Kevin and I bought a car back in March and I like to think we got ourselves a pretty good deal. It was my first time going through the car buying process because I have driven the same car that my parents bought me when I was 16. Kevin bought a new car back in 2011 but he was fresh out of college and was looking for the very best, basic car at the best price.
So buying myself a new car was a whole new world for us. We did our fair share of research, noted here, but once we decided that we wanted to buy a new Santa Fe Sport, we had to buckle down and figure out how we could get the best price possible.
We talked to countless friends and family who have gone through this process and they all gave us so much great advice. Some of it we took, some of it didn’t apply to us, but here’s our best advice for new car shopping:
- Buy at the beginning of the year: Everyone says to buy a car at the end of the year, but we were looking for cars in February and March. Because we did that, we were actually able to find a 2014 version of our car at a very steep discount because the dealer was really wanting to get this car off the lot. The best part about this 2014 the dealer wanted off his lot? It was fully loaded!
- Negotiate online and over the phone: We asked 2-4 dealers in Louisville and a few surrounding cities to give us quotes for their 2015 Santa Fe Sports over email. Once we had their “best” offer, we visited in person and/or spoke to them on the phone. We found our car (the 2014) in Cincinnati and did all of our negotiating with the dealer over the phone, which was easier for Kevin and I because we found it was easier to put on a brave face and talk him down without having to see him face-to-face. Call us chickens, but it worked out well for us.
- Ask for something extra at the very end: As I said above, we negotiated with the dealer we ended up going with over the phone and right before we “closed” the deal, I asked our guy if he could throw in all weather mats. In fact, I think I phrased it as, “if you can throw in all weather mats for us, we’ll buy the car tomorrow.” The worst thing he would have said is no, so it didn’t hurt to ask. (In the end, we’re obsessed with our mats and I won’t buy another car without them.)
Obviously, we did the traditional car buying tactics of visiting the dealerships and leaving after test driving to try to bait them, but the three tips above are what worked best for us and helped us save more than $5,000 off the sticker price. Hopefully, it helps any of you who are out there looking to buy!