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You Have The Seasonal Home, Now You Need The Seasonal Car

So you've bought your vacation home and plan to spend a few months in sunny Florida every year. Your thoughts might turn to buying a car to keep here for when you visit. With daily rental prices being upwards of $35 a day or more for even a compact car, purchasing a second vehicle often makes sense. However, there are a few tricks the car dealers will use to put them on the winning end of the deal. So keep these things in mind when you go to buy that convertible!
1. Have a budget in mind and stick to it. Decide before you go what is important for this "seasonal" vehicle. Is navigation really necessary when you will just be around town? Perhaps you bring a pet so a rear folding seat is a must. Sit down and decide what you can't be without and don't be swayed by the salesperson once you get to the dealer. Remember, you drive the inside of the car not the outside, so give up those fancy rims that cost an extra thousand.
2. Bargain on the final cost of the vehicle itself. Don't "buy a payment" as the sales managers can manipulate number to get you to the magical payment you want without hurting themselves. You want to stick to a budget on the bottom line cost of the car and not your monthly payment.
3. Could you be happy in a color that isn't so common? Perhaps sky blue or lime green? Dealerships will often give bigger discounts on colors that aren't selling so well. Be color blind to save some green! Also ask your salesperson which unit has been in stock the longest on the lot. They want to sell aged inventory and tend to bargain more on those units.
4. Don't let the dealership charge you "accessories" which are usually window tints, door edge guards and pin stripes. These items usually cost you around $700 but cost the dealer about $300.00. Bargain down the cost of these items or better yet..............tell the salesperson you want a vehicle that does not have these items already on it.
5. If you are trading in a vehicle, do not accept the trade value they give you early in your transaction. Most dealerships today will sit you in front of a computer and put in your VIN number and mileage into Auto Trader or Kelly Blue Book and out pops a number they are willing to put on your trade. These numbers tend to be about 2k less then what the vehicle is worth. First get the number that the computer says and then insist that your car is looked at by an on-site apprasier and bargain from there.
6. Remember that when financing a car, the banks don't like to finance cars with over 100k miles on them or more then 10 years old. In general, every 5k you finance is $100 payment. So come in with realistic expectations. Don't tell your salesperson you want to spend 10k but get a low mileage, late year car with options. This type of payment means a car for about 7k and when you add in tax, tag and title you are financing 10k. You won't find something low mileage and a newer year for 7k.
7. If purchasing a pre-owned car, be sure that the vehicle has a 2nd key and the manual before signing your paperwork. Keys can run $300 or more so you want to be sure you have 2 keys before leaving.
8. Last, come prepared and this will make your transaction go smoother. Have with you your license, registration on the car you are driving now and also a current insurance card. These will all be needed to do your paperwork and things will go quicker when you have these ready for your finance person. Also, if you are able, call your bank on the day you visit the dealership and get the current payoff on the vehicle you are trading. This will save you time and get you out the dealership quickly.

Don't forget, we like convertible rides too.

Beth Dilley
Beth Dilley