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Car Buyers Get Bad Advice

May 8, 2008
Have you been studying up at the websites? Edmunds.com, Kelly Blue Book, etc.? Is it helping you prepare, or is it WAY too much information for anyone to absorb? Let's simplify this a little bit. Here are some common myths, or "advice" from apparently well-meaning buyer guides that are...well...stupid!

* "Don't tell 'em you have a trade-in until you have agreed on a price for the one you are buying".

Um...NO. Why would you do that? Besides the fact that lying or misdirecting is an unnatural and uncomfortable process for most people, besides all the time it will cost you--HOURS--as they now have to appraise your trade and put an accurate value on it (while fantasizing about stabbing you in the chest), it has skewed your financing deal because your interest rate quote was based on a certain LTV(loan to value) that has now changed.

If you did not work a financing deal, and decided only on a purchase price, you have locked that price in and left only one more negotiable item. It is much easier to try to work the edges of a negotiation when you have another variable. Your trade-in will not suddenly gain (or lose) value. EVER. It is worth what it can be sold for at that moment, never more.

Depending on several subtle factors, or the skill(or lack thereof) of the appraiser, one can gain a small monetary advantage or concession on occasion. But when dealers move money from one car to the other, it is because that is what you are telling them you want to see. "Give me more for my trade!" Okay, here you go. "Hey, what happened to that other price?" If you know where the numbers should fall on both vehicles, you will at least be able to squeeze from both sides. Just like they will be doing!

* "Don't talk about monthly payment"

Okay, but isn't that how you work out your own budget? By the month? So, if your main deciding factor is the monthly payment, then perhaps you should mention that. Of course, you have already figured out what your interest rate should be and the term of the loan before you got there, didn't you? No? We should probably slow things down a bit, then.

By the way, obtaining your own financing will eliminate this step. Why not do that right now?

* "Beat the dealer"

Huh? How will you beat the dealer? If they sell you a car, they have been successful. That is what they do. If the deal is not advantageous to them, they will not sell you a car. Hey, when you enter into any event in your life with the idea that someone else has to lose in order for you to be successful, that event is taking too much from your life-force and should be put on hold.

If you are happy with your deal, if you have the car you want and are paying the amount you determined you could comfortably pay, then you have been successful. Be happy! That is the very definition of winning a car deal, and if you need more evidence that you won, take a victory lap around your neighborhood, around your part of the world. See the sun, the sand, the mountains, the ocean ? Yep, you won.

Oh, yeah..."Bigfoot"? Just a giant prehistoric ape-like creature that lives in the Pacific Northwest. Nothing more.
About the Author
To claim your copy of the free money-saving report 'The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Car Buyers Make' please visit CAR FU: Self-Defense for Car Buyers Peter W. Robinson is the founder of Movinmetal,Inc., a car buying and consulting service located north of San Diego, and author of 'CAR FU: Self-Defense for Car Buyers'.
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