When you need a new vehicle, you want to shop on your own terms and find exactly what you’re looking for. Pushy salespeople in shiny car lots will distract you from your goal as they try and upsell you on more expensive vehicles and act like negotiating with their bosses is a big deal, like they’re doing you a favor. Skip the hassle and shop online for the car of your dreams – it’s simpler than you might think.
The key is to find a trusted car website that not only hosts vehicle listings but also offers information on the car buying process, so you can verify your information along every step of the process. I personally recommend cars.com, a site that lets users buy and sell cars and offers a wide variety of tools to estimate car values, estimate payments, and lets you research models to find exactly what you’re looking for. They even work with dealers, so you can get the new car you’ve been dreaming of without having to wander lots and deal with in-person pressure. These tools are invaluable in finding a car that’s right for you.
One of the most tiring parts of the buying process is research, but it’s also the most essential. It’s important to make sure that you find the right year and trim level so that your vehicle doesn’t surprise you by missing the features you were hoping for. Make a list of all the things that are important to you: a sunroof, a great sound system, four-wheel drive, or maybe even a third row of seats. Once you know what your priorities are, stick to them and don’t look at cars that don’t meet your specifications. That way you can’t be swayed by nice pictures or slick sales gimmicks and will instead purchase exactly the kind of car that meets your needs.
Look closely at the listings you find, whether they’re on cars.com or other websites. You want to make sure that the photos match the description of the car and that there’s a picture of the odometer so you know the car’s mileage is accurate and that you’re dealing with an honest seller. Then, be sure to test drive the car – it’s the only step you really can’t do online, and you want to make sure the car lives up to its promises in person.
Shopping online often means you get fast responses, so make sure you check your e-mail frequently after making an inquiry or an offer so that you don’t miss important messages. If you’re willing to talk or negotiate over the phone, always include that number in every e-mail and make sure your phone is charged and nearby at all times so that you won’t miss it when the seller is ready to talk. Be confident, articulate, and remember what your priorities are, and you’ll always come out on top. That new car has your name on it and you’ll be behind the wheel in no time.