“So, we have a deal then?” the sly car salesman says while eagerly extending his hand and waiting for your reply. Hold up — not so fast though. Whether it’s a new Chevy car for sale, a Toyota, a Hyundai, or even a brand spanking new Ferrari, it’s important to ask the sales team at car dealerships the right questions before eagerly signing your life — and money — away on the dotted line. Better yet, have research and a list of questions prepared before you even set foot on the lot of car dealerships! After all, proper preparation prevents poor performance when it comes to sweetening the deal on a brand new car, right? Right!
When it comes to buying a new car from a car dealership, there’s no stupid question except for the one’s you don’t ask. Preparing research and questions ahead of time allows you to prepare to negotiate a deal that’s more in your favor. It also gives you a chance to unveil any shady business such as hidden fees or expenses that car dealerships may not always disclose right up front. And for those who prefer to purchase new and used cars via internet car dealerships, asking the following questions is especially important!
So before you shake a car salesman’s hand in agreement, ask these five questions to determine whether there’s a deal or no deal!
Are there any other fees and charges?
Another “hit ‘em where it hurts” way to ask this questions is to say, “What’s the out the door price?” And whoomp, there it is! As with buying a new or used car from and car dealership, there will always be additional charges and fees on top of the sticker price of a car, however, some of these may be legitimate while others may be a little questionable. Sales tax, documentation fee, and registry costs are all legitimate fees that you should expect. But some dealerships may surprise you — and not so pleasantly — with additional fees in order to add even more profit right back into their pockets through the deal. The sooner you uncover these hidden fees the better your chances of avoiding them altogether.
How much is the documentation fee?
All car dealerships will charge what’s known as a documentation or “doc” fee when you purchase a new car. And what is this fee actually for? It’s literally the cost of filling out the contract. Yeah. Really. It might seem a little weird, but this is actually a universal free. But what isn’t across the board is the amount car dealerships will actually charge you for the doc free. Some states have a cap on the doc fee that’s usually below $100. On the other hand, some states have no regulation for doc fees and they can be as high as $600 or more. So if you think you’re getting a really, really good deal, be wary because the dealer could be charging you a hefty doc fee later on. Finding out the amount of the doc fee as early as possible gives you chance to negotiate a lower price.
What about any after market alarms or parts?
The overwhelming majority of cars come with options that were installed at the factory where the car was built. Often times however, car dealerships will still add items in as a way to increase their profit. Common add on options include after market alarms, mud flaps, and tinted windows. These add on options — that you didn’t even ask for or really want — can sharply increase the mark up. It’s common for car dealerships to add these system’s costs to new vehicles without even letting the buyer know ahead of time. Purchasing a car with add on options isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but knowing what these are ahead of time can lead to an even better thing in terms of negotiating a lower cost.
How many miles?
It’s common for new cars to have some mileage on their odometer, but anymore than 300 miles and it’s time to negotiate a much lower and fairer price.