Shopping for a new or used vehicle can be intimidating for first-time customers. To help out, the Kelley Blue Book company is offering its own guide for first-time car buyers that helps guide beginners through the somewhat complex process of making one of these large purchases.
Some parts of the new Kelley guide, which the company announced earlier this month, are humorously logical. For instance, take this bit of wisdom from KBB writers: “We tend to stay away from dealerships where two thirds of the sales staff is sitting or standing at the front of the entrance…” This pithy tip speaks to a larger aspect of the car buying process, which Kelly goes back to in their number one overall tip at the end of the list. Simply put, the buyer needs to feel comfortable, have good information on hand, and take his or her time when shopping for a car, truck or SUV, or other set of wheels.
Some other parts of the Kelley Blue Book guide are more technical. At the beginning of Kelley’s list, writers start off by carefully contrasting the budgeting process and what Kelly calls the financing buyer’s “level of indebtedness.” This is for buyers who will be financing part or all of their purchase, and for these buyers, some additional tips are extremely important. Kelley puts it this way: “and if you choose to finance your car, figure $25 a month for every thousand dollars that you borrow for 48 months, and $20 a month for 60 month financing.” Here, Kelley’s trying to explain to customers how financing adds to the overall amount you will pay over the term of your car loan. The point is that rather than just accepting a monthly payment, it’s helpful to look at how much of that will get paid out in terms of interest, and how much will actually go toward the price of the vehicle.
Going back to the more social aspects of Kelley’s new buyer advice, there’s a general point to be made here. The key is not to be intimidated during the sales process. Although most new and used car salespeople are polite and professional, some will make subtle attempts to swing your decision or their own interest. Don’t be swayed by information given to you by sales staff, including assertions that a certain car can’t be found elsewhere in your local area, or that a one-time deal is a unique opportunity to quickly seal a bargain. Take your time and get all of the pertinent information at your fingertips to profit from a deal that you had a hand in initiating. And, while you’re at it, check out the full text of Kelly’s advice column at the KBB website.