Buying A Car Guide: How To Come Prepared

Buying a car can be a super fun process or a long, drawn out process. Our goal is for this to be fun so we put together a guide for you to come prepared. Going to the dealership with everything you need can help speed things up. 

Buying a car can be a super fun process or a long, drawn out process. Our goal is for this to be fun so we put together a guide for you to come prepared. Going to the dealership with everything you need can help speed things up.

Below is a list of things you may need. Most of these items are for those who plan to finance, but rather be safe than sorry! Remember our goal here is to make this fun. 

  1. Proof Of Address: This can be a piece of mail or rental agreement/lease
  2. Drivers License
  3. Proof Of Income: Pay stub
  4. Existing Proof Of Insurance
  5. Check Book

Very simple and painless. Come with the above five things and you’re well on your way to your dream car!

If you plan on trading your car in, there are a couple more pieces of information you need to bring: 

  1. Certificate Of Title
  2. All Keys
  3. Co-owner Signature: If you co-own the car with someone else, make sure the title is signed by the both of you. 

On top of these things we recommend coming with your car cleaned out so it’s all nice and ready to go.

And just like that, you’re set up for success. 

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Local to Syskeville, Maryland or live in a surrounding area? 

Come check us out! We offer financing and to help you come ready to go, click here, to pre-apply.  To view our inventory ahead of time, click here.

We look forward to seeing you!

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New Year, Used Car: The Best Time to Buy a Pre-Owned Vehicle

It’s no secret that the best time to shop for a new car is between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. But what about a used car? A brand new car may not be what you are looking for – whether you need a second car for your family, a car for a new driver, a work truck, or something that you can use as a commuter vehicle – sometimes pre-owned cars are the way to go.

It may seem like a stretch to spend a large amount of money right after the holidays, but January is the best month to buy used vehicles. And here’s why:

Strong December Sales

Many new car dealerships run great specials on vehicles in December to make room for new-year inventory. This means they have a lot of used vehicles on their lot that they want to sell.  In order to make room for new cars, these dealerships will likely have the used cars on excellent sales and provide low prices with attractive financing.

Given that over 1/2 of new car sales involve a trade-in and resale takes an average of 45 days, dealerships will be eager to get used vehicles off their lot, meaning the buyer has the upper hand in negotiating deals and better prices.

Slow Retail Month

After the holidays and going on spending sprees, many people tighten their wallets in the new year. People use what extra money they do have (after paying off credit card bills and debts) towards less frivolous things.

However, car dealerships still have to make money and meet sales quotas. This means one things: A buyer’s market. Dealerships and salespeople are eager to close deals and make sales, making January a great time to negotiate a better deal. This will even extend into February and even March, until people have paid off their debts and reenter the retail world.

Leased Vehicles Ready for Resale

Many people lease cars at the end & beginning of the year, which means many 3-year-old vehicles are available for resale in January. These vehicles are generally in great condition and will be “restored” to like-new condition. Since the mileage is lower than many used cars, you can find a steal – a newer model with low mileage for an exceptional price.

Luxury Deals

If you are shopping for a sports car or luxury model, chances are, you’ll land the best deal during the winter months. There is little supply-and-demand for sporty little cars with convertible tops or flashy little cars no suitable for harsh winter roads, which means you will likely get your pick of the best luxury vehicles for a much lower price than if you wait for the weather to get warmer.

Typically the more expensive cars on the lot, come January, these sporty little models suddenly drop in price and become more reasonably priced and the best deals out there.

Another Year Older

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, used vehicles suddenly become one year older meaning their value drops, and sometimes that drop is significant. For instance, Edmunds says the typical 2009 model sold for $19,392 in December 2012, but $18,738 in January 2013 – a 3.4% price drop in just one month.

This is true for models that are only 1 or 2 years old as well – you can find an “old” model that is just 2 years old, and in most cases, it will be in mint condition with just some miles put on.  For this upcoming January, look into 2017 models instead of a 2018 model and you’ll be shocked at how low the price is compared to it’s 2019 counterpart.

Shop Around for Financing Deals

Oftentimes, the finance deal the dealership will offer you isn’t the best you can find – especially in the new year.  A lot of banks, credit unions, and regional banks will offer financing incentives in the new year for existing customers. Contact your bank to see what deals they are offering and if you qualify for low interest rates. There may be discounts available if you enroll in auto-pay or use an existing bank account for the monthly payments.

Before settling on a pre-owned vehicle, be sure to look up what the MSRP was for the vehicle originally, and if there is any resale information. This can help you negotiate prices and deals in the long run. The most important thing to keep in mind is to have a set price that you cannot go over. No matter how great a deal, if the deal is more than you are able to spend, it’s not worth it.  Never overspend just because a dealership is pressuring you to sign a deal to help them meet their quota.  Keep shopping around – you will find the best deal for you!

 

Why December is the Best Time to Buy A Car

There are arguably a few different times throughout the year that are ideal for buying a car. But December is the best time to buy a car.

