Buying a car | 12 tips for hassle-free haggling

Buying a car | 12 tips for hassle free haggling

Buying a car is a hassle. Whilst pregnant with my our little girl, we traipsed all over Melbourne looking for the best deal for the Ford Focus I had in mind. At the time we decided to take out a personal loan for the car with the intention of paying back the loan ASAP, which we did.

We found a great little Zetec from a respectable looking guy in St Kilda who lived near the beach. We took it for a ride around the block. He gave us a neat sales pitch and we happily gave him a small deposit ($100) before walking away to do our checks and research on the car.

Beware of scammers when buying a car

The finance company came to our rescue when they discovered a flaw in our plan. Their super-sleuthing unveiled that our ‘respectable’ looking and honest-sounding man in St Kilda was more of the dodgy not do-good type. Further digging around revealed his company owned the car. Even worse – the company was in liquidation!

Eventually we purchased the Ford Focus from a young woman we’d been keeping our eye on. She was leaving the country in a few days and was getting desperate for a sale. I was also very close to popping out my little peach, so the sale was timely at both ends. Despite a few very odd scratches around the door (where she’d had trouble finding the driver’s door keyhole), the car was a gem.

Of course, I still daydream about owning my dream car. I can picture myself in a sporty little Mini Cooper or a big bad-ass Chrysler. Not sure which yet. I’d like a car with all the trimmings. As a typical mum who lives in her car, I’d like a more luxurious vessel for providing me a home between lives! One between laundry loads and life at the office!

12 top-notch tips for buying a car

  1. Decide whether you wish to buy a new or used car. Remember, that new cars lose value the minute you drive them out of the car yard.
  2. Test drive the car you wish to own. At this point avoid actually buying it. Move into research mode.
  3. Compare cars online to find the best price for the car you wish to own.
  4. Compare prices online and do your homework.
  5. Do research on the vehicle’s reliability, fuel efficiency and safety history.
  6. Check the vehicle is not under finance etc. Google a ‘Car Buying Checklist’ for your region and work down it meticulously.
  7. Get the car checked out by a mechanic and do all the regular checks on your checklist.
  8. Try to do your deal over email, so you have all the questions answered in writing. Keep a paper trail.
  9. Make an offer, go in hard and be ready to walk away.
  10. Try not to make any emotional buys. There are plenty of cars around waiting for an owner.
  11. Unless you are in business and you can get a deduction avoid buying a car under hire purchase. If you have to do this, pay the money back as soon as possible. E.g. Within a few months if you have the money.
  12. Don’t purchase a car that is beyond your needs or buy a car if you can’t afford it.

Most importantly, buy a car that fits your budget and lifestyle. Do you really need a massive 4-wheel drive if you live in the inner city? And finally, once you have your beautiful new car – look after it. Maintain it well and service it regularly for resale purposes down the track. Enjoy life in your new car. You deserve it!