Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you have got some money and you fancy buying a new car. That’s all good but it won’t hurt to be reminded that there is a set of basic rules that everyone should stick to before letting heart rule head.
It is all too easy to be seduced by twinkling metal and tempting deals and end up with an inappropriate car. Better to take a long hard look at the market and your own personal circumstances. In short, the car that you want may not be the car that you need. Is family transport the priority or simply driving for pleasure? Will it fit into your garage or parking place and what level of Euro NCAP does it have? There are many variables and most people’s finances don’t allow for silly mistakes. Set a budget and stick to it, remembering to allow for insurance costs and the like.
The questions are complicated by having a car to dispose of. These days dealers are really only interested in popular models that are in tip-top condition with a full service history and, ideally, under five years old. In order to make a sale they’ll probably take almost anything in part exchange but the amount offered will be very low. Car dealers are not philanthropists – they’ve got a business to run.
Once the object of your desire is dispassionately selected make sure you book a test drive first. Don’t think it isn’t necessary simply because you’ve read up on it. All cars have their quirks and foibles. For example, a car that suits someone of average height may not be ideal for the lanky person and so on.
The next stage in your campaign for a good deal is the part that many people baulk at. The natural reserve of the British tends to come to the fore and hold you back from securing that extra bit of value. Haggle as if your life depended on it, understanding that the average showroom sales person will not be a pushover. Prepare for a battle of wills. Sales staff really want you to have the car on their terms; you, meanwhile, are holding out for that extra perk that will get you signing on the dotted line. There will be a compromise in there somewhere that keeps all parties happy.
Finally, if you are financing or signing any form of contract make sure to slowly and carefully read the small print. Take your time. Once the deal is done it is no good crying foul when things go wrong. Treat the car buying process like a military campaign. By planning a strategy and sticking to it you are sure to have a successful outcome.
Guest Post by Geoff Maxted – Editor of MotorBlogger.co.uk
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