions and did appraisals on customers cars. LaChelle is an expert in the various makes/models of cars and has built an extensive knowledge base in car maintenance, buying and selling cars, and how not to get ripped off.

To read more of LaChelle###s articles on car buying and maintenance, visit www.carbuyher.com.