Undoubtedly, due to current circumstances, car shopping has changed. Some may even say for the better.
Shopping for a new or used car online can save you time and money compared to in-person. For starters, you’re not driving all over town, going from lot to lot, sitting for hours, waiting on salespeople, waiting on the finance manager, etc.
Worth a try?
Here are 7 tips for a smooth online car shopping experience:
1. Figure out what your budget is
Knowing how much you’re willing to spend each month will help you make sure you’re looking at cars within your budget. Of course, monthly payments aren’t the only number you should be concerned about, but it will send you in the right direction while car shopping.
We suggest using a car affordability calculator to determine your budget limits.
2. Find financing online
Online financing allows you to see what credit unions, banks and other lenders are offering and pick what’s best for you. It’s less stressful, cuts to the chase, lets you know what you are comfortable paying — and that’s it!
Plus, online financing gives you a bit of a bargaining chip if you want to see if you can get a better finance deal through the dealership.
3. Scour the net for car deals
Before setting your sights on a particular model, check around the internet for deals. These deals pop up from time to time when manufacturers and dealers are looking to move inventory off the lot. Maybe it was a new model that didn’t sell as well as anticipated, or the dealership wants to make room for newer year models.
Whatever the case, deals are out there! You just have to be willing to hunt for them.
4. Check out online inventories
No need to walk around a dealer lot the size of a football field in the hot sun to see what’s available. Most dealerships have their own online inventory to let you know what’s there. You don’t even have to keep your search within your city. Check the next town or 2 over, or even a neighboring state, to look for the vehicle that checks off most of the items on your list. It might be worth the drive, or they could deliver the vehicle to you or to a closer dealership.
5. Have a talk with the internet sales manager
Of course you do!
Instead of calling and speaking to the first salesperson that picks up, speak with the internet sales manager. These individuals are trained to handle and help the informed customer who wants to know more.
Instead of being passed from salesperson to finance manager to whoever else to answer your questions, they can handle them all.
6. Drive it before you buy it
Under normal circumstances, a test drive just means a quick trip to the dealership to drive a vehicle you’re interested in while a salesperson rides shotgun. But since we’re not operating under normal circumstances in the midst of a pandemic, you may be understandably hesitant.
If so, call the dealership before going to see what measures and precautions they’ve instituted to ensure your safety. They may even give you the option of someone bringing the car to you for a test drive.
7. Pick up or delivery
Ready to get that new car home?
You just have to sign on the dotted line!
But how can you if you’re hesitant to go into a dealership office?
Ask the dealership. Many dealerships have measures in place to ensure your safety and minimize exposure. As with the test drive mentioned earlier, some dealerships will even bring the car and paperwork to you.