It’s enough that dealerships are generally emptier during the holidays due to people traveling, but sales teams have looming quotas to meet before the year’s end. To put it simply, they want cars out the door. And the best way to do this is to run unbeatable deals.

In fact, consumers can expect to get almost 8% off MSRP values when buying a car in December as opposed to waiting until January.

Like any big purchase, it’s important to do your research before you buy a car, so do your research (and maybe even test drive a few) during the fall. This will give you plenty of time to decide what make, model, and trim options you want in your dream vehicle. But when it comes to making a purchase? Pull the trigger between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve.

Here are just a few reasons why December is the best time to purchase a car:

Better Leverage (& Negotiating)

Dealerships tend to be slower during the winter months, so in order for the sales team to meet their quotas, they will be desperate to get cars out the door and on the road. This means you, the buyer, will have better leverage to get a great deal on the vehicle you desire. Take advantage of an empty dealership to ask lots of questions and get in-depth about the car’s features, amenities, safety ratings, and when it comes down to price, don’t be afraid to haggle.

Making Space for Newer Models

October, November, and December see a lot of new makes and models come onto the scene in preparation for the new year. But this means the old inventory has to find a new home so there’s room on the lot. Meaning… prices will drop. If you are shopping for a car, instead of buying a 2019 model, look at 2018 models instead. The prices will be significantly lower because they aren’t the newest model on the market anymore. But December is when the prices hit the lowest – the longer a car sits on the lot unsold, the lower the price drops.

Peace of Mind

You may not think about this when you are purchasing a vehicle right away, but have a safe and reliable vehicle can bring you a lot of comfort during the winter months when road conditions are treacherous. Having a vehicle with new tires, top-notch breaking capabilities, and updated technology can give you more confidence when you are driving on slick and snowy roads.

Holiday Bonuses

Everyone loves a little extra cash for a holiday bonus. Why not out it to use and put it towards a down payment on a vehicle.  If you can put down a higher percentage, you will be able to get a better interest rate, or better yet, if you can pay with cash, there’s a huge chance you can talk down the price even further!

If you’ve been dreaming of a new car, now is the time.  This is the best time to buy a car, so put your haggling skills to use and be prepared to get the best prices on the market!

Best AWD SUVs in 2018

When the winter months are upon us, driving safety becomes a concern. Slick roads, poor road conditions, and rough terrain are all something to think about when you travel for the holidays or winter getaways.

Some of that concern can be alleviated by having an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, especially a SUV.  Heavier vehicles operate better and are more reliable on poor road conditions because of their weight, which helps with traction support.

If you are in the market for an AWD SUV, here are some of the top ranking vehicles in 2018.

Best AWD SUVs in 2018

1. Nissan Rogue

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The Nissan Rogue offers value and comfort but doesn’t skimp on safety and all-terrain capabilities.  Because each trim level offers an AWD option, you don’t have to sacrifice safety for price.  Each option also comes equipped with a rearview camera and split-folding rear seats for convenience when you need additional cargo space.  The Rogue provides surprisingly ample leg and head space for taller passengers in its luxurious interior.

2. Jeep Wrangler

No surprise here, but the Jeep Wrangler is in this lineup since it’s frequently referred to by its loyal owners as a 4×4. But the new Jeep Wrangler offers more than just AWD off-roading abilities.  Full customization between 2- or 4-doors and 4- and 5-passenger models offer a wide range of compatibility for everyone.  If you prefer the more rugged style without all the bells and whistles, the Sport trim is for you – removable doors and roof, crank windows, and off-road tires.  If a more luxurious ride is your preference, there are optional upgrade packages that offer amenities like heated seats, remote start, and power features.

3. Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Essentially (and originally) built for off-roading, the Jeep Grand Cherokee offers optional AWD on all trim packages. But regardless of the trim you select, you’ll find features like rearview camera, parking sensors, an infotainment system, and keyless entry/start.  Drivers even have their choice between a V6 or V8 engine. The cabin is spacious to fit 5 adults comfortably.

4. Ford Explorer

Consistently topping most lists, the Ford Explorer is one of the most practical AWD vehicles on the market, year after year. Thanks to its V6 engine and large tires, it performs excellently in both dry and wet road conditions, and handles well on all terrains. The customizable Explorer has 3 different engines and 5 trim options to choose between, that can seat 5 to 7 passengers, so you are sure to find a model that suits you and your family’s needs.

5. Honda CR-V

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If an AWD vehicle with lots of options is what you are looking for, you’ll find it with the Honda CR-V. Honda offers 4 different trim options, all with optional front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.  Standard equipment and amenities include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, Bluetooth connectivity, and 17-inch wheels. Upgrades like a leather interior and power liftgate are available to those who select a Touring trim.

AWD is becoming more standard as the auto industry is shifting toward a SUV-heavy consumer base. Automakers are opting to make new and improved versions of already high-performing SUVs to create a loyal customer base and win over those drivers who have yet to convert to an SUV lifestyle.

