Monday, 13 July 2015

Car Shopping

Last month, the inevitable happened! Our beloved 13 year old Ford Escape was scrapped and we had to get another car asap! It was an incredibly stressful time but we were fortunate to have support from our family and friends. We survived on a Toyota Corolla rental for almost two weeks and supplemented the next few days by borrowing cars from family members. I was actually shocked that everyone in my family and Winton's offered their car to us. It was very generous!

Buying a car is a big decision and there are so many variables to factor in. We didn't want to rush in and buy a car only to regret it later on. And to be honest, any car we choose would have had significant improvements from our old one. Technology changes so fast!

After two weeks of researching, driving to dealerships and test driving cars. We decided to buy new. We narrowed it down between the Honda CRV EX or the Honda Civic SI. Winton was so in love with the Civic but I absolutely hated it. I loved the design and price but I didn't like the idea of owning a Civic because of all the stigma attached to it. All I thought was 20 year old Asian guys drag racing and souping them up, pretty much the whole Fast and Furious franchise. And other thoughts of people stealing the car or breaking into it for parts and what not. The CRV was much more practical for us. We were coming from an SUV, and didn't want to downgrade in terms of cabin space. I asked around to friends who had children with cars and many said they wouldn't survive without an SUV. Kids take up a lot of space in terms of child seats and strollers, that there would be barely enough room for the trips to Costco. And that's if we wanted kids! The CRV also wasn't too high that our short and aging parents would have problems getting in and out of the car.

All in all, we ended buying the 2015 CRV after FOUR hours of negotiations! It was brutal and honestly I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked. After all, I've never negotiated anything on this scale for myself in my life. Winton has bought a car before so he was a bit wiser on the whole process. As you know, I'm all about cents and dollars and every cent I keep is a cent that stays in my pocket.

Sitting down to crunch numbers is incredibly tedious, especially when they can literally make up any number they want and hope you settle. They added up the seven year extended warranty and minus some admin fees. They play all these mind games on you, to make you think the sales guy is helping you out and bringing the your offers to his managers to see if they would approve a lower price. It's all set up to make you feel intimidated. Why couldn't we just cut the middle man and talk to the manager directly? I was so on to them and every business class I took in school came into play.

As we were far from closing a deal, a second salesman came over to try another tactic on us. We actually found him off putting, he was too abrasive and tried to use the Asian numbers of 88 in the price to make us feel better. Not knowing that Winton and I are totally Canadianized, it totally flew over our heads and we didn't realize it until we got home. We were both thinking that isn't much savings and why the weird numbers with so many friggin' 8's? I was insistent that we were going to Toyota after this meet to crunch numbers with them and that this was basically a numbers game. We didn't care which car we got as long as it was cheaper. This was totally a lie and we wanted the CRV, but it doesn't hurt to try. I sucked up some courage and low balled them with an offer that would make me sign the contract and buy this car on the spot. They were all shocked and told me that it wasn't doable because it was below the invoice price, which is the cost the dealer pays for the car. And Bingo! So, I knew to aim for a little bit higher! After some more back and forth and all the staff putting on their coats ready to go home, the manger comes out and tells us he agrees to $1000 more than what we low balled. As we were about to shake hands, I said I wanted the cargo tray added as well! Hahaha doesn't hurt try right? But, they expressed how they are giving us the car below cost and that they couldn't do it. Our sales guy was super nice and offered us his employee discount on any Honda accessories we wanted. In the end, it was a happy ending and we got an amazing price for our car. It's been two weeks and we are very happy! After four hours we ended up saving about $4000 from the initial quoted price. Four hours well spent! I feel like each hour I negotiated I made $1000! The one thing I'm a bit peeve about was the worksheet we were working on included wheel locks. But when we signed we didn't notice they were missing on our bill of sale so we didn't end up getting them. It slightly ticked me off to have let a small thing slip when you're exhausted but it wasn't the money but the feeling of being ripped off a bit. I'm not too hung up about it as we did get a deal but it was more the principal for me. I've learned so much from this experience that I wanted to share some tip for you when buying a car.

Tips when buying a car
1. Be practical
How much driving will you be doing? Is it a gas guzzler? How much space do you need for people and cargo?
2. Budget
How much can you realistically afford? Will you pay cash, finance or lease? What are the payments, interest rate, and extras you have to pay for? Learn about compound interest. I didn't know that companies tack on about $3000 for PDI, freight, admin fees, OMVIC, and the list goes on and on. I swear most of them seem made up!
3. What features are important to you?
Back up camera for tight parking spaces downtown? Trunk space to lug groceries or kids? Air conditioning? Can you believe some base models don't even include this just so they can advertise a lower sticker price?
4. Ask everyone and learn as much as you can
Friends and family are the best! They give you an honest opinion about their cars, cars they've had in the past and their experiences in general. Take each with a grain of salt, you want an overall opinion. One person may love their car to death and the other hates it just as much! Even new cars can sometimes be lemons. We even went up to complete strangers in parking lots to ask how they like their cars.
5. Walk into the dealership from a position of power
Go in saying "what will you guys do for me to buy this car?" Remember you are paying them! They want your business more then you need theirs. Don't think they have all the power and you have to do what they say. As long as you didn't sign anything, you can always walk away from the deal.
6. Everything is negotiable
I hate that dealerships don't advertise the actual price of the car. I don't go to the mall and have to work out a price with the sales person for a dress or a smoothie? I need straight numbers so I can input them into my Time, Value, Money calculator and find out what I'm really paying over time. If you don't know why that is, google it right now! It'll help you with your budget, loans and pretty much anything that has to do with money. In our bill of sale, we saved a ton by not paying for the admin fee and various other miscellaneous and pretty BS charges they added.
7. Test Drive
It's important to try out the car before you buy it. Photos are great but they most likely will only show the highest trims. I noticed in some cars it was hard getting in and out and sitting in the driver's seat in general was uncomfortable. I'm tall so I've actually hit my head a few times getting in and out. Or if I push my seat back then the back seat passengers possibly have no leg room.
8. Read over everything before you sign
Even the fine print. Make sure everything you want is listed on the bill of sale or lease, and everything you don't want is not on there. Take your time, you shouldn't be rushed into signing a big contract that you would be held accountable for many years!

We'll here's my top points I could think of when getting a new to you car! I hope it's helpful for your search or future search. Oh, and if you're a female, think about bringing a male friend. The car industry is still very sexist. Most of the time I would walk into a car dealership first and was never greeted but when Winton walked in they would be all over him. It was really weird! I felt like I was in Asia somewhere, where people just didn't think women were people. It was really disheartening to see and be in that position. But then again, that may have been what Winton felt when we went to buy a mattress or washing machine! The world is weird!


Eros and Pookie

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