How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

The car-buying process is undergoing revolutionary changes as a result of the Internet in the area of auto dealerships. They can increasingly buy a car without ever leaving their house by completing much of the process online. They may in some cases never need to go to a dealership. Below will show you details on how to buy a car online.

How to buy a car online? Set a budget, get preapproved to buy a new car, research the value of your trade, check for car deals, search the inventory at multiple dealers, negotiate online, take a test drive, and electronically sign the purchase documents.

Please read on for more detailed information.

How to Buy a Car Online?

Here is an easy step-by-step guide on how to buy a car online:

Set a Budget

Your first step should be determining how much you can afford to spend. Calculating ongoing and one-time expenses is part of this. The price of buying a car and the ongoing monthly cost of owning one are influenced by gas, auto insurance, and your down payment.

Since interest has the biggest impact on your monthly payment and total cost, your budget calculations should also account for it. Buyers who have higher credit scores will be offered more competitive interest rates than buyers with lower credit scores.

Bankrate tip: Experts advise making a down payment of at least 20% and keeping monthly household expenses for all vehicles, including maintenance and insurance, to no more than 10% of your income.

How to Buy a Car Online Step-by-step Guide
How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

Get Preapproved to Buy a New Car

Preparing Your Finances

It’s important to understand how financing a car works. Getting a loan preapproval is frequently the first step in buying a car. Your credit rating and the financial institution you choose may have an impact on the interest rate of the auto loan you receive. Most banks offer a range of annual percentage rates (APRs), and you may pre-qualify for a lower one the better your credit score is. It’s common for preapproval to have restrictions on the kind of car you can buy, such as that it only applies to cars with a certain amount of miles on them or that were manufactured after a certain year. After you’ve selected a vehicle, the rate is again subject to change based on the car’s year, LTV, and other factors.

Apply to Be Preapproved for An Auto Loan

It’s a little different from applying for a loan for a specific vehicle when you submit an application for preapproval on an auto loan. With loan preapproval, you are given the go-ahead to shop for cars up to a specific price, during a specific loan term (the time you will have to pay off the loan), and at a specific interest rate.

Each of these things can be requested, and the bank will either grant them right away or respond with a different offer (such as a loan with a shorter term or a slightly higher interest rate). Prior to applying it to a real car purchase and signing the paperwork, your loan preapproval isn’t legally binding. Remember that getting approved or preapproved for any loan may result in a hard inquiry on your credit, which could cause a slight drop in your credit score. Don’t worry, though; it will probably bounce back within a few months.

It should be noted that this step is frequently optional because financing is usually provided by the vendor at the time of purchase with many online car buying processes, including Driveway’s. The decision to finance through the vendor in this instance or through your own preferred financial institution is entirely up to you.

How to Buy a Car Online Step-by-step Guide
How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

Research the Value of Your Trade

Knowing the worth of your trade and being open to other options for selling your used car can help you put more money toward the cost of your new car. You can always trade in your car at the dealership, but you should know how much it will sell for before accepting a deal.

Most people look up the value of their used cars on Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book. The expected trade-in value of a car is also calculated using algorithms by car shopping and research websites like CarGurus based on details like its age, mileage, location, and features.

There are three typical methods of selling a used car, all of which can be completed online.

  • Even if you don’t intend to buy from the dealership, you can trade in your used car there. On the website, which allows users to buy and sell new and used cars from participating local dealers, you can also get a quote for your trade-in by using the Instant Cash Offer tool.
  • Sell it privately to earn money. Search your make and model online for price and availability onprivate-party sale sites such as eBay and Craigslist.
  • Vendors like CarMax or Carvana are great places to sell your used car. Ask for its guaranteed cash price and compare it with what you’ve found online.

Bankrate tip: Don’t just trade in your used car at the dealership out of convenience because you’ll probably get the least money for it. Obtain estimates and use them as negotiating leverage.

How to Buy a Car Online Step-by-step Guide
How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

Check for Car Deals

In the automotive industry, not every vehicle is a hit. There might be a money-saving incentive available to boost sales if they aren’t up to an automaker’s expectations or if the vehicle is nearing the end of its product cycle.

Shoppers looking for either new vehicles or certified pre-owned cars should check to see if there are any available on the models they are considering. If you’re able to take advantage of a cash rebate, low-interest financing deal, or subsidized lease deal, you could save thousands of dollars. Cash back deals (or rebates) effectively lower the car price, while low-interest financing deals reduce or eliminate the interest on a car loan. Lease deals lower the amount due at signing, or make each monthly payment smaller.

Search the Inventory at Multiple Dealers

In the past, visiting the inventory of different dealers required getting in your car and driving from one to the next. Now, customers can look online to check the inventory of both new and used cars at dealerships far and wide. The U.S. News car finder tool can show you which dealers have the vehicles you’re looking at in stock. Even more information about the available vehicles can be found on the websites of the individual dealers.

Even if they don’t have the specific model you’re interested in in stock, you should still speak to a local dealer before buying a new car or truck. One may be arriving in an upcoming delivery, and dealers frequently trade stock with other dealers when buyers want specific models, colors, or features.

How to Buy a Car Online Step-by-step Guide
How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

Search Outside Your Area

You can search for cars you’re interested in in your nearby neighborhood or even hundreds of miles away when you shop for a car online. It’s a good idea to look outside of your neighborhood at locations and dealerships where you might get a better deal. If you’re shopping for a full-size pickup, for example, check at urban dealers where they might not be as popular. Looking for a plug-in hybrid? Look at some dealers in outlying areas where hybrids might not be in high demand and the dealer might be willing to sell them for less.

Negotiate Online

If none of the initial price quotes you receive fall within the range you established between the fair market value and the invoice price, you can use those two figures to recontact dealers and request their best offers.

“It is best to start by finding out what the dealer’s best offer is. You don’t have to share any details of other offers or negotiations that you’re in with another dealer unless it’s to your advantage,” DeLorenzo says. “Utilize those numbers to determine whether the dealer can outperform the competition. If not, keep in mind that you have the power to take your business elsewhere.”

Make sure any price quotes are itemized in an email, and don’t forget to inquire about any additional charges that are either included or withheld. Items such as “customer service fees,” options and add-ons — which are negotiable and can be removed — can tack thousands on to your overall price.

If you find a price from one dealer that you like, you can email the quote to another dealer to get competing bids, especially if you are aware of the exact contents of each price quote.

Bankrate tip: Never reveal to a car salesperson your monthly payment budget. That allows the dealer to pack whatever they can into your quoted payment and still meet your budget. When negotiating for your car, keep the overall cost in mind.

How to Buy a Car Online Step-by-step Guide
How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

Take a Test Drive

You need to take a test drive in the exact vehicle you are purchasing. Not all new cars are perfect from the factory, so you want to drive the exact car you’re buying before you sign the paperwork. Although it’s not a requirement if you’re buying a certified used car, used cars should be thoroughly inspected by a professional mechanic.

Salespeople can bring vehicles to your home for test drives thanks to programs offered by an increasing number of automakers and dealerships. Hyundai’s A program with at-home test drives is the Shopper Assurance program. A great chance to test drive the vehicle on the highways you frequently use is to do so at your residence. For this step, you might need to go to a dealer because not all automakers provide test drives at home.

There are right and wrong ways to test drive a used car. Before you get behind the wheel, read our guide to test driving a used car. Many of the issues covered in the article also pertain to test drives for new cars.

Electronically Sign the Purchase Documents

When you purchase a car in person, the dealership will ask you to sign paperwork verifying your address, place of employment, and contact information. Online shopping is the same. The paperwork and any terms and conditions will be handled and submitted by you (and any cosigner).

Whether your bank works with the website you’re buying from or the website itself offers you financing options, you’ll also complete the financing process. If you’re concerned about entering sensitive information online, don’t be: Driveway uses cutting-edge cyber security to encrypt anything you submit.

Driveway will display a clear confirmation screen after receiving your payment information, letting you know that your purchase has been completed and outlining the details of the transaction, including any taxes, fees, and Care & Protection Plans. You’ve now successfully completed an online car purchase!

How to Buy a Car Online Step-by-step Guide
How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

Traditional Car Buying Vs. Online Car Buying

Online auto shopping has many benefits over the conventional process, whether you’re buying a new or used car. Few customers will admit that they enjoy the daily face-to-face haggling that still takes place on car lots. One of the last examples of unrestrained price negotiation is the back-and-forth between car buyers, salespeople, and sales managers, but this practice may soon be extinct.

Thankfully, almost all of the steps involved in buying a car can be completed online with a lot less stress. The majority of the time, however, a final visit to the dealership is still required in order to take the vehicle for a thorough test drive, sign the necessary paperwork, and accept delivery of the vehicle. But even that step is evolving as more dealers offer to deliver the car right to your house. Additionally, the act of signing paper documents is starting to be replaced by the use of electronic signatures.

Tesla, a manufacturer of electric vehicles, has advanced the ability to purchase a car entirely online further than other automakers. Tesla retailers are merely showrooms and not real automobile dealerships. You carry out the transaction on your own, either at a kiosk or in your home. There is no room for negotiation in the Tesla system, so the price listed for that day is the price you will pay.

How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide
How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Car Online

Nowadays, many consumers feel at ease with the process of buying a car online because it is convenient and time-effective. The trend in auto retailing is toward online car sales in the future. But what are the benefits and drawbacks of buying a car online?

The pros of online car-buying include:

  • It can save time
  • No sales pressure
  • Convenience
  • Vehicle delivery

When you purchase a car online, you have complete control over the timing, pace, and transaction without hastily making a choice that you might come to regret.

The cons of online car-buying include:

  • Inability to personally inspect the vehicle before you buy it
  • Inability to test-drive the vehicle before you buy it
  • Limited financing choices unless you arrange a loan in advance
  • Adding a trade-in vehicle complicates the process

What is a Car Subscription?

Although you are aware that you can purchase or lease a car, did you know that you can enjoy many of the benefits of car ownership while avoiding many of the drawbacks? You might be wondering what we’re talking about. A more recent method of getting behind the wheel of a new car is through a subscription.

A new spin on an established business strategy is a car subscription service. Car subscriptions offer all the benefits of owning a car while freeing customers from the numerous costs and annoyances of car ownership. When you lease a car, you don’t have to worry about repairs, maintenance, license and registration fees, smog checks, or auto insurance.

Car manufacturers, auto dealers, car rental companies, and internet startups have launched various car subscription services and apps. Everyone is attempting to determine the best way to satisfy customers while making money off the subscribe-to-a-car concept. For many of them, that last task has been challenging.

It’s not for everyone to subscribe to a car. In fact, as numerous automakers and Internet business owners have found, it might be a concept whose time has never come.

How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide
How to Buy a Car Online? Step-by-step Guide


How Do I Make a Car Payment?

For online payment options, go to your lender’s website.

  1. The majority of lenders prefer a direct bank draft. You will need your account number and your bank’s routing number to set this up. …
  2. Some lenders allow you to make payments using a debit or credit card.

How to Buy a Car Without Going to the Dealership?

Drive and the Hyundai Drive program allow buyers to complete the entire car searching and buying process without ever setting foot in a dealership. They arrange for dealers to drop off cars for touchless test drives at your home or place of business and pick them up a few hours later.

Can You Buy a Car from Out of State?

You can purchase a car in another state, yes. Shop online for new and used cars and then follow our steps for how to buy a car out of state.

Why Do People Consider Buying a Vehicle Out of State?

Most often, individuals who purchase a vehicle outside of their home state are looking for a better deal or cannot find the exact vehicle they desire there.

Summary: How to Buy a Car Online?

How to buy a car online? Set a budget, get preapproved to buy a new car, research the value of your trade, check for car deals, search the inventory at multiple dealers, negotiate online, take a test drive, and electronically sign the purchase documents.

You can save time and money by buying a car online, or at least by doing the majority of the research prior to visiting a dealer. Review local and national inventories, compare current vehicle prices, and get ready for a negotiation by researching current rates. You can greatly reduce the stress associated with buying a new car by taking advantage of the wealth of information that is readily available online.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. KV Auto tries to give you the best car industry information. Thank you for reading.

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