Used Cars – How To Know what to look for –

There is no denying that for the last few years the global economy has fluctuated.  Depending on who you ask, there are many theories we will not be going into them. We will leave that to Alan Greenspan and friends and let others spend time theorizing an unanswerable question.

It is important to put things in context and that is what this article does. The economy has everything to do with the used car industry.  Therefore everything to do with your ability to purchase a more luxurious car because the market becomes flooded with high end vehicles at a reasonable price.  When you are in the market for a high end luxury vehicle we recommend that you take some time and research who owned this car, please allow me to explain.

There is a domino effect. When the economy is doing well people lease high end vehicles and use them to their hearts delight.  Here is the first possible issue one can encounter with purchasing a vehicle that was previously a lease.  Some people, not everyone for we cannot make such broad assumptions, but some people tend to treat leases as though they were disposable.  Since these cars are not usually kept or purchased by the lessee then they are occasionally taken for granted, oil not changed, maintenance not kept and overall very little care given to the overall car care.

Why is this a possible issue? Hmmm, because you may be purchasing a car, lets say for the sake argument a Land Rover, a gorgeous SUV with all of the bells and whistles that you yearn for.  This car has 60,000 miles and is only 4 years old.  It has had one lessee or owner and soon it will be all yours. What we recommend is getting the maintenance record if at all available for this vehicle. Some high end vehicles can run forever if they are well maintained, but if they are not maintained well, the repairs especially to the engine can be more costly than its worth.

Before buying a used high end SUV check the oil and the filters, if they are old and outdated and if the oil is sludge then you may want to think twice before you purchase it.  You might end up buying a very cool car that is very problematic and the money you are saving by buying a used vehicle will be useless because you will end up spending it on parts and repairs. It is important to note that it is not land rovers that have issues with their engines or oil build up if the oil is not changed but this would be any vehicle from any car manufacturer. Most people have given Land Rover and Jaguar as well as other British car companies a bad rap and it might just be that the people who own such vehicles take terrible care of getting the scheduled maintenance required to run well and be problem free.
If you cannot get your hands on the maintenance receipts, if the owner did not keep this even if they did perform the maintenance there would be no proof of it.  The dealership might have checked out the car by their local mechanic to make sure that it was in working order.  You can have your fancy SUV and keep the cost down do your research find out as much information that you can about the previous owner of your future vehicle.land rover

Hybrids The truth Behind Them

Green CarThere is no denying that there has been a shift in consciousness regarding leaving our carbon footprint on Mother Earth. This is most apparent in the automotive industry, hybrids and electric cars are being mass produced because there is a demand for them, it is as simple as that. So, let’s talk about hybrids. What are the benefits? Well, first and foremost, yes the environment and secondly your wallet. Win win. Some may say that you have to give up performance in order to get in good with mother nature. Myth? Well, that depends on the type of hybrid you want. If you want the top of the line then you will indeed not have to sacrifice horse power but will sacrifice their efficiency. When the first hybrids came out you got a great deal when it came to going to the pump and great gas mileage but now, you either get one or the other.

So who buys hybrids? Well, as most trendsetters will tell you, it starts at the top which is why most of it comes from the A-listers of Hollywood. Actors such as Cameron Diaz have been seen rocking the hybrid. Taking care of the environment is not only necessary but very cool.

There are also those who say that hybrids, let’s say the Toyota Prius for example are not all they are cracked up to be. When it comes to the carbon footprint that this car leaves it begs to reason that this refers to the car as a whole. It is common belief that when a car is considered to be environmentally friendly it is from the point you purchase it forward. This however is not the case, it has been discovered that the Prius for example requires a lot more energy to construct the parts needed to make it an environmentally friendly. This car model has nickel- metal hydride batteries and it consumes so much energy to produce that the carbon footprint it leaves is substantial even before you own it. The manufacturing phase of these hybrids is not something that most people take into consideration but it is an important fact to consider. Now lets consider what more upscale hybrids offer and if the environmental impact and the impact to your wallet are worth the investment.

