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5 steps for buying a car online during COVID-19

One side-effect of the strict coronavirus restrictions is people buying more products online. We often don’t have any another option, and who knows when things will get back to normal?

Many people are even buying cars online direct from dealers. Carsales.com.au has also introduced a ‘buy from home’ facility on their website. Here’s how to do it:


Step 1 – Get Your Finance Pre-Approved

Don't use dealer-arranged finance or try to arrange it yourself. If you do, you’ll end up paying a lot more.

We recommend using a finance broker (like us) rather than your bank or car dealer. Brokers usually have access to a lot more lenders and do finance for a living.

As a finance broker, we can make sure you get a great deal from our panel of over 50 lenders. Your best bet is to get your finance pre-approved so you know what your costs and limits are before you go car shopping. Feel free to call us on 1300 301 051 to get your pre-approval.


Step 2 – Search cars online and make an enquiry

Look for new and used dealer vehicles with a green ‘Buy from home’ badge on the carsales.com.au website. Find the car/s you’re interested in test driving and send an online enquiry for each one. Your dealer/s will get back to you to set up a suitable time for a home visit to test drive your car/s.


Step 3 – Home visit/s from your dealer/s

Your dealer/s will bring the car/s to your home at the prearranged time/s. The car/s will be fully sanitised for COVID-19. You can then test drive the car/s to help you make your buying decision.

You can also use the home visit time to negotiate your deal. For example, bargaining on:
• the car’s price. Dealers will be keen to negotiate to boost their sales at the moment.
• any extras that the dealer is prepared to include.
• a trade-in valuation if you want to trade in your existing car.

Negotiation is crucial to getting a good deal when buying a car. You can find our top 10 negotiating tips here.

If you need to arrange finance, it’s best not to do this through a dealer. Avoid the car dealership completely so you don’t get harassed by the finance and after market sales team.


Step 4 – Choose the car you want to buy and arrange finance

Once you’ve arranged the best deal, it’s time to buy your car. Given your finance is pre-approved, all you need to do is get the dealer to send you the tax invoice and provide it to your broker.

Simply call 1300 301 051 during business hours to speak with one of our experienced brokers. We can get the deal done for you without having to meet face to face.


Step 5 – Arrange the home delivery of your new car

Once your finance is approved and paid to the dealer, you can arrange the delivery of your new car to your home. Make sure you do a final inspection of the vehicle when the dealer delivers it to your door.
Once you’re satisfied, they’ll finalise any paperwork necessary to transfer ownership.
They should also pick-up your trade-in vehicle at the same time if that’s part of the deal.


The bottom line


You can reduce your risk of buying a car online by following these 5 simple steps. The convenience of buying a car online might even become the ‘new normal’.

You should also follow a common-sense approach in any other car-buying situations. Whether you’re visiting a car yard, a private seller or an auction, many of the same principles apply.

You should always:
• get your finance pre-approved BEFORE you shop
• do your research,
• go for a test drive and be prepared to negotiate on price and extras,
• arrange your finance through a broker like us, and
• thoroughly inspect the vehicle before finalising all the paperwork to take ownership.

Feel free to call our friendly team on 1300 301 051 if you have any finance-related questions.

DISCLAIMER : The thoughts and opinions conveyed on this website are those of the authors only and are of a general nature. This does not constitute financial or general advice to you from Auto Loans Group. You should seek your own independent advice from a professional which is specific to your circumstances before considering any of the items referred to in this article, including finance, insurance, and car buying.