In the next couple of weeks I’ll be exploring the causes of car shopping anxiety, the Pros and Cons of either buying or leasing a car and ways to keep anxiety to a minimum when a deal is made.
What makes car shopping so stressful?
There are many things that cause car shopping related stress and anxiety including:
Dealing with Salespeople: I am not attacking people in sales or other similar work. I am not trying to say that all car salespeople are dishonest. Most are honest, but unfortunately there are some that are not honest. Negotiating with the salesperson can be a big source of anxiety regardless of who you have for a salesperson.
Too many choices: Supposedly having too many choices or the “paradox of choice” can contribute to problems such as indecision caused by stress and anxiety.
Fear of Buyers Remorse: Buyer’s Remorse is the feeling of regret that comes from having made a purchase. This can occur when you feel that you’ve made the wrong choice about what car to buy.
Dealing with the Finance and Insurance Office: After car shopping is all said and done the most stressful aspect of the car buying experience is dealing with the Finance and Insurance (F & I) office. It’s the place where the dealership draws up contracts, arrange payment plants and whatever mandated legal forms there are to sign. There is also the added stress and anxiety from the dealership offering you products that can be added to your loan such as extended warranties.
Fear that your new or used car is a lemon: I’m referring to any vehicle that has a “substantial defect” covered by warranty, that occurs after purchase. Also, if the defects continue even after attempting to repair them. The label “lemon” originated from early 20th century America to describe someone who was a loser or a simpleton, but “lemon” became a British slang term for a bad car around the same time. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a car and having to deal with defects.
Unexpected Surprises: Sometimes unexpected surprises can happen while car shopping. I know someone who was told by a dealership that a car he wanted was available, but he got there and found out it was sold. Other unexpected surprises can include unexpected fees and also finding out a car costs more than you previously thought.
Buying New, Used or Leasing?
Being a smarter consumer will make you a less anxious consumer and it starts with knowing about the pros and cons of buying a new or used car, or leasing.
What are the Pros and Cons of buying a New Car?
- Low Interest Rates: Low interest rates means a willingness for consumers to borrow more money to make big purchases, such as houses and cars.
- The Car is Yours: When the car is yours you have the right to modify it.
- Warranties: All new cars come with a variety of warranties, including powertrain warranties that last up to 60,000 miles.
- Latest Technology: When you buy a new car you have access to the latest technology, however overtime it’s not the latest anymore.
- Depreciation: A car depreciates in value by 11% once it is driven off the lot and can depreciate an additional 20% a year for the first 5 years. A $40,000 car can decrease in value by $10,000 in just one year.
- It’s Expensive: New cars are already expensive enough, however as prices for new cars continues to go up there are being financed with seven-year car loans. A combination of inexpensive and generous financing will put you deep in debt if you’re not careful.
- Insurance: New cars cost more to insure, so you need the highest level of protection.
What are the Pros and Cons of buying a Used Car?
- You don’t need a loan: Some consumers are able to pay cash on a used vehicle if it’s affordable enough.
- You can get a good deal: If you do your homework while shopping around there are many good deals out there.
- Lower Insurance Costs: The rate you pay for insurance is determined by the car’s value. Since used cars have less value than new cars the rate of insurance should be lower.
- You can buy a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle: A Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle is a newer used vehicle that has gone through extensive testing by the manufacturer to assure that it meets its original requirements and has a limited warranty.
- Someone Else takes the Depreciation Hit: Depreciation is the drop in the car’s value year after year with the majority of it occurring during the first three years of the life of the car. Although a large amount of depreciation has already occurred in an average used car depreciation still occurs at a slower rate.
- Reduced Registration Fees: The price of registering a car is based on the car’s transaction price. Many states are raising registration fees to generate more revenue, so buying a used car can save you money for that reason.
- You could end up buying a lemon: This could happen especially if a vehicle you’re interested in had to have major repair work done. Check for mismatched body panels, uneven gaps between doors and paint over-sprays.
- You’ll spend more on gas and repairs: As cars age the fuel efficiency declines and need more gas to stay on the road. If you have an older used car you may need to spend more money on repairs.
What are the Pros and Cons of Leasing?
- Lower Monthly Payments: The monthly payments that are made when you lease a car is based on the difference between what the car’s value is when the lease starts and what its worth at the end of the lease.
- Lower Down Payment: Leases don’t require as high of a down payment since you’re not buying the car and there’s no loan involved.
- Get a New Car every Few Years: The average life of a lease is three years and when it reaches maturity at the end of that time frame you have the option of signing into another lease and get a new car.
- No Hassles at End of Lease: Once the lease is up the dealership will handle the rest.
- Additional Financial Incentives: Financial incentives are offered by dealers, for example right now if you’re renewing your lease with Mazda they offer a Pull Ahead Program worth $1,000 to go toward making the last three months of payments toward the maturing lease.
- Pay Less in Sales Tax: You don’t pay a sales tax based on the price or value of the car, but instead it’s added to each lease payment every month.
- You don’t own the car: You don’t have the same ownership rights if you lease vs. if you buy. You can’t customize or make any modification to your vehicle.
- Penalties for Wear, Tear and Mileage: The terms of the lease allows only a certain amount of mileage. For example, if the terms of your lease is 15,000 miles a year for three years and you go over anything over can charged from $.15 a mile to $.50 a mile.
- Contract Obligations: Leasing a car involves a contract between the vehicle owner (lessor) and someone who pays the owner to have possession of the vehicle for a predetermined amount of time (lessee).
I mentioned many of the causes of car shopping anxiety and also mentioned the Pros and Cons of either buying (new or used) or leasing.
Next week I’ll be posting the second half of this blog and I’ll be discussing how to keep anxiety to a minimum while making a deal on a car.
For those of you who are struggling with anxiety you can download an Anxiety Expert List by clicking the link below:
Do you have any car shopping experiences you’d like to share?
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