It’s almost that time of year again. In just a couple of months, used cars in Maryland will be sitting under mounds of snow. While the thought of trudging through this winter wonderland is depressing to most people, it has a huge upside for consumers looking to buy a car. Why? For three simple reasons. Since seasons impact car sales, the price of certain models will fluctuate over the year. Also, dealerships tend to be more flexible in the winter months when it comes to prices. Therefore, negotiating is much easier. Finally, there are no crowds. Unlike spring and summer when people are swarming the car dealerships to buy their new toys, a car dealership in winter is practically desolate.
The number one cost that car owners have to deal with isn’t gas, repairs, maintenance, or insurance. It’s actually depreciation, which slowly and painfully eats away at the value of a vehicle, until eventually it’s worth nothing on paper. This loss in value hits hardest in the first year of new car ownership, where it will lose close to 20% of its value.
You know what a good way to avoid the brunt of this is? Buying a used car. You know how to save even more money on a used car? Buying one in the winter. Since car buying slows down in the winter, car dealerships like to lower their prices on some vehicles. Convertibles, sports cars, muscle cars — anything like that. While it might not be advisable to drive a convertible in the winter, it’s a good way to get a car for a good price and stable it until the warmer months come around.
Even if you need a vehicle immediately, buying a used winter warrior will be much easier thanks to more flexible negotiations.
More Flexible Negotiations
While dealerships already expect to negotiate, winter time is a breeding ground for savings. Simply, because your foot traffic is valuable.
Remember, barren wasteland? If you show up to a car dealership in the winter, you should expect to be greeted with hot cocoa and a back massage. Not really, but that’s the type of care it will feel like you’re getting.
Negotiating tactics remain the same: start at the dealer cost of the vehicle, then work up from there. Since the winter months are slower though, you’d be surprised how much better negotiating works at this time. Don’t be surprised if the dealership hands you the keys after a few bouts of effortless negotiation.
They want to move a car during slow sales, and you want to buy one. It’s as simple as that.
Not as Much Competition
Wake up on a Sunday, grab a cup of coffee, and Google the name of your local Maryland dealership. If you find a car you like featured in their online inventory, no need to rush out or make a hasty decision. Statistically, it has less of a chance of being bought in the winter. Because as you now know, not as many people shop for cars during the winter months.
Therefore, you have time to browse a few other dealerships close by as well. Heck, if you find the same model at a few other dealerships, conduct a puppet show by sending out the price you want to pay for it to those dealerships and explain the other guy is offering you a better deal. Then sit back, laugh maniacally, and watch how quickly the savings rack up because of how badly dealerships want to move their products.
If you can wait until the winter, do so. The amount of money you save on a used car might surprise you. Not to mention, the process will be much quicker since there aren’t as many people around.