Brought To You By Emily Parks
Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
Helping You Make Every Minute Matter!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NC Auto Expo: Organize for Success in Buying a Car

As explained by ads running in the Triangle right now for this weekend's 2011 NC International Auto Expo, "people love their cars", and isn't Valentine's Day weekend a great time to fall in love with a new ride?!? If you're planning to head to the NC State Fairgrounds to find your next vehicle or just drool over the new Chevy Volt, Maserati Gran Truismo, Dodge Challenger and Aston