Nuances of car shopping

laelene Post in general blog,Tags: , , ,

silver kia optima ex front viewYippee! I am now the proud new owner of a Kia Optima EX. It has been quite the path to getting it, with a lot of ups and downs (ups when I saw what I could get in it and downs when I saw how much all of it would cost…). The ultimate price I’m paying is higher than I had hoped for, but for all the features I still think I’m getting a deal. I thought I’d spend more time looking than I did, but that seems to be a trend… with the condo, with ring shopping, and now with the car. It seems like once I start looking, I find what I want pretty quickly and then I pounce! I can’t believe I’m driving off with this vehicle already. It still doesn’t feel real! This is a car I expect to keep for a long time and I really like it. I’ll have to introduce you later – for now, I wanted to just share some of my experience and hopefully help you avoid some of the mistakes I made.

Now I think what I did do right is not letting them rush me too much and making sure to do comparison shopping and check the Blue Book. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure how to understand the numbers KBB provided, since the Fair Market Value was lower than the Dealer Invoice (and shouldn’t the price people are buying at be higher than what it costs the dealer?). I believe the difference is due to the rebates Kia offers, which can bring down the price a good $1000-2000. So, I compared what I was getting to that number and I feel pretty comfortable with it.

One of the mistakes I did make was not getting the complete price quote with all fees, taxes, etc. I thought the price they quoted me included the freight charge of $775, but it didn’t. They also charge a processing fee in addition to the taxes and some other small charge I’ve forgotten. I estimated all that to be about $2000 but it ended up being $2500, putting me over my ideal budget. If what’s most important to you is the overall price of the vehicle, then $500 can be a big deal. If all you care about is your monthly payment, maybe the extra $8.33 a month (for a 60-month lease) doesn’t seem as bad. It all depends on what’s important to you.

Another thing I should have thought through more carefully was whether I’d buy or lease. Based on the price differential for monthly payments, it’d be just under 6 and a half years before I’d break even. So basically, if I was planning on keeping the car for 7 or more years it’d be best to buy, but if I didn’t want to keep it that long then I might be better off leasing. I do plan on keeping this vehicle for a long time, but I had to spend some time at the dealership working out the numbers to make sure I was making the right choice. Don’t allow room for self-doubt! Make sure you calculate these numbers ahead of time so you are completely comfortable with your decision.

Finally, while I did not let them rush me the way they were trying, I still did move faster than I probably should have. I’d recommend allotting at least half the day for the back and forth and waiting around time. I sort of got into signing paperwork too fast and didn’t call up my mom until I had a question. At that point, she started questioning some of the prices I was paying but I had already agreed to them. I mean, as long as I’m happy with the price, that’s what matters, right? I really should have called her before I signed anything, just to work out any kinks and see if she had recommendations. Oh well!

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