Once the seed of buying a new car has been planted in your mind, your next thought might be of what dealership to visit to start the search. Yet shopping at a dealership might not necessarily be the best choice. Dealerships mark up their prices to make room for profits, and their selection may be limited to models from a few manufacturers and a short time period.
Shopping elsewhere can help you find a better deal and open up more choices. Here are a few ways to avoid shopping a dealership when buying a car:
Your local classifieds allow you to connect with individual sellers directly. You cut out the middle man — ie. the dealership. Instead of someone selling a car to a dealership, which then marks it up and sells it to you, that individual can sell the car directly to you. As a result, you’ll pay less and the individual will get more. It’s a win-win situation for both of you.
There are two types of car auctions: Those you attend in person and those that take place online in venues like eBay. Both offer the possibility of getting a steal on a used car.
In-person car auctions sell vehicles that have been repossessed, that were seized in criminal transactions, or that were overstock for a dealership or a commercial fleet. If you can manage to gain entry to one and get lucky on a low bid, you can save a lot on a car.
For both auctions, you’ll need to be feeling lucky. You could get a great buy, or you could watch in disappoint as the car you want gets bid up beyond your budget.
Some of the best cars are sold by people who know the people you know. Ask around to see if anyone you know is selling a car or knows someone who is. You could get a great deal on a used car before it ever hits the secondary market. Plus, you might get an even better price by virtue of knowing the person or having a connection to someone who does.
Don’t waste your time with a dealership when you’re ready for a new car. Start with your local classifieds, or try your luck with an auction or asking around for a referral. You’ll save a significant amount of money, which could help you get the car you need or to afford a higher class of car.