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Home Buying Lessons from a Car Buying Adventure. Bizarre?? Read on…

Most of this audience would have bought a car at one point in their life. How many of us thought it was a GREAT deal at the time of buying and felt contrarily the next day? With no offence to the hard-working people at the car showrooms, how many believe the stereotypes of skeazy used car salesmen who always trick you into thinking you got a great deal?

I recently accompanied a friend who was looking to buy a new car (8 seater SUV). She wanted a standard brand- a good resale and not premium priced. She test drove the likes of Fords, Hondas and Toyotas. Few ‘clever’ salesmen couldn’t find keys of the base models and made her test drive the Tech models. No doubt, Tech models were more impressive and she got ‘sold’ to the tech safety features.

However, these advanced models were priced around 42k-47k (before negotiations). She thought ‘Why not try a premium brand if I have to shell out so much regardless?’ Acura MDX sounded right. Premium, good resale and priced right, Probably! While negotiating at final dealership, she thought she got a great deal. Until she sat to sign the papers.

It was a long day visiting few car showrooms. It was now, evening, snowing and dark. She got stumped with the extra charges like destination charges, the washing, cleaning and detailing charges, documentation charges, titling fees and taxes (taxes were accounted for, but not the rest!) Plus she was getting a rate of 3.9% APR despite her exceedingly great credit score (while Toyotas/Hondas/Nisssans had 0%-1.9% financing deals)! One Acura salesman, in absolute ‘humility’, said ‘I understand you are excited to buy. But We will not negotiate. You are not alone in the market for cars and we know, we WILL find a Buyer for our price’!  And the financing lady was equally ‘polite’ when she said ‘People tell me my friend got great APR on Acura. I tell them, why didn’t you buy with your friend?” Aaah, the joys of sarcasm. So much so for buying a brand that doesn’t need much selling!

Throughout the process, I was there, doing research on the various charges that were hurled at her. We were able to negotiate some of them. We worked out the financing numbers to see if she could afford her payments (after all, I do mortgage number crunching all the time!) Finally, she bought it and is a proud owner of her first ‘premium’ car. I am equally happy for my friend.

What did WE learn from her experience? How can we relate that in real-estate?

We all want a great deal- more house for the money. After seeing the ‘granites, stainless steels and sparkling hardwood floors’, the whites/blacks and formicas are less appealing! Premium homes are obviously, more impressive- but more expensive.

Good houses at market prices attract multiple bids within 2 days of listing. Result? Bidding wars and sometimes higher sales price than the listing. More so, houses come with approx. 3-3.5% closing costs. Sometimes, these become emotional decisions that can lure novices and veterans alike!

While I was not an experienced car sales(wo)man, I surely am an experienced Realtor. I know approximations of associated costs, current average mortgage rates, property market rates and most importantly, HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR BUDGET. For details, please get in touch. I know there are great houses on the market that fit every homebuyer’s criterias and budgets. You just need a VISION. And there’s no harm in taking some help from a professional.

Lesson: Most decisions involving spending a big chunk of your savings tend to become emotional ones. Be it a car, a house or anything else, make sure you confide in someone you feel trustworthy and can steer you back to your objective or budget. For a property, I definitely recommend using a Licensed Realtor. If you are a Buyer, you do not have to worry about paying commissions. If you are a Seller, that ‘commission’ will be a good spend for valuable insights, to get house sold in timely fashion and to avoid major blunders that might cost much more! Thankfully, Realtors do not have a quarter-end OR year end target to get that extra commission. Thankfully, we are bound by the Code of Ethics that prevents Realtors from cheap tactics (of course, there are black sheep in every profession).

Good Luck!

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