Many car purchases now take place online. The internet has made shopping easier by offering quick comparison shopping, convenience, and often, greater savings. Internet sales departments commissions are based on volume rather than price, making it a buyer’s market.
Internet shopping gives you a greater comparison base of what to expect in prices and availability, even if you don’t actually buy online.
This is an overview of some tips for online car shopping and buying.
Shopping Used Cars Online
- Go to a car sales website.
- Choose your preferred vehicle by price, category, and/or type.
- Make a selection and enter your zip code.
- Peruse the list of vehicles that match your choices. It will usually display the price, option packages, mileage, make and model, contact numbers, and photos (usually several, from different angles).
- Make a choice and call or e-mail the dealership to let them know that you’re interested.
- If the vehicle is what you’re looking for, you can purchase it online, but it is highly recommended that you visit the dealership for a test drive before making a final decision.
Shopping New Cars Online
Online shopping for a new car is just like shopping for a used car, but with more options. You can visit car dealership sites, as well as manufacturer sites. This will allow you to customize your color and option packages.
Order a VIN Check
When choosing a used car, request the service records. If the seller refuses, it could be a bad sign and a strong indication to look elsewhere.
Even if you’re sure that you’ve found exactly what you’re looking for, it is a very good idea to run a vehicle history report. A history report can expose any information the seller may not want to volunteer, like the number of previous owners, accident history, even odometer tampering.
Advantages to Online Shopping
- Gives you greater market knowledge.
- Price comparisons between many sellers.
- Shop from the convenience of your own home, at your own pace, without the pressure of a trained sales team shadowing you.
- Save time, and money on gas.
- No closing hours.
- You can determine the size of your search area.
- Generally better pricing.
Many online car buying sites offer user-friendly, online loan applications. These will allow you to calculate different loan amount and payment options, ensuring that your choice fits your budget.
You can also visit sites like Bankrate.com to research local and national lenders to ensure the best loan at the best rate.