Buying a Car Online
The Internet has revolutionized car shopping. According to Edmonds.com nearly 30% of all car purchases are now consummated online. It offers convenience, lightning-quick comparison shopping and, best of all, savings. Dealership Internet sales departments garner their commissions based on volume rather than price, making the Internet a car-buyer's market.
Here's what to do:
- Log online to a car-selling site (see below for list of sites).
- Depending on the site, choose a vehicle by make, price or category (compact, pickup truck, convertible...).
- Make your selection and type in your zip code.
- A list of vehicle's, matching your choice, will appear, displaying photos, usually several from different angles, and pertinent information like make, model, mileage, price and contact numbers.
- After targeting a vehicle, you'll be given the choice to either call or e-mail the dealership, expressing your interest.
- If you're certain the vehicle is right for you, you can purchase online. Although we highly recommend visiting the dealership for a test drive before making a final decision.
The process is identical as above, only you have more site choices. In addition to car dealership websites, you can also directly shop and order from a car manufacturer's Web page, allowing you to customize color and accessory choices. You can find more information on our Buying Online or at the Dealership page.
After deciding on a vehicle, make an arrangement for a test drive. While doing so, ask to inspect the vehicle's service records. If the seller refuses, interpret it as a warning and walk away.
And, regardless of how certain you feel about the car, it's imperative you run a vehicle history report before signing your name to a used car deal. A VIN check (vehicle history report) should show any problems with the vehicle, such as odometer tampering, accident history and how many people have owned the vehicle.
If you need help financing your car purchase, most online car buying sites also offer online car loan applications. It's a user-friendly process, allowing you to easily calculate potential loan-amount scenarios. This way you can confidently decide if your car of choice meets your budget. Or, if leasing would be a better option.
Or, to ensure finding the best loan at the best rate, consult Bankrate.com. This site allows you to research the current rates local and national lenders are offering.
- No shadowing by trained sales teams.
- You can shop at your own pace from the convenience of home or work.
- No closing hours.
- You can compare prices from a number of sellers.
- You can define the size of your search area.
- Saves money on gas.
- Empowers you with market knowledge.
- Online prices are generally lower.
There really aren't any major disadvantages, other than it's easy to get paralyzed trying to find the best deal. Consequently, while you're searching for a $70 savings, someone else may swoop in and buy your possible first choice.
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