Confusing? Yes it is, because some cars that tend to be higher end give you great performance but their MPG is not impressive to say the least. Most hybrids on the market do just fine, but here we focus on the ones that are surprisingly non- green. According to most reports it is close to 80% of Americans who’s main concern is gas mileage, let see if these numbers are worth the hefty investment.

Hybrid cars cost more, compared to a similar model that might come in hybrid or regular manufacturing models. Most of these cars especially the higher end models in theory offer some of the advantages of a hybrid at a glance until you start to analyze the actual data. There are also some cars that are considerably cheaper with slightly lower MPG but then again at what point does it become cost efficient to pay less and receive a slightly lower MPG over time?

Hybrid cars weigh more than regular vehicles. How does this affect you in a practical manner? It means that if you are interested in performance then this here is a big red flag. Also, lets talk about battery packs and what happens when they need to be replaced? Well the truth is the first hybrids came out in the 1990’s and even though they have amazing warranties, sometimes even going so far as to extend past most common car warranties there is not enough empirical data to say with certainty just how long they will last.

Considering that the winters here in Houston are more mild then lets say Siberia, this reason is important to note regarding battery efficiency in cold weather. Batteries discharge much faster in the colder weather, why? Because when it is cold you need the heat on in the car to be comfortable and therefore it will effect your cars efficiency and fuel mileage.

The last reason for which hybrids may be more of a complication than a relief is because the recharging systems in public areas are not at full functionality. This is specifically for PHEVs or Plug in electric vehicles. Some bigger cities have them, but smaller towns do not and what do you do then? You have a car that is totally unpractical.

What is most important when considering buying a hybrid car is to do your research. You need to put into perspective what you gain for what you are paying for. If there are less and less advantages for the amount of money you will be investing in your car, then maybe it is not the best investment you can make in the moment, a hybrid might not be for you.

How To Negotiate Buying A Car

negotiation

When it comes to buying a car, there are some things that you should take into consideration we have some great tips. It is said that when you walk into a dealership you are expected to negotiate the price that is stated.  That is the norm.  Which is why most people who are shy or timid get someone pushier and more aggressive to go with them to “work over the sales man”.

 

If you pay the sticker price then you are letting the car dealership walk away with hundreds and perhaps even thousands of dollars worth of profit. We understand as you must that the services provided by the dealership for having the car that you want is worth something, so how much haggling you do and how much you try to re-negotiate the price on the sticker is up to you.

 

What you need to know is the following:

 

What the invoice price of the vehicle is –

Lets start at the beginning, there is a price that the car dealership pays for every vehicle directly from the car manufacturer.  This is known as the Invoice Price, this money can also be made in the form of money that the dealership gets as a lump sum every quarter.  This is true mostly for new car dealerships, but having said that before you go out and purchase a car you should arm yourself with information.  This information is available on the web, just type in Invoice prices for the car make and model that you are interested in purchasing. The advantage of knowing this information is that you can therefore negotiate the price that is listed on the sticker and what the dealership actually paid for the car on the lot.  It allows you some negotiating “wiggle room” and can be beneficial to your bottom line.

 

Check the Foursquare –

Foursquare is a worksheet that is used by most car dealers, this worksheet has four major quadrants, thus its called a foursquare. Purchase price, down payment, monthly payment and trade in value. Some car salespeople will try to focus on one part of this square. What is important is to remember that if you get a what seems like a great deal on the down payment can make your payments stretch out much much longer than necessary.  As mentioned before the more facts you know the better you can handle the curve balls that you may face at the dealership.

 

Don’t be afraid to walk away –

When it comes to shopping for a car there is just one thing to remember.  No one is forcing you to buy anything you don’t want to.  Ok, lets be honest, if you have ever gone into a store and walked out convinced that you needed an item that is not 100% what you were looking for or even wanted then your salesperson is good.  Really good. People who work at sales for a living do so because they are really good at selling.  Don’t let someone convince you of something that you are not convinced of.  Going to a car dealerships does not mean that you have to leave with a car.  You can go and get information, you can not be thrilled with the offer and choose to go somewhere else.  Another FYI is that if you threaten to go somewhere else to get a better deal you may just end up getting what you needed and wanted all along.

