MoneyLife

Should You Buy a Car Online?

By Jessica Crosby
buy a car online

It has been shown that the end of the year is a great time to buy a new car. Nowadays, there are many options for buying a car online. 

Gone are the days of going from dealer to dealer, hoping for the best deal. The internet has changed the entire car-buying experience. So, we’ll walk you through how to buy a car online and what to look for to ensure that everything goes smoothly! 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Car Online

Buying a car online isn’t for everyone. There’s a lot of pros and cons to consider before you start the process of buying a car online.  

Pros

We’ve rounded up some of the pros of buying a car online so that you can make the best decision before purchasing a car over the internet. 

No-Haggle pricing

Bottomline pricing is a favorite among online car shoppers. Typically, the price listed online is considered a baseline price, meaning it includes information about things like the trade-in value, down payment, and financing options. People love how straightforward it is to buy a car online. 

Saves time

Have you purchased a car in person recently? If so, you know that it can take a day or two to finalize the transaction and drive home with your new car. 

Usually, an entire day is spent researching, test driving the vehicle, and talking with the car salespeople. Once you have your mind made up, the actual transaction itself can still take a whole other day on its own. 

Often, there will be a lot of back and forth with extreme theatrics between the buyer and the seller. This isn’t how anyone wants to spend their time, especially when you know that you’ve found the right car for you. 

When you shop for a car online, you can do everything on your schedule. Plus, there aren’t any games involved, like price negotiations from traditional dealers.  

No pushy salespeople

When you purchase a car online, you won’t come into contact with salespeople who need to reach their sales quotas like you would during in-person car shopping. So, you won’t feel pushed around, which can come as a relief to people who don’t like the haggling that is involved at dealerships. 

Shop at your convenience

When you buy cars online, you can do just about everything at your own convenience. This is an excellent option for busy professionals, parents, and even homebodies. 

It’s also great when you don’t feel rushed into a decision by pushy salespeople. You’ll receive the added benefit of seeking out information on your own instead of trusting a salesperson who might be deceiving you. 

Delivery

This is just another perk, but most online car retailers will deliver your car directly to you. This is an additional benefit because you’ll spend even less of your time purchasing the new car, which is a major benefit to busy individuals. 

Cons

Buying a car online isn’t for everyone. We will outline some of the reasons why someone might want to steer clear of this option altogether. 

Buy sight unseen

This is a big one, but most times, you won’t physically see the car before you buy it. This can be a dealbreaker, especially when it comes to purchasing a used car. Usually, car buying websites offer detailed photos of the vehicle they are selling, but photos alone can be a concern for some people. 

No test drive

Similar to the reason above, many online car retailers do not give potential buyers the option to test drive a vehicle. This can be a considerable deal breaker because the way a car operates is such an important detail to consider during the decision-making process. However, more and more online car dealerships are offering a free test drive option, including vehicle delivery. 

No price negotiation 

Some people love to negotiate. They find that they can often get a better deal when they negotiate. However, there is no option to bargain or negotiate when you buy a car online. The baseline price is clearly defined, meaning it’s usually a take-it-or-leave-it pricing model. 

Limited financing options

Typically, when you buy a car online, the online retailer will have one financing option. This can be tough for people who are trying to get a reasonable rate. The best way to get around this is to secure financing separately and then come to the table as a cash buyer. But this also further complicates the process and adds an additional step to your car-buying process. 

Difficult to trade-in

Another difficulty of not buying a car in person is that you’re not able to negotiate the trade-in value of your current car. So, you’ll be stuck with the trade-in price that they’ve defined for you. However, you can always sell your car on your own. 

Buying a Car Online vs Dealership

Buying a car online and buying a car through a dealership are two completely different situations for two different types of people. When you buy a car online, you get to avoid a sales process that can feel frustrating. 

In other words, buying online yields a much more straightforward pricing system. However, when you go to a dealership, you’ll have to negotiate the price of your car, and while that can intimidate some people, there are definitely others who excel at this process and prefer it. 

At the end of the day, you’re getting a new car. And if needed, you’ll want to secure finances. Both in-person and online methods of purchasing a car will accomplish the same goal. You just need to pick the approach that works for you. 

Tips For Buying a Car Online

Ready to buy a car online? Here are a few tips to help you get started. 

Research the dealer

Always do your homework. Make sure your online car dealer has good reviews. Also, investigate your dealer’s return policy. 

Understand the deal completely

Don’t just go for the lowest price. Look at the fine print. You may be able to get a better warranty, or it’s likely that you’ll receive service options that come with a higher price tag, though you can often pay them off over time. 

Buy used for better deals

Sometimes buying used gets you more for your money. You might even be able to purchase your dream car going this route. 

Research blue book value

Know what your current and future car are worth before shopping around. When you go into a situation already knowing the facts, you’ll be less likely to fall for scams or lies that favor the dealership. 

Secure different financing options 

Don’t settle for the first financing rate that you’re offered. Shop around for a good loan. If you’re struggling because of a poor score or no credit at all, MoneyLion can help. Our Credit Builder loans help people increase their credit scores so that they can qualify for better rates. 

Save time when you buy a car online!

Buying a car online has never been easier. There are so many options out there when it comes to online dealers. If you’re struggling to secure a down payment for a car, MoneyLion can help. Our Instacash program makes it possible for you to get up to $250 in cash advances! Try Instacash today

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