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Author Topic: Personal car buyer?
ApeLad
IE # 231
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My wife and I are thinking of buying a new car in the next couple of months, and someone mentioned a free service that credit unions offer. They put you in contact with a "personal car buyer" who does all of the groundwork and negotiating, and supposedly they can get you a better price than you could on your own. Has anyone here ever tried this route?
Of course we'll go test drive a couple of models first, but it would be a huge relief not to have to be trapped in a dealership for half a day.

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JATG
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Here's an idea for you ApeLad:

My older brother researched a bunch of stuff online...he did do a few test drives after reading a bunch of Consumer Reports.

One he had a good idea of what he wanted and what he was willing to pay ... he sent faxes to all the dealerships stating what it was he wanted...and what he was willing to pay, all his terms etc, and if they wanted his business to get a hold of him.

He sent them around the end of the month when dealerships are more willing to work with you ... and did very, very well with his car purchase.

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tstevens
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Some of it depends on what brand you are dealing with. You'll find a lot of car companies are starting to lock your price and the haggling becomes more about things like rebates, free oil changes etc...

For the most part (atleast in this area) most dealers know exactly what the other is doing so prices aren't dramatically different when comparing nearly the same make and model. Most dealerships will also tend to be pretty close on trade in values since nearly all of them are using the same resources.

Be leary of anyone who wants you to lease. Lease agreements are very convoluded and it is hard at best to understand the terms and conditions. I would highly advise anyone to avoid a lease unless it is for a very short term or you plan on trading in your car every year.

Also, make sure that your credit is in line if you plan on financing. The better your credit, the better your interest rate will be. This means that you should have no outstanding debt outside of a home loan or car loan. If you are carrying a balance on your credit cards, you should pay them off (as a general rule never carry a balance on your credit cards. Purchase things that you know can be paid off at the end of the month. Credit cards are not free loans).

One of the keys is to actually read the documents you are signing. Unfortunately, most people will trust the guy doing the paper work. Do not EVER, EVER, EVER sign your name to paperwork that you haven't read. Always ask questions if you are unsure of anything and never do it alone. As a side note, if you make any deals with the seller, like extended warranties, rebates, free oil changes, etc make sure that you see those things documented in the contract. If you don't, all you have is a verbal commitment that no one needs to remember.

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http://www.foogersnarts.blogspot.com

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ApeLad
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Yeah, I'm trying to avoid all of the faxing/haggling/running all over creation for a new car. Supposedly a personal buyer can get you fleet rates, so I was wondering if anyone can confirm this from personal experience. Or if someone knows a credit union employee who can confirm this. If not, then I guess I'll do it the hard way.
As for debt, the whole reason we're getting a new car is the surprise transmission problem our fine American made vehicle sprung on us last month.
And as far as leasing goes, we did that once about ten years ago and never again.
Lifehacker had a great video up last week about buying a new car that went through all of the points both of you made, which are all good. I'd link to the video, but lifehacker.com is not loading at the moment.
Anyway, thanks!

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OFFBEAT
IE # 39
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Haggling is fun for me when it comes to cars.

Go the last 3 days of the month.. that's when the salesmen are desperate to meet their quotas... if the place is stupid enough to put up a salesboard.. find the guy who is behind.. and deal with him.. you could practically name your own price with that guy.

Be willing to walk away. I just bought a car.. and I got up to leave 3 times.. even during paperwork. The 3rd time I was almost off the lot and the salesman came running after me.

Stick to the price you want to pay... and don't budge at all on it.. tell them you're incapable of financing above that amount. They'll work with you on % rates or even taking more money off the price.

Don't be afraid to be a jerk. No matter how jerky you act.. it pales in comparison to what they normally deal with.

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"Get Rich, or Die Drawing!"

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ApeLad
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I think he makes the same points in the video I mentioned earlier. Here it is.
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Patty B
IE # 226
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Just remember that the second guy you see--the finance guy --is a salesman to. He takes care of the warranty and undercoat and crap like that--this person is just as slimmy as the actual salesman so stand your ground with him to!!!
Good luck!

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Jennifer Hachigian Jerrard
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I hadn't heard about a "personal buyer service" from credit unions.

However, I would like to second JATG's recommendation for Consumer Reports. I had to buy a car earlier this year after a reckless driver ran a stop sign and totaled my car. I picked up the 2007 edition of the Consumer Reports Used Car Buying Guide for $10, along with a Kelley's Blue Book.

Best $10 I ever spent. The Guide lists prices, buying techniques, inspection tips, the works. [Smile]

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Chris Roman
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Apelad, I'm not sure if this is what you're talking about, but I used the 'Autoland' company through First Entertainment Credit Union. They're a service that you tell them what car you want and they find it locally for the best price. I do believe there's a fee, though, I'm not sure. They used to be located in Van Nuys, but that was almost 5 years ago when I used them. It was a great experience, though, since they worked with my credit union there was no haggling about financing, and the deal they got me was great, no pressure sales at all.

I WOULD though recommend NOT getting the extended warranty, which has been pretty useless to me since everything that has gone wrong on my car has conveniently not been covered. From what I hear, though, that's the case with almost any extended warranty.

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ApeLad
IE # 231
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Chris, that sounds like the same thing, though my credit union offers it free. I assume the buyer gets a percentage.
I'm surprised at how little there is online about this service. I'll be sure to follow up in a couple of months with the results. It'll hopefully be before the end of the year.
As for extended warranty, etc: I used to have a chart that listed all of the "add-ons" traditionally offered at a dealership, their cost, and the real world cost. A final column showed whether or not you actually needed any of it. I think it was from Consumer Reports and it was designed so you could take it with you to the dealership. I'll see if I still have it.
If I remember right, the usual mark up on an audio upgrade was around 300%.

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Jennifer Hachigian Jerrard
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I found this just now, and thought I'd tack it onto this thread as a footnote. The Burbank City Federal Credit Union offers the services of "Ed Car Guy."

quote:
From https://www.burbankcity.org/index.php?content=ed_car_guy

Save time, hassle and money.
Ed Levitt is Ed Car Guy - the no-hassle way to purchase your next new or used car, truck, van or SUV. From start to finish, Ed will negotiate the lowest price on your vehicle, get you top dollar for your trade-in and arrange for door-to-door delivery.

...

Here's how it works:
  • Choose the make, model and color of the vehicle you're looking for
  • Visit, call or e-mail Ed Car Guy and tell him what you want.
  • Ed will get back to you with the lowest price.
  • On your approval, he'll prepare the paperwork and arrange for delivery

...

What does it cost?
Ed's normal rate for this service is $400. As a service partner of Burbank City, members get his full service for a flat rate of just $250. And because Ed Car Guy is paid by you at the time of delivery, the fee is independent of the car price.

Information is always free.
Ed Car Guy has an office in the Credit Union lobby. He's ready to answer your auto questions and help you make the best car buying decision. Even if you're not sure which vehicle to purchase, Ed will be happy to give you advice and guidance.

...




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ApeLad
IE # 231
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I forgot about this thread. We used a car buyer through our credit union a couple of weeks ago and saved about 4 grand on an '07 Toyota (though we still had to sit in a dealership signing papers for a good 3 hours).
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