How to Buy a Car Online
We live in a new era, where cars are no longer necessarily purchased from the nearby local dealerships. According to a survey by Accenture, 53% of the respondents would buy a new car online and 16% have already bought their vehicle via the Internet.
With a single click of a button, the customer is now able to compare the price and the condition of different vehicles, regardless of their location. Once the car is purchased, the customer can also find a reputable car shipping company to transport the newly purchased vehicle. Buy a car online and have it delivered right to you.
Step 1: Set a budget and line up the money
Step 2: Define what car you need
Step 3: Check price at multiple vendors
Step 4: Negotiate with dealerships and auctions online
Step 5: Test drive and Inspection
Step 6: Arrange a safe auto transport
Set a budget and line up the money
Before you start browsing to buy a car online, first you need to set a budget. Be sensible with how much you can afford to spend on the purchase plus related maintenance costs. When figuring out your budget, be sure to consider all of your car-related expenses such as taxes and insurance. Not every vehicle costs the same to insure, so be sure to think about the cost of insurance for any models you’re considering.
If you still owe money on your current car, or you have any other leases or loans, be practical and avoid pushing your monthly budget to the limit.
Surely, financing is offered by most dealers nationwide - compare different lenders’ rates and terms. While dealerships may prefer working with a particular lender, you can choose any lender you want. Look for a loan with a lower annual percentage rate (APR). Getting pre-approved for a loan in advance can be very useful when you negotiate with dealers online, and it can help you secure a better sale price.
Define exactly what kind of a car do you need
Make a list of potential cars that you would buy online and thoroughly research them. Keep in mind that the models on your list should be able to accommodate your needs as a car owner. For example, if you are a parent with three kids, consider details such as cargo space and interior roominess. And if you live in a crowded area, then you may need a more compact car. Take into account your budget, particular lifestyle, fuel economy, and even the cost of ownership.
When you buy a car online, it is very helpful that most manufacturers’ websites can get you an idea of what model’s standard and optional features are. Plus, most of them even offer a virtual tour with a close-up of car’s exterior and interior.
Check price at multiple vendors
Not all vendors are the same. Different dealers offer different prices and terms. Now that you have found your dream car model and you have lined up the money for it, compare quotes from dealerships.
When you buy a car online, you are not limited to working with local dealers only. You can buy a new or old car online and have it delivered right to you. Get as many quotes as you can to get the idea of what the current market value of your car is.
When you are comparing dealers, narrow down your list to include only reputable and trustworthy dealerships. Pay attention to their experience, location, years in business, and customer reviews. Make sure they have a good customer service policy and they keep the lines to communication open.
Remember, be as specific as you can with make, model and features, when you ask for offers. Keep in mind that if the initial estimate do not fall within the preferred range (based on the market), you can ask again for the best price.
Negotiate with dealerships and auctions online
When comparing price quotes, be sure they are detailed and include any extra fees such as “customer service fees,” or particular add-ons. These are negotiable and can be removed in order to reduce your final price. If a dealer gives you a good price, you can email that quote to other dealers to get competing bids.
When you buy a car online, never disclose your minimum monthly budget too early in the process. That information allows sales people to bargain whatever they can and still meet your budget. Do not be too eager to speak of your trade-in or any financing you have lined up. These fine points give the salesman leverage to negotiate them for their best interest. Focus on the actual price of the car and how you can lower it.
Haggling online is much less stressful than negotiating in person. Take your time and do not rush to make decisions right away.
Test drive and Inspection
Nowadays, many automakers and dealerships offer programs where sales representatives arrange test drives. For example, Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance program offers to deliver the selected model right to you to test. Generally, getting a test drive provides you with an opportunity to get a real feel of how the car will run on the roads that you normally travel.
If you are buying from a dealer online, your car should be inspected already. Most dealers have certified programs where cars must pass meticulous inspections to be approved for sale. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires all dealerships to publish a buyer’s guide and it must state whether the car is being sold “as is” or comes with a warranty.
If the car is being sold “as is,” the FTC recommends consumers to get a thorough inspection. The latter can help ensure sure that the car is in good condition and safe to operate. An inspection would reveal if there is a structural damage or if the car has been in previous accidents.
You can also consider obtaining a Carfax report to look into a car history if you buy a used car online.
Arrange a safe auto transport
If you need to pick-up your car from a dealer located less than 150 miles away, you could easily do it by yourself. However, if you have bought a car long distance, then you will need a reliable auto transport company.
Generally, having your newly bought car shipped to you is much safer and less stressful than picking up the car yourself. You don’t need to bring in a friend to split long hours of driving, or buy a plane ticket. There is a variety of shipping services to take advantage of.
Choose a less expensive open transport to save money, or opt for a more secure enclosed transport if you have bought a super car. Most reputable auto transporters offer guaranteed pickup and delivery dates and would ship your car right to your doorstep.
When you look for a car transport company, make sure it is a licensed and insured one. Pay attention to company history, years in business and online reviews. Also, when you buy a car online, it is important that your car transporter will examine your vehicle thoroughly prior to pick-up and provide inspection report in writing. When you ask for a car shipping quote, be specific with the make, model and condition of the car.