Buying a car for the first time is exciting but it can also be daunting. There are so many factors to consider before making such a big purchase.
Adding to the challenge is how women are treated by salespeople who are looking to purchase big-ticket items like property and vehicles. It may surprise you to know that even though women are behind 70% to 80% of spending decisions in the country, they sometimes aren’t treated with the same respect as male customers.
We aren’t sharing this information with you to discourage you but to encourage you to come prepared. Here are 11 important tips every woman should know before buying a car.
As with any major purchase, you can start by asking yourself some key questions. Here are a few to get you started:
- Do I need a brand new car, or will a secondhand one do?
- What is my spending limit?
- Where will I primarily drive this car?
- How many people will use it?
- What features are absolutely vital for me?
Once you’ve mulled over these questions, you can more easily narrow down the types of cars that fit your needs and preferences. You can then do more focused research on models you’re interested in buying. A great way to get more information is by participating in social media groups and forums that are interested in those cars, talking to friends and family who own those models, and asking about their experiences with them.
This step might seem unnecessary if you’re planning on paying cash, however, if you’re planning on getting third-party financing, it’s good to get this out of the way.
Having a bank pre-approve you for a loan can get you thinking more practically about how much you can afford to spend. Also, if you have issues with your credit score, getting pre-approved can help you address those issues by either improving your credit score or creating a more realistic budget. This is also invaluable when you’re trying to negotiate a better rate!
When making your initial trips to the car dealerships or showrooms, try to go alone. A salesman at a car dealership may overlook or might not listen to a female customer if a man is present when you inquire.
Yes, it’s frustrating dealing with this kind of bias, especially when you know what you’re looking for and are willing to spend the money to get it. This is why we recommend that you go it alone and minimize possible distractions.
Revealing too much information about yourself can spoil your customer experience. Salespeople want to know as much as possible about you because it gives them opportunities to either pitch more expensive products or jack-up interest rates.
Too many questions can confuse you and cause you to lose focus on why you’re there in the first place. If you experience a nosy salesman and don’t see how their questions are relevant at that point, you don’t have to answer their questions. Try to steer the conversation back to your line of inquiry and regain control. Keep it simple and go through one conversation at a time.
Some salesmen will try to sell you on more expensive models that may be out of your price range. To make a car seem more affordable, they may quote affordable installment payments, conveniently overlooking the total price of the car.
When you’re at the dealership, start off with the total price of the car and your budget. Once both have been agreed upon, you can venture into discussions on trading in your older vehicle for discounts, not before!
If you reveal too early that you’re interested in a trade-in, they can hike up the total price of the new car so you don’t get as big a discount as you could have.
You might feel like you want to arrive at a quick decision and make a deal as fast as possible. If there are things you need clarity on, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to sleep on it. Take your time. This is a commitment that you’ll be taking care of for years.
Used or secondhand cars bought from reputed dealers can be just as great as new cars. You can end up saving a LOT of money by buying a used car with essentially the same value and longevity of a new car.
“People are buying good used cars at a hundred thousand miles and driving them for another hundred thousand miles. So I’m a big fan of buying a used car as a way to save money,” says Philip Reed, Autos editor at NerdWallet.
If you aren’t happy with what’s on offer or feel that you’re compromising on something important, don’t hesitate to walk out. You do not have to go through with a deal that doesn’t meet your needs and it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep shopping.
Salesmen tend to assume that women make spending decisions based on emotions rather than practicality. This can cause them to ignore what you’re saying to them. Of course, this doesn’t happen with all salespeople but it is something that many women have complained about.
Yes, color is important. The color of your car says a lot about you and even affects its maintenance so get something you love. (Light-colored cars, for example, don’t show dirt as easily.)
Aesthetics aside, did you know that the resale value of cars can differ based on color? A muted grey or deep blue will be much easier to sell than a vivid green vehicle.
After closing a deal, salespeople will often talk you through additional purchases to make your car better. They might try to sell you extended warranties, guarantees, insurance, and paint or tire protection plans, but it’s just to get you to shell out more money. You don’t know how much these prices have been inflated by these dealerships.
If you feel that an add-on they’re selling is something you need, take your time and compare prices. There’s no rule that says you have to purchase an add-on immediately.
Here comes the tricky part for a lot of people. Knowing when to push and how much to push is an art. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better deal if you feel that what you’re asking for is reasonable. If nothing can be done to reduce the price, ask the dealership what complimentary perks, warranties, and add-ons they can offer to offset the higher amount you’re paying.
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When Keren is not actually tapping away at her keyboard, you’ll find her staring into space or drinking copious amounts of coffee. But make no mistake, she's hard at work even then. Come close enough and you’ll hear the whooshing noise of countless words as they go whizzing by - in her head of course.