Find the SUV of your dreams at Trust Auto today.  Call to make an appointment or schedule a test drive.  Don’t wait – our best cars go fast!

How the Internet Changes the Way We Sell (and Buy) Cars

A decade ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a car salesman to spend 6-8 hours with a single customer.  They would show the customer 3-4 vehicles, answer broad questions regarding the make, model, and basic amenities, and guide them through a very choreographed sales process.  

Fast forward to today, and the sales model has completely changed.  People spend approximately an average of 2 hours at a dealership when they go to make a purchase.  

Why?

Because of the internet.  

The Internet Changed the Process

Years ago, the sales process consisted of 5 clear and defined steps:

Enter → Research → Dealer Visit → Decision → Ownership

It was a very linear path and oftentimes, the research was done simultaneously as the dealers visit, when the salesman would inform the customer on vehicle stipulations and the differences between makes and models.

Nowadays, the process is much more fluent and the research is done independently by the consumer. There is a self-serve mindset that allows the customer to receive instant information about the vehicles they research and compare.

This is due to the rise of mobile devices.  

Over ⅔ of auto shopping is done on mobile devices because the consumer is always shopping. The average American touches their phone screen 3,000 times in one day, meaning the ability to look at cars and conduct research can happen all day. Anytime, anyplace. 

 mobile users

The internet provides an immense amount of transparency when it comes to cars and MSRP pricing, so there is less haggling and negotiating and customers know that if a dealership won’t give them the price they found online, they can go somewhere else.  It’s a Buyer’s World, instead of a Seller’s World.

Old selling tactics won’t work in today’s car-buying society. So both consumers and dealerships need to understand how this process has changed and how the system works to be effective for everyone.

How Has the Sales Process Changed?

  1. Consumers start with more information

Thanks to the internet, auto shoppers start the process with more information than ever before.  In fact, 42% of customers know the make and model of the vehicle they want to purchase before even setting foot into a dealership. 32% know the dealership from which they are going to purchase a vehicle.  This means dealerships have gotten more competitive in their advertising because they aren’t just selling cars anymore – they’re selling their services, their sales team, and their dealership as a whole.  

Because users know more information before even starting the initial research step, the urgency to buy has increased.

2. Consumers look for maximum transparency

During the research portion of the car-buying experience (that is now a constant, ongoing process thanks to the “always shopping” mentality), people are visiting an average of 12 auto touch-points before making a final decision – and this doesn’t include advertisements seen on social media or online.

Because consumers are spending more time researching and conducting more thorough research on auto websites and 3rd-party platforms, it’s important that a website provides the most information possible – including pricing.  

80% of buyers are looking at prices first during their research process.

Most websites only provide approximately 40% transparency and consumers are being more selective about which dealership they use. So it’s crucial to auto dealerships that their website be top notch (and mobile responsive) in order to compete with other dealerships in their area.  

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3. Consumers need validation when choosing a dealership

Inventory variety and vehicle pricing make up for 50% of why a consumer chooses a specific dealership when going to make a purchase. And one of the most important factors is knowing they aren’t getting ripped off.  

Consumers need price validation.  

This is critical for locking down customers and creating loyalty in your buyers. Everyone wants to know they are getting a good deal. When a consumer is at a dealership, it’s likely they are looking at the same vehicle online, whether it’s on a  manufacturer’s website or a competitor’s website to make sure they are getting the best deal possible. And they aren’t afraid to go elsewhere if a dealership won’t match the price. Make sure your sales team is providing a coherent and comprehensive experience – your online information must match what is being presented in person.  

Dealerships need to be aware of how they reach out to potential customers during the early stages of the process, because that will ultimately affect their decision to make a purchase or not.  Consumers want to be contacted in a way that is most convenient and comfortable for them – if they reach out via text, email, or Facebook, respond to them using the same method of communication.  This puts the consumer in control, which is vital in converting a lead into a customer. They choose the method of communication – it’s the dealership’s job to present the right information at the right time.  

4. Consumers visit fewer dealerships and take fewer test-drives

The decision process is one that consumers make quickly after completing their own thorough research.  

In fact, on average, Americans contact 3.1 dealerships, physically go visit 2.1 dealerships and only 1.6 test drives before deciding which car to buy. Because they already know the make, model, and dealership before going to purchase a car.  This ties back into the first step of the new sales model, making sure you are selling the actual dealership instead of just cars.  Make your dealership appealing and trustworthy and the sales will come. Have a positive online experience that offers full transparency and the sales will come.  Provide your users with all the information required to make an informed decision, and the sales will come.  See a pattern?  

Because consumers are doing most of their car-buying process before even setting foot into a dealership, it’s important that dealerships offer a pressure-free environment and deliver a simple, fast purchase experience. All while providing full transparency.  

It’s simply a matter of how consumers are purchasing vehicles and how dealerships are adapting to those changes and how the sales process as a whole is changing to fit the needs of consumers.  

Dealerships are competing more avidly with local competitors and now, they’re even competing with interaction-free car-buying experiences.

How has this shift affected the way you buy or sell a car?