Breezy Mama Editor Lan Nguyen has the scoop on getting the best deal for your family when buying a car and more…
Buying a car can be pretty stressful. Between the different makes and models, various features and the price tag, the decision to invest in a vehicle can be overwhelming. It doesn’t help that car sales people have a certain reputation or that women pay more for a car than men at the dealership, even after negotiating, according to some studies.
To help us navigate the process and get the best car for our dollars, we enlisted the help of Allon Bloch, CEO of Vroom, the largest online car store in the U.S., offering thousands of high quality, refurbished, pre-owned vehicles that can be delivered free right to your doorstep nationwide.
If you are buying a new car, what do you need to know these days?
The first thing to know about buying a new car is that they depreciate in value much more quickly than pre-owned cars – it’s estimated that the value decreases by 11% the minute you drive the car off the dealership lot. That’s why any new car buyers should ask themselves how long they plan on keeping it, and whether they plan to resell it or trade it in. The typical family buys a new car roughly every 10 years, so you’ll also want to consider if your needs are going to change a lot as time goes on.
It’s also important to have a clear idea of what your needs are. Are you using this car to drive your family around town, in which case you might want an SUV to fit everyone, or to tackle a two-hour commute each day, where you’d probably want something more fuel-efficient? Is it a starter car for your teen driver? If so, you might want to consider a car with safety features like OnStar.
The key to buying any car is research: you should consult not just car manufacturer websites but also independent sources like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Consumer Reports or Kelley Blue Book. They offer a number of research tools that let you compare costs, safety ratings and features, until you find what’s best for you.
If you are buying a used car, what do you need to know?
When buying a used car, you want to be very conscious of what your budget is and what models are right for you. At Vroom, we find that a lot of our customers already know the exact car they’re looking for, and are simply comparing prices offered by different dealers. Vroom.com features the exact, no-haggle price directly on our website, complete with all local taxes and fees based on where you live, so it’s easy to comparison shop.
Many used car dealers play games with trade-ins and financing, so it’s important to keep an eye out for that. For instance, they may give you a different trade-in value based on whether you’re also buying a car from them and how much it costs. The financing deals they offer you could also be sub-par, so many car buyers end up needing to negotiate on all three aspects of the car buying process: buying, selling and financing. Vroom solves these pain points by giving you a great trade-in appraisal offer within minutes after you submit photos and details online; offering transparent, no-haggle pricing; and working with more than 30 lenders to ensure we’re getting the best financing deal for our customers.
It’s also important to make sure the vehicle has a good vehicle history report. For instance, we won’t sell any car that has ever been in an accident. Many used car dealers don’t have high quality standards and might not tell you about issues in the car’s history that will need to be addressed with costly repairs down the line.
What are the pros and cons of buying a used car versus a new one?
New cars are going to be more expensive and they depreciate much more quickly. If it’s a relatively common car with low demand, then the resale value can decline several thousand dollars just by driving it off the lot. Buying a car pre-owned is almost always going to be more cost-effective in the short-term. It’s not hard to find used models with very low mileages, which are going to be new in all but name and cost a fraction of the price of a new car. In fact, Vroom sells some “used” cars that have mileage that’s just as low as the “new” ones you’d buy at a dealership.
However, new cars do have the latest features, and helpful perks like roadside assistance. At Vroom, we offer roadside assistance for our cars, but that’s not the case with the typical used car dealership.
How can you protect yourself when buying a previously owned car?
The most important way to protect yourself when buying a previously owned car is to do a lot of research, not only on the different models that might be right for you, but also on the dealership and the car’s vehicle history report. Check the reviews of the dealership on Yelp before you decide which one to visit and ask detailed questions about the condition of the car on the phone or via email before you visit. Some dealers will misrepresent the car on the phone to try to lure you to the dealership, so they can use their sales tactics on you in person.
Research what the most commonly reported problems are with that vehicle and whether there have been any recalls, to help you better identify what kind of shape the car is in. Also, it helps if you have a mechanic you trust that you can consult, who will not have the same incentives as a salesperson.