Before you agree to the salesperson's offer there are two things you need to do:
1. Ask for an "out-the-door" price that includes all taxes and fees.
2. Carefully read the next step.
Step 3: Arrange Delivery
Let's assume that you found the car you want and that the price is right. Before you say yes to the deal, say that there's one condition: Request that dealership deliver the car
to you. That's right: Ask the salesperson to bring the car to your home or office. Understand that if you're requesting this on a busy Saturday or Sunday sales day, it might not be possible. But it doesn't hurt to ask during your negotiations.
If you decide to pick up your car at the dealership instead, set up an appointment to close the deal. To speed up the paperwork, ask what documents you need to bring and arrange the proper form of payment. If you are financing through the dealership, complete a credit application and find out what your monthly payment will be. Check the dealership's figures by using the Edmunds.com monthly loan calculator.
However you take delivery of the car, inspect it to verify it is the year, make and model you want. Also, make sure there are no dents or scratches and all the equipment that's supposed to be there has been included. This includes such things as floor mats or headphones for the rear DVD player.
The last step is signing the contract. If you are arranging a home delivery, most Internet managers will offer you an extended warranty over the phone. You can also ask about other products the dealership offers if you have a special need, such as requiring an additional alarm system. The Internet manager will draw up the paperwork for these items so you can sign them when the car and the sales documents arrive. If you don't want additional items, you will be asked for your signature to show you have been offered the warranty but declined.
When you review the contract, make sure the amount matches what you were given as an "out-the-door" price. If you are financing, the down payment and monthly payment should match what you discussed with the Internet manager earlier. Here's more information on this crucial car-buying step.
Assuming all is correct, you will give the Internet manager your payment and he will give you the keys to your new car.
There is one more step in all this that could slow your deal down, and that's the salesperson's demonstration of the car. These days, vehicles are loaded with technology, so it's valuable to get a solid introduction. However, if you're in a rush, much of this description will go right over your head. So here's a tip: Arrange to bring the car back a week later for an hour-long briefing. By then you'll probably have some questions and you'll be ready to pay attention.
One-Day Car-Buying Mission Accomplished
Even though a car is a big-ticket purchase, you can do it quickly and with little stress. Break the task into the steps listed here and you'll save time and money and still get the best car for you — all in one day.