 

Shop around for financing on your own –

If you go into a dealership without doing your homework how will you know that interest rates you are qualified for? How will you know what a good going rate is for what you are looking for looks like. What you are qualified for?  Credit unions, local banks or even your local bank may have some great options for you, lower rates, better interest rates.

 

Get your trade in value to work to your advantage –

Rule #1 if you bring a car that you wish to trade in, do not discuss it with the dealer until you get what you want.  Negotiate the terms of your car once you get the interest rates you want, the purchase price you want.  Remember that regardless the car dealership will be making money and you need to do what is best for you, this tricks will help you get the car you want at a price you can handle.

Do not negotiate monthly payments –

Most of us live paycheck to paycheck, most of us have jobs that pay a certain amount and that is what we have to go on.  Do not be fooled when it comes to getting offered a lower monthly price, this can be a catch 22. Your monthly payments may be lower but you may be paying for it more so than not with payments that span for eternity. Do not make your negotiations based on how little you will pay a month, because your interest rates may inflate over time and you will end up paying more than you needed or wanted to.

Have no regrets on final fees –

You have found the car you want, you qualify for a good interest rate and have agreed on all the key points.  Ask about fees.  Find out what else will be needed of you in order to drive your shiny new car off of the lot.  Get the facts and ask whether these fees are negotiable or if the dealership will assume responsibility for them in order to make a sale.  Sometimes you can wiggle out of paying them, at other times you cannot, but it never hurts to ask.

How To Sell A Used Car

Car and moneyWhen it comes to selling your car, you have options.  You can sell it online, you can sell it via newspaper, or you can bring it into a dealership as a trade in or in our case Cars for Cash.  The first thing and the most important thing to remember when it comes to selling your car is that you need to market it.  That is right, market it.  Just because you may only have one car to sell doesn’t mean that you don’t want the best price for it and it doesn’t mean that you do not want it noticed.

Here we have some ideas as to how best tackle this challenge.  If you plan on selling your car online, then you need to create a great looking listing. What is most important to car sellers?  Most will say the price they get for their used vehicle is at the top of the list.   You want to be the low hanging fruit or the most attractive listing on that specific marketplace. Would it surprise you to know that 70% of cars are sold out of state. That is right, so do not limit yourself to only your state and your local geographical area.  The next person who will own your vehicle may be a state or two away, if they want the car – they will find a way to get it.

You want to get all of the pertinent information that you will need to best describe the car you are trying to sell.  This is not an instance where less is more, no…more is more, so get as detailed as possible.

 

What you will want to have is:

  • The Car Title
  • Original Sales Information
  • Service Records

 

Here is some of the basic pertinent information you will need to account for:

  • Year
  • Current Mileage
  • Make
  • Specific Model
  • Specific Model type (SE, TRD, LE, X etc.)
  • Features: (Cd player, Heated Leather Seats, Third Row… etc.)

 

It is important to remember that the more specific you can be regarding your car and its current condition, the better the chances that you will sell it for your asking price.  You can use the original listing information from the manufacturer to cross reference anything you might have missed.

Amazingly, a lot of car buyers  get comfort in seeing items such as oil change receipts, because this emphasizes that the car was well maintained and therefore perhaps less likely to break down. Most oil changes should occur every 3,000-8,000 miles depending on the specific manufacturers recommendations.

What happens then if you do not have these receipts?  What then?  Most of us do not hold on to such items although we know we should.  What we recommend is asking your local oil change place to print up a log of your cars maintenance, that will suffice.

You have an emotional connection to your vehicle perhaps and may see it with rose colored glasses.  But sharing the true and therefore unbiased account of your cars condition can go a long way in getting it purchased. Most people tend to over shoot when it comes to the value of their car, you need to do your homework.  Checking sources like Edmund.com or KBB.com is a good place to start.

