how to buy a car

Car Buying: No Need to Get Physical

•  3 minute read

Buying a car is straightforward, but getting a good deal requires some research and prep.  Here's how to get the most for your money.

In this article, I’ll share with you how I bought a car, a Lamborghini, at age 19. It’s yellow, it’s loud, and it never happened. But I got your attention, didn’t I?

 

I could have bought one, I suppose. Lamborghinis are probably more within reach than you realize. You can extend the payments out for up to 144 months and get in a new one for less than $1,000 each month with a decent down payment. But I don’t want one. I personally hate the idea of having a ‘supercar’. Too much hassle.

 

Whether you want a Lamborghini or a Kia, this post is for you. I’ll walk you through the car buying process so you can get a good deal.

 

Choose Your Ride

 

Car buying should be fun! Spend at least 8 hours online browsing the vast selection of cars to purchase. Do you want a sports car? A cute convertible? Perhaps a tough truck is what you need? Enjoy surfing from one auto website to the next. Find a car you enjoy. You’ll take care of it better.

 

After you decide the type of vehicle, move onto the make and model. For a sports car, do you want a Ferrari 458 Italia? A Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII? For a pickup truck, do you want a Cummins diesel or would you like an old school Ford Lightning?

 

Choose your options. Do you want a sunroof? Do you feel safer with a rearview camera?

 

Once you have visualized your new ride, you need to turn it into reality.

 

Choose A Seller

 

There are many places to go to buy a car: a physical dealer, online seller, or private party. Buying a car from a dealer is typically the most expensive option. Dealerships charge more because they have more expenses than either an online seller or a private seller.

 

Even if it’s just a physical dealership with an online sales department online prices are almost always cheaper. After all, running an online-based business can be low-cost. You can find these dealers on Cars.com, Autotrader.com, eBay.com, and others. But keep in mind…physical and online dealers are both more expensive than our third option.

 

The cheapest way to get a car is by using creepy ol’ Craigslist. Buying a used car from a private seller is by far my favorite way to buy. It’s the only way I buy cars, actually. I loathe paying dealerships extra money just for being middlemen.

 

Honestly, I know what you’re thinking. It sounds unsafe or crazy to buy a car from just some random person… But I’ve had great luck with Craigslist. Simply go on Craigslist, type in the car you want, and begin texting/calling/emailing the seller. You both meet up. The process is actually quite easy:

 

  1. Meet seller
  2. Make sure car is as described (always go on a test drive)
  3. Negotiate a price or agree on their asking price. Pay.
  4. Both parties sign a bill of sale (you can find one online for your state)
  5. Previous owner signs the title over, you sign your name
  6. You both part ways

 

Choose A Payment Method

 

I prefer to buy my Lamborghini’s with cash. I usually handcuff myself to the briefcase for added safety, of course. But in all seriousness, you need to decide if you’ll pay with cash, personal check, cashier’s check, dealer financing, bank financing, a loan from your parents, PayPal, whatever. I prefer paying in cash because as they say, cash talks, everyone else walks.

 

When It’s Time to Sell

 

I use the exact same approach when it’s time to sell the car. I post it on Craigslist. I negotiate with the buyer, I sign over the title, and we are on our way. I always avoid dealerships. I have had phenomenal experiences with every transaction I’ve ever done on Craigslist.

 

One timeless trick to saving money on a car is to buy during the off-season. That is, buy a convertible in the winter. Or buy a pickup truck after fuel prices spike (they’ll go back to normal – don’t worry). Timing may bring an otherwise unaffordable car into your possession. Patience is a virtue. Enjoy your Lamborghini.