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Buying a New Car: What to Bring to the Dealership

What to bring to the dealership when you're buying a new car

So you’ve made the commitment, you’re buying a new car. You have your choices narrowed down and you’re heading to the dealership with the intention to buy. You’re obviously quite excited, as there is little more euphoric than the smell of a brand new car. So you get there, you test drive, you sit down at a desk, and you wait. Then you wait some more. Then after the waiting, there’s more waiting. So what’s the big hold up? What is taking so long?

Whether you’re buying a brand spanking new vehicle or a pre-loved, gently used car, chances are, there are people ahead of you in the process and there are only so many finance people who are capable of running the deal. Typically, in a dealership, the hang-ups happen in the finance office, because people are ill-prepared, or banks are taking a long time to respond. There are ways to make the process go a little more smoothly and a little bit quicker in the meantime.

  1. Make sure you have your vehicle’s current insurance card with you when you go to the dealership. If you can’t remember your policy information, you’re going to have to try to get your agent on the phone, after hours, and try to get the correct numbers. If you know that you’re planning on buying the day you head into the dealership, it’s best to be as prepared as possible, and insurance information is absolutely necessary in the car buying process.
  2. It may seem redundant to mention it, but your driver’s license is also going to be a necessity. They need to see it, you need it for the test drive (not to mention the drive home), and people typically won’t let you enter into a contract without some verification of your identity. Copies will need to be made and added to your file. Also, make sure that your license is current, and not expired. A salesperson and finance manager can’t do anything with an expired license, as it is considered no longer legal at that point. Make sure it’s current.
  3. Know your credit score. If you know you have less than stellar credit, let the finance manager know. There are specific financing options for those with bad or lacking credit, and knowing ahead of time allows the financing office to go straight to those options rather than taking the long way around. Another option for those with bad credit is to fill out the pre qualification form on the dealer or manufacturer’s website. This way you know exactly what kind of car you’re able to afford and how much the bank is going to give you towards said car. This will dramatically speed the process in the finance office and have you driving home in your new car a lot faster.
  4. Have your choices narrowed down. Don’t go to the dealership without having any idea what you want. Those people are a pain, both for the people waiting to buy a car they know they want already, and the salespeople that are going to be stuck at work until 10 pm because you can’t make up your mind. Have your choices narrowed down to about three cars, or have a list of desires for the salesperson and allow them to give you a list in return of vehicles that would be well-suited for your needs.
  5. Know your financial details. Knowing what you owe on your current vehicle, having a down payment saved, and knowing exactly what you can afford per month. Being aware of your financial situation can help speed the process up at the dealership. This way there doesn’t have to be sixteen different phone calls being made to four different people trying to discern whether or not the trade in value they’re offering is going to cover your current debt on the car.

We, as humans, are not inherently patient, but when we’re excited about something new, our patience is spread a little bit thinner. We don’t want to sit in a finance manager’s office for three hours trying to get out the door in our new cars, we want to be out driving and showing it off. Following the tips mentioned above, should help to speed the process along, and get you off the lot faster. Preparation is the key to expediting your deal!

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