If you’ve been tracking Kita over at PF Journey, she’s asked her readers to help with her used car purchase and has been documenting the journey (ties nicely into the site name) along the way. Hopefully she’s been reading the material over at Car Negotiation Coach to help with tips & tricks.
My own car, the “Red Baron”, has been getting up in age – 10 years to be exact! So I’ve started the process of looking for replacement vehicles. There’s such a vast amount of information out there, you could spend hours filtering through sites. From everything I’ve seen so far, two in particular stand out.
Provides detailed trending information in a variety of formats. The basic report is a histogram of actual sales data for your area. The best feature has to be the seeing the price swings between the: sticker price, factory invoice, average paid, and dealer cost.
Understanding the true costs of a car purchase are critical to negotiating the best possible price. Referred to as the “Cash Flow Shell Game” (scroll to bottom of page), the site provides a graphic worth checking out explaining how dealer’s make their profits.
Allows you to search dealerships in your area and read the reviews submitted by others. What’s nice about the reviews is that you can separate between “sales” and “service”. While comprehensive, still could use more data. Dealership reviews can range from under 5 to over 100.
Thinking of these two sites in conjunction made me realize that maybe there’s a step missing from the car-buying research.
We end up spending a lot of time researching the car of our choice. What safety features are included, how reliable the car is, the highway fuel economy, storage or passenger capacity, and so on. While we research the price, a lot of that information is based on trade-in values, MSRP prices, and other gray estimates.
TrueCar allows us to take the pricing research a step further and pinpoint our purchase price. The importance beyond saving money? Remaining firm in our negotiating, instead of relying on ranges and budging as a result.
DealerRater allows us to take the negotiation a step further and filter through potential dealerships. No matter how good your poker-face is, or how easily you can walk out – what does it matter if you walk into a notorious dealership? You probably won’t get the same deal as if you found a more amicable dealership with a more positive reputation.
Remember that all of this goes back to the idea of EDUCATION. The more you are informed, the more you’ll understand, and hopefully the more you’ll get ahead. Think of your knowledge as weapons – you want to be armed with scud missiles instead of bb guns.