If you have a mechanic who offers a service that allows them to asses it, we recommend it.  Your mechanic can tell you what needs to be changed or fixed, they may see something that you overlooked.  This usually comes with a fee but this will prove to the potential buyer that you took care of it for them, saving them money, time and effort.  Besides, it will provide a sense of security to the buyer that there is nothing to worry about, the car has been checked and has passed inspection, so keep all documentation that your mechanic gives you after this is done.

There are some advantages of selling your car to a dealership or a Cash for Cars type of business. For example when you trade your car in you do not get people e-mailing and calling trying to get in touch with you.  There is no cost to sell it or for listing it.  It is totally convenient and fast, take it in and KAPOW! Your car is sold.

Take these suggestions into consideration and you will see how your listing gets noticed or just have a Cars for Cash company do all the work for you, in that case all you have to do is show up.

 

 

 

 

Beware Buyers & Sellers of Cars

car used salesperson selling old car as brand new

When it comes to used car dealerships, There is a stigma usually attached to them, but not every used car dealership has to be an uncomfortable experience. At Car Snappy we pride ourselves in getting you the best price for your used vehicle, we pay cash for cars.

There are certain tactics that some used car dealerships tend to use, when you go to buy or sell your car.  Tactics that make the whole experience somewhat uncomfortable. People who go to buy/sell their cars are usually in need of a good reliable vehicle.

What they don’t need is to be manipulated into purchasing something they did not want. HEre are some common issues that some used car dealerships and their employees might try on you.

There are some tactics that they use, tactics they can try on you, here are some examples to look out for:

When a used car salesman asks you as you are ready to leave the lot…

•    “What If i can get you the car for this price…(then they would offer a very reasonable price)… asking if you would buy it then?

This is called lowballing it and doesn’t mean that the car is being sold at that price. What it does mean is that they are trying anything they can to get you to stick around.

•    Some people try to skip steps by calling and asking what the trade in value of their car might be.  If you call regarding the value of your car, what we recommend is to do some research, get to the dealership and get an appraisal on the actual value.  It is important to not assume the value of a vehicle that has not even been seen. It is impossible to give an exact value estimate without having a professional appraise it.

•    If you see ad after ad for very inexpensive cars, so you call and are told that these cars have just been sold, or that it is in process, then…it is usually not true.

then this is a tactic that many companies use to bait you into stopping by.  If a deal seems too good to be true, than it usually is.

•    Do your homework, Read the disclosure, find out if there is some fine print regarding downpayments or a dealer fee.  These hidden costs can make your buying experience a negative experience, leaving a sour taste in your mouth when it comes to future purchases.

What we recommend is the following, here are some Questions to ask before you head out in search of your new vehicle:

•    Call the store, do you have the vehicle still in stock, vehicles like this that are still in stock?
•    Make sure you have choices

You get a price and then that price changes because of less than stellar credit, no dealership can take a fee that a bank is charging and add it to your price.  Once you have a signed buyers order the price cannot be changed and should not be.

Go somewhere transparent, go to someplace reputable.  Do not go after fake inventory, no hidden fees.  Buying or selling a used car should be a pleasant experience, not a stressful one.

3 Ways To Save Money When Buying A Car

Save_Money

Buying a car can be stressful for many people.  However it does not have to be.  There are some true and tried ways of making this experience as easy as possible.  Here are our suggestions for making this an awesome experience.

• Find out what others are paying for the same new or used car, there are apps called “true car” and use it to negotiate.  Leverage for lack of a better word.  If you know what your car is worth, an idea of what you can sell it for then you can have more basis for position.  If you are selling a car to a dealer per say you can have a general idea of what the trade in value of your car would be.  If you are buying a car then you can have a better idea as to what the car goes for.

• When it comes to the best day for you to go buy a car, then Saturday is usually the worst day of the week. Why is this true?  Because of several reasons, the first the lot will be busy, that means that any sales person you speak to might be distracted.  Might feel a sense of pressure to rush through your sale to attend other customers. Also, the other reason is that most people work during the weekdays, 9-5 and therefore their weekends are sacred.  Unless you are a gear-head and love cars, the idea of spending one of your two free days dealing with car salesman is probably not high on your list of priorities.

