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Buying a car can be exciting but also a time-consuming process. At Austin Asset, it is not uncommon for us to facilitate the car buying process for our clients. Our goal, to save our clients time and help them get a fair price.

To do that, we follow a repeatable and straightforward 5 step process.

Step One: Buy new or used

We can write an entire article on the cost savings of used vs. new; instead, we will state that you can potentially save money buying used vs. new. Mainly due to how quickly a new car depreciates relative to a used car.

For example, if you buy a new car for $50,000 and sell it in three years for $30,000, that new car has cost you $20,000 in depreciation.

On the flip side, if you buy a car used for $30,000 and sell it three years later for $20,000, then that used car has cost you $10,000 in depreciation.

There are exceptions to this rule, as some brands are known for holding their value and not depreciating at the same rate relative to others.

Step Two: Know what you want

Once you have decided new or used, the next step is to compile the details of the specific car you want. Typically, you will need:

  • Make, Model, Year
  • Exterior and interior color
  • Trim level
  • Must have options

Step Three: Determine the fair price

We use Costco’s auto website to build the exact car and see the invoice price.  This is the price you are wanting to get or beat at the dealership.

Pro tip: You do not have to be a Costco member to use the tool.

Step Four: Compare dealerships online

We encourage you to look at 2-3 dealerships online to see inventory and online pricing.

Once you identify what you are looking for, call the dealership directly, and ask for their best and final price.

They commonly will ask you what you are trying to beat. We usually provide a number well below the dealership’s online price or the invoice price. And, always ask them to send it to you in writing via e-mail.

Step Five (optional): Trade-In

We can’t stress this enough, negotiate a trade-in separate from the purchase.

We use the NADA Guide to determine the fair trade-in value, and our goal is to get between average and clean trade.

While it is never guaranteed you will get the lowest price possible, but following these five steps could increase your odds of getting a fair one.

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