And I am back. I tell you what, balancing everything is getting difficult. Luckily I was in for the night last night and I was able to hack this whole thing out but for convenience sake (and your sanity’s) I will keep this post pretty short.
Spoilers: I bought a car on Monday. I am even going to make it worse by showing it to you from the get-go.
I named her Helena. She is a 2011 Chevy HHR. It took me about 4 hours to single her out and purchase her at Carmax. Why Carmax? Because I don’t care for salespeople. I know, right? Me being a realtor, you think I would LOVE salespeople. I have been to a car dealership once before in my life. I remember the day so well. It was about 4 years ago and I was checking out Honda Elements. The salesman was pressuring me to buy THAT DAY despite the fact that I really was in no position to buy. It was an exhausting day. I wanted to start out with a little more of a low pressure situation and test drive a few, which was the advice of my friend Holly. “Don’t commit right off the bat.” I really did have that mindset on Sunday. But, truth be told, by Monday when I had just finished a showing, I was driving home in my Honda and the air conditioning went out again for the thousandth time. “Crap, I am going to have to buy a car today,” I muttered to myself. I really couldn’t take it anymore.
Monday morning, I went to my credit union and opened up a savings account for $5. Simple enough. My lender was exceptional and she had me set up in mere minutes. I was pretty much good for whatever I wanted to buy. She was able to get me in at a great rate of 1.99% for 60 months, since my credit was so good. That’s a HUGE thing. Credit is key to keep payments low. When she asked me my comfort zone for monthly payment, I told her I wanted it to be below my mortgage payment. She laughed when I told her what it was: $234. She told me I would really be pushing it if I found a car at $12,000. Armed with knowing what I could afford, I picked Tim up and we headed to South Boulevard to go car shoppin’.
The sales floor was indeed slammed that day, so we had plenty of time to saunter around the lot and check out prices and models. My criteria were as follows:
- No sedans
- Under $14000 retail
- Trunk space!
- Under 60,000 miles (to ensure the 1.99% rate)
- Automatic transmission ( I cannot drive a stick. To be honest, I don’t have the desire to. I have tried a few times but I figure there’s enough stress in my life already without having to worry about having to get off a hill. Last time I tried that, I was stuck for 30 minutes. True story)
Pretty simple, right? It really was! Knowing what I had to have kicked off a ton of potential cars pretty fast. Just a quick photo run through of some of my favorites.
Mind blowing, right? Each and every one of them were eventually knocked off my list because they didn’t match what I was looking for. I actually went straight for the mini cruisers, which were dubbed to be total crap by Tim. I was even ecstatic about the KIA Soul, but that was a manual. “I could learn!” I wailed, after being deterred from shear lack of knowledge about manual transmission. But I finally got cozy with the Chevy HHR after our sales rep Jace joined us. He opened the car for me, I sat down, breathed in the still there new car scent, checked out the spacious backseats and trunk, and I was in love.
Then came the fun part. We all piled inside and Jace worked up the paperwork while I hunted down an insurance quote. Since everything was being done on the fly, I really didn’t have the usual prep time to see what each choice would have cost me insurance wise. Good rule of thumb if you have some time: get insurance to run a quote or two for you to see how much your payment will be BEFORE you go down to the lot. If it’s more than you can handle, find the car at a lower price or move on. After the 20 minute phone call with my insurance company was complete and I was certain I could handle the payment, I made an presumably “shorter” call to my mom. I spent just as much time, if not, more convincing her this was the car of my dreams. And that I HAD to buy it tonight or someone else would. Since Carmax has set prices and their sales people aren’t based off of haggling, they have no reason to hold the car for you unless you buy it that night. Cool plus though: Carmax will finance you that night and you have three full business days to seek out other financing and switch over for FREE.
We got the paperwork signed, purchasing the car for just under $$15,000 with the added warranty. I don’t know how Chevy’s run so I am glad I tagged on the mere extra $20 a month for my peace of mind. By the time all was said and done, though, my brain was mush. For the first time in over four years, I remembered how exhausting it can be to go through closing of a house from the buyer’s end. I just kept on signing and signing until my hand was tired. But the car was “mine.” I got to drive my new baby home Monday night, and I have never been so happy to have air conditioning or actual radio. So far, the investment has been worth every penny.
Next post I will talk about selling my old car and getting insurance. And I have one heck of a story about getting used to driving a new car without insurance, the cops, and a little thing called a field sobriety test. Obviously everything went smoothly, otherwise I would be typing this from a jail cell and not my comfy couch…or am I? Stay tuned.