• The best time of the month to get a new car is towards the end.  Go to your local dealership because there is usually an end of the month quota for many car salesmen, so you may get a little extra taken off the top.  Thus allowing some wiggle room when it comes to getting a few dollars off your car purchase.  There is more pressure from their sales managers to meet their sales expectations.

What we want is for you to have the most information so that you can to make a smarter car buying experience.  When it comes to selling your car, that is where we come in.  At Car Snappy you will get cash for your car so that when it does come time for you to buy your new or used car you can get the best and most useful information.

Whether a new or used dealership, the managers all have their sales quotas to meet, this seems to be quite universal.  Therefore this information remains pertinent. The most reliable way to ensure that you get the most off your car purchase is to arm yourself with information.  Get your credit score, get an idea as to what financing you may be eligible for, that gives you leverage.  Get an idea as to what cars you may be interested in purchasing, those that you can afford, figure out what they are going for otherwise. That way when you arrive at a dealership you will know if the price that is displayed is accurate or within the ballpark.

Beware of These Scams in Houston When Buying A Used Car

Beware of scams in Houston when buying a used car

Have you ever tried to buy or sell something online? The answer is probably yes. Well, as you may have learned, sometimes what people say they are selling and what you actually buy can be dramatically different things. Beware of Scams in Houston when buying a used car. There are also scammers lurking on the sidelines trying to make a quick buck, from you, from anyone and anywhere they can.

As time passes and technology continues to advance, it becomes easier and easier to partake in this internet phenomenon. Jobs exist today that didn’t 30 years ago, in the same way that selling cars is dramatically different than it was in the past. In the past few years, selling your car or buying for that matter has increased on the web. Said scammers post listings for non existent vehicles, people wire money, make deposits and you are a victim of a scam. This happens all over the world and it also happens in Houston, Texas USA.

Believe it or not a large percentage of fraud found online is in the auto industry. What we offer is a solution for you to outsmart the fraudulent few that are trying to take advantage of you, the consumer. Ha! Let them try, here is what to do to avoid falling victim to fraud.

1) Get information on the car itself
This translates into asking for a Carfax report, verifying the vin number and making sure that it belongs to the car in question. Ensuring that you will not be given a vin number for a Ford Explorer and have it belong to an Acura Integra. There are companies that provide free information regarding flood damage, etc. Also, ensure that besides the vin number pertaining to that car, model, year and color, that the license plate and registration match the person and state that is claiming to own it. Some people will post listings for vehicles that are non-existent, a deal that is too good just to get information from buyers. This happens all the time on Craigslist for example and also for apartment rentals.  They gather your information when you call and then try to sell you something else.

2) Breathe 
When you want to a car that is out of state and is being shipped – do your homework. Get the shippers number and confirm that your vehicle is indeed there, going to be there or there is some confirmation that it will be received. Something, because you need to secure your investment. Don’t let yourself be pressured to wire money or make a deposit in order to get your car shipped out. This may seem logical but you would be surprised how many people put their blind faith in someone over the phone, because they seemed genuine.  It’s not personal, it’s business and as a business person you should not pay for something you do not have.

3) Use your phone
If the person you are trying to purchase the vehicle from refuses to take your calls or is not available to talk, that should send up some red flags. Believe it or not, by speaking on the phone you can get information and a feel for the person with whom you are doing business. This accomplishes two things, it lets you know when you call that they are serious about this sale and are responsible because they take the time to answer any questions that you may have.  If you have ever had a job interview and at the end the interviewer asks you if you have any questions – your mind draws a blank.  Of course afterwards, you think of a million things you want and need to know.  The same happens when your emotions might be making the decisions for you, so having a number to call and ensure that all your questions get answered as soon as they arise is always best.

4) Check all the facts
There are times when sellers blur out the image on the license plate, this is done for two reasons. The first reason is to hide something, to be shady and to try and cover something up. The second would be because they are using an older photo that may have a blurred license plate for a past listing. Ask them to take a recent image of the car and to include the license plate. This way you can confirm that it is in the state that they say it is- It’s an exercise in trust. Also, it means nothing to show someone a picture of a car that is 4 years old when the car was brand new and have it not be representative of what the car looks like today.  Time can change things, just look at your picture from 4 years ago. See my point?  You need to ask if the images were taken recently to get the most current information.

5) Keep your money where it is
If the seller is legitimate, you will be asked to pay with a credit card, bank deposit, Paypal or what have you. If they ask for something to be done via Western Union or some sort of wire transfer that is not through the safety of your bank, it is the same as sending them cash. This is shadier and more doubtful that they are honest and may want to scam you out of your money.

What is most important is to remember that if someone wants to sell you a vehicle, you have the power, you are the buyer and you have the money that they want in exchange for the vehicle that they are selling you. You have to be smart about whom you do business with. In Houston as in other large cities there are people who give selling/buying a car online a bad wrap. Why not sell your car with people who will not scam you? A company that will be honest and real and will be as honest with you as you are with Them?  Welcome to Carsnappy.com – we are different, we offer you a chance to have faith in selling  your used car for cash in Houston, Texas.  We are here, just for you!

 

6 Questions To Ask Car Sellers When Buying A Used Car

car

If your looking for a new car or shopping around its good to know the important things. If you ask the right questions you can save yourself some time and have a more positive experience when purchasing a used vehicle.

Today, when buying used vehicles it comes down to an act of faith. You understand that the seller is honest, and that is as it should be, in order to asure this, you need to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions will enable you to know that you are getting the best deal and spending your money wisely.

These 6 questions are best asked even before viewing the used vehicle you plan on buying.

1. Why is the current owner selling the car or truck?

Each owner may have different reasons to sell their vehicle. However, in most cases it gives you an idea of the cars overall value depending on the answer.

  • If the seller is looking to sell it right away – this is usually good for the buyer. You are likely able to talk the seller down on the price.
  • If the seller is looking for a certain price it means that the car is in good condition,  it may be harder to get them to take an offer on a lower price.
  • If the owner doesn’t provide a clear answer as to what they want or are not flexible,  it may be a bad sign. This could indicate something could be wrong with the car.

2. How many previous owners has the vehicle had?

By asking this question you will get a clear idea of reoccurring problems with the used vehicle. If many people have owned it previously the reason for selling the car multiple times could be due to problems that keep occurring.

3. Has the vehicle been in extreme weather or parked outside during snowy seasons?

As a buyer you should be hesitant to buy any older vehicles that have been through extreme weather conditions or temperatures. A used car that has been through high temperatures for example over long periods of time could decrease the predictability of the car.  Your car will work well if its been treated well. Extreme weather can be a problem, this is something to keep in mind.

4. How many miles does your car have and what is the reliability of the brand of car you are interested in purchasing? 

Ok, it is realistic to understand that cars that are above the 150,000 – 250,000 mark are going to be a little trickier, even more so if they are cars that are notorious for being problematic.  Some car manufacturers are notorious for being reliable over the long haul – Brands such as Toyota, Chevy, Jeep etc.  Some cars that are more finicky are british ones, but gorgeous none the less.  More expensive cars can also retain their value long into the future.

5. Is this the original paint job? 

The reason this is so important, is because of two reasons.  #1, the car was in an accident, which is not ideal but this can be check with a car fax report to ensure that the car has not suffered any irreparable damages?  Fire, flood, etc.  Perhaps the car was painted to improve the overall appearance of the vehicle, that is not a bad thing and can actually improve the value of your car.  Good for you.

6. Do you have access to the title? 

Many people have tried this rouse before, I am selling a great car but the title is in another persons name.  Listen, the truth is, in order to sell a car or to buy a car outright, you need to get access to the title.  With out this vital piece of paper, the seller has no right of ownership, therefore they cannot sell it to you, its as simple as that.

Buying a used car is a great idea, but the moral of the story is do your homework first.  Do some research as to what is in your best interest, if you are desperately seeking a vehicle and have the funds to pay for the upkeep then get what it is that delights your fancy.  If you are cautiously optimistic about purchasing a vehicle through a second party or a private party, then try to be as forthcoming and get the buyer to be as forthcoming with you as you can.  Also, good luck .