Car Buying Part 1 - Going For Broker.

By Paul Michael on 15 January 2007 (Updated 10 June 2007) 13 comments

Trucks lined up at a car dealership

I recently upgraded both vehicles in my family, and it was an experience far more enjoyable than the first few times I bought a car. I did one deal myself, I used a car broker for the other. And I can honestly say going with a car broker was absolutely fantastic, hassle free, and it saved me a bunch of cash. I'll outline some pointers for buying a car on your own in the next article, but in my opinion a car broker saves you money, time and hassle. Think of it like using an accountant to do your taxes.

Now, like any other professional out there, you need to make sure you're dealing with an established broker with great BBB credentials and a ton of positive feedback. I found one close to me, I'm sure you will too. Edmunds.com had the following tips for finding the ideal broker:

  • Make sure the broker is licensed to legally sell cars in your state.
  • Ask questions to the company or individual about how they find deals on cars, what background they have in the car business and if they receive any money from dealerships or carmakers for making deals.
  • Look for feedback about other customers' experiences with the broker on auto chat boards, like Edmunds.com's Town Hall forums.
  • Confirm that broker fees are charged on a flat-rate basis to ensure that you get the best deal on your car.
  • Check with any wholesale clubs or auto clubs to see if they offer car-buying services free of charge.

The process is simple, but it does take a little time. It's not like you can just walk into a car brokerage and drive away with a new vehicle. You also need to know EXACTLY what you want. It's the job of the car broker to find your vehicle based on the specs you give him or her.

In our case, we wanted a 2005 Pacifica Touring with very low mileage for under $19k. We tried everywhere, and couldn't find a thing. So, we called a broker. 2 days later he had the car for us. The perfect car. Only 16k on the clock, the right color, the right model, an immaculate interior and to top it all off, it was the newer 2006 model. We figured we'd get hit with a huge price tag. Not at all. As we asked, it was just $18,000. We were shell shocked.

We figured the broker would hit us with a bunch of fees. But, his fees were already incorporated in that figure. All we needed to pay for was the title and registration, plus membership to a credit union (just $10) to get us the low, low financing figure of just 5.75% fixed APR. We also got the maximum for our trade, a figure we had no idea we'd be able to get. The broker also has skills to haggle with local dealers to get you a great price for your trade. And this is what basically makes the broker so valuable.

What you're getting is a professional who knows the car industry inside and out. He or she knows all the tricks car dealerships use, and so, they don't use them. Negotiating is a broker's expertise. The broker will hammer away at a price until you get what you want for the price you want. It doesn't matter if you think you need to replace the blinker fluid in your headlights...however clueless you are about cars, a broker will get you something great for a low price. And because they rely on referrals and word of mouth for their business, they want to work as hard as they can for you. It makes good sense for them.

Of course, you can cut the broker out and buy yourself. But you need nerves of steel, a lot of background knowledge and a cast-iron will to get what you want. Dealership pressure is serious. They may be smiling, but the crux of the matter is this...they want to give you as little as possible for your trade, and sell you a car at sticker price (which you should never, ever do). I'll cover that in my next article. Until then, if you are thinking of buying a car, you can do a whole lot better with a good broker on your side. Happy, safe driving everyone.

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Andrea Karim's picture

That if you are NOT using a broker, guy a car on Superbowl Sunday. No one else is shopping, salespeople are hard-pressed to eliminate last year's models, and also REALLY wanting to make sales quotas. I've never tried it, it's just what I've heard.

It seems like car/auto brokering is really common in the UK and Austrlia. It explains why the Australians I've known over here are so into using the service.

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying/articles/103283/article.html

Paul Michael's picture

...here in Colorado we can't buy a car (or liquor) on a Sunday. Some archaic law that hasn't been repealed. But I'm happy the rest of you can grab a deal when the Superbowl is on. Happy shopping. 

Guest's picture
James

Please contact me if you are in need of a new or used auto.

Thank you.

James

Fitch Hurst's picture

I can't believe I've never heard of a car broker, and it sounds too good to be true. I'm dreading getting a new car, one is on it's way out and the other is on a lease, and I'm not sure the right way to go. It sounds like a broker is the only sensible way to get my new car-- I want it to be like shopping for electronics: find the features I want, know what I want, then price shop. Thanks for the info!

Guest's picture
Tim

I am thinking of buying my first car for the first time.  I think the broker will help me out a lot since I don't know as much about cars as a stereotypical guy is supposed to know.  Thank you for the info.  I can't wait for part 2.

Paul Michael's picture

...car buying is such a mystery. If you had to go through this process to buy a dishwasher or toaster, you'd probably never even leave the house to go shopping. I'm not sure why there is such secrecy and fog surrounding this all. Even 'no haggle' prices can be haggled, as I have found. I was in the same boat, and have a couple of nightmare car deals behind me. I researched for months before I settled on two options. One, go in prepared to haggle with a dealer for hours (which I did) and two, use a qualified broker.
I'll always use a broker in future. Glad I could help everyone out. Please remember though, there are bad car brokers just like there are bad plumbers and bad accountants. Do your homework, check with the BBB, and word of mouth is always a great resource. If a few people you know and trust had a great experience, you will too.

Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

Thanks! I didn't know about this car brokerage service. How did you find a reputable person on the first try? I'm not sure where I'd start...

Paul Michael's picture

Greg, it's not easy to find a great broker. But simply go to yellowbook.com and type in 'car broker' and your zip code. That should get you a list in your area. Then, cross-reference with BBB.org. That should tell you if they have a good record. Then, if they have a website, check that out. Most good brokers will supply a list of customer comments on their site. If they don't have a BBB record at all, that could be a reason to stay away. My broker of choice is H.M.Brown & Associates, here in Colorado. Excellent firm. You could always call them and ask if they know of a good broker where you live. I'm sure they would be happy to oblige.

Lynn Truong's picture

should we use a broker for new car purchases too or just for used?

Paul Michael's picture

...will find you a better deal regardless of age. For a start, they don't charge a dealer handling fee. Plus, they can get special discounts from the manufacturers. Remember, brokers charge a flat fee. It's their goal to get you into a good car for as little money as possible. On average, I'd say you'd save at least $1000 on a new car by going to a broker over haggling for it yourself with a dealership.

Guest's picture
carsala

Getting an expert to handle the laborious car buying process is certainly the smart way to go.

That's why we launched Carsala (http://www.carsala.com). We handle all aspects of the process, finding the car that's right for you, and negotiating with the used car dealers on your behalf. Our average customer savings right now is over $4000 per car.

Try out our Car-Figurator (http://www.carsala.com/configurator/) and you can see the great prices we are able to get.

Guest's picture
Brian

Mr. Expert,

Are you going to have a follow up post or article about this anytime soon? :)

_______
"Providing you with great tips on Income & Bankruptcy" ...
( http://www.QSLaw.com )

Guest's picture
Evie Jackson

I've used Win Goodson a car broker here in Jacksonville, Florida for the last 2 cars I purchased and several of my friends have used him also. My first car I saved $7000 off what they wanted on the lot fully loaded and on the 2nd car I saved about $4500. It was so worth the time it took to find the car I wanted.