Archive | January, 2012

#22 Buy a New Car

2 Jan

I’ll preface this one by saying that I think my new year’s resolution needs to be posting to my blog in a more timely fashion because I officially checked this one off the list on Halloween, but better late than never, right?

The search for a new car has been a gradual, ongoing one for a while now. I’ve known that my Passat wasn’t going to last for much longer and that was confirmed when I took it into the mechanic to get the timing belt replaced. He let me know some plastic thingy that goes over the wheels was cracked and would cost $1,000 to replace. With that knowledge, the search became a bit more serious.

I enlisted the help of my dad who is WAY more into cars in general than me (plus, car shopping really is a boy job…).  Initially I thought I wanted a smaller SUV like the Toyota RAV4, but after seeing one pull up at a stoplight next to the 4Runner, I decided that car just looked a little bit funny and wasn’t cool enough for me. 🙂

It was my dad who actually told me to start looking at the Lexus IS250, so I did some research and decided to focus on that and the Lexus RX350. Very different cars, but both were appealing to me for different reasons. From the looks of the used car inventory online, it seemed like the Lexus dealership in Torrance would be a good place to start…WRONG! I went to the dealership by myself, which was honestly pretty intimidating. I was definitely out of my element, but being the strong, independent woman I am, I went for it. After walking around the dealership for a good 20 minutes without a single person even so much as telling me they’d be with me shortly, I was frustrated and left. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own…

I wasn’t going to give up that easily though, so a couple weeks later, I stopped by the dealership in Santa Monica. Wow, was that a different experience! I was greeted the moment I walked in the door, offered coffee and cookies and immediately assigned a salesperson. Neal was a nice guy that definitely knew everything there is to know about Lexus’. We test drove both the car and the SUV, but I still couldn’t make up my mind. To help me out, the manager let me borrow the brand new RX350 for a day. I was amazed that they were putting this much faith in me…and petrified that I would scratch it or hit something! After driving it for a day, I really loved it, but decided that I would be more comfortable in the car.

I now had to decide if I wanted to buy a used car or lease a new one. Everyone in my family has always bought used cars, so that’s what I am more comfortable with, but after hearing Neal out, I could see the benefits of leasing as well. I found a couple of used cars that I wanted to check out before making my decision, so I grabbed a couple of my friends – Gian and Logan – the next weekend and went to go check out the options. I figured with two boys by my side, I would get some respect at the dealerships.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to find the perfect match. The one at CarMax was dirty and they don’t negotiate at all on the price (who knew!). And the other one was priced too high and they wouldn’t negotiate as much as I wanted. So, I headed back home empty handed and a little bit discouraged. Part of the problem was that thanks to all the research my dad and I had done, I knew exactly what I wanted – a white IS250 with tan leather interior and navigation. At this point I had decided I wanted to buy, not lease, and it was proving difficult to find exactly the car I had in mind.

Everything changed though on Halloween. I got a call from Neal at the Santa Monica dealership letting me know he had my car. He told me I needed to head over right away. Thankfully since Halloween was on a Monday, I didn’t have any plans, so I hopped in my car and drove to the dealership. I really wanted to see the car and see how much they would negotiate since it was the last day of the month, but I had absolutely no intention of buying a car. I figured I would wait until my dad was in town the next weekend, so he could help me with the negotiation part.

I met up with Neal and he took me across the street to the used car lot…the moment I saw it I knew it was the one. It was everything I had been looking for. We took it for a quick test drive and starting talking price. It didn’t take long to get to a price I was completely comfortable with, but I had promised my dad I wouldn’t sign anything. I stepped away to quickly give him a call and get his advice and surprisingly he told me to go for it. With that and a solid hour of paperwork the car was mine.

It was such an amazing experience. I have been a pretty independent person for quite a while, but this was one of the most empowering and liberating things I have ever done. I bought a car all on my own!

The following weekend my parents came down to visit…they had intended to help me find a car, but instead they helped me sell my old one. I was just going to sell it to CarMax, but my dad was able to find a buyer on Craig’s List who was willing to pay twice as much! Sold!

I have had my car for two months now and it is perfect! It has all the features a person could ever want…including a back-up camera. And best of all, I don’t have to worry about it breaking. I couldn’t be happier.

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