5 Tips for Buying a Car During a Pandemic - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

5 Tips for Buying a Car During a Pandemic

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Buying a car has always been a fairly intensive and stressful process. And with the shutdowns related to COVID-19, it’s become even more challenging. But in some regards, the process has been streamlined and simplified. The more you know about the process, the smoother it’ll be. 

Here are a few suggestions to make the process of buying a vehicle during a pandemic more feasible, less stressful, and surprisingly easy:

Do as Much Research Online as Possible

The good news is that you can do most of the car buying process online. And the more research you do before ever getting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle, the more informed you’ll be. Some good car-buying research resources include Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds

When researching, start with the type of vehicle you want. Compare and contrast different models, read about various features, and discover what (if any) defects, recalls, or issues are common with the year, make, and model that you’re considering.

Once you have an idea of the type of car you want – or have narrowed it down to two or three options – you can zero in on pricing. Research various dealerships, as well as private sales pages on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and AutoTrader to get a feel for the going rate. 

Get Pre-Approved Online

With the pandemic, the last thing you want to do is sit in a stuffy car dealership and discuss financing. Thankfully, you can do much of this process online. 

Using a website like Loans.com, you can get pre-approved for a car loan without ever leaving your sofa. Not only does this keep you safer, but it also gives you a stronger position to negotiate from when you do interact with a dealer. 

The pre-approval process is a breeze. All you have to do is provide some basic information on your income, and they’ll tell you how much car you can afford. Then, based on this information, you can set a budget, calculate your monthly payments, and shop with confidence.

Inquire About the Test Drive

The trickiest part about this whole process is the test drive. With the COVID-19 virus, nobody wants to sit in a car for an hour and ride around with a stranger from the dealership (masks or otherwise). In fact, this is a growing trend that remains true regardless of whether or not there’s a virus. 

“A survey by Cox Automotive showed that car buyers are craving time with vehicles but not time with pushy salespeople,” Car and Driver reports. “Six in 10 survey respondents said they’d prefer help from dealership staff but don’t want to deal with salespeople. And a Google survey conducted this spring showed that consumers ranked at-home test drives their number-one alternative to visiting a dealership.”

In light of this, contactless test drives are becoming much more common. These days, most dealers allow you to test drive a vehicle alone. Some will even drop the vehicle by your home or office to make it more convenient. 

Consider Dealerships With Home Delivery

While it’s highly recommended that you test drive a vehicle before purchasing, there’s been a recent increase in the number of home delivery car buying services. These are services where you literally purchase a car online and it gets delivered to your home. (If this is something that appeals to you, you should know that it’s a possibility.)

Learn the Art of Remote Negotiation

While car delivery services typically offer flat-rate, no-hassle pricing, there’s still plenty of room for negotiations with other types of dealers and sellers. The key is to learn how to negotiate in a setting where you might not be face-to-face.

When you’re negotiating over the phone or email, body language goes out the window. Instead, you have to rely on tone of voice, word choice, and cadence. Here are a few pointers to help you get better results.

Happy Car Buying!

Buying a vehicle is never simple. And during a pandemic, the added stress of health concerns, tight finances, and other uncontrollable forces can lead to a heightened sense of urgency. 

But if you keep these tips in your back pocket, you should have success in finding the right vehicle at the right price. Take a deep breath and trust that everything will work out!


About the author

I'm a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze Contact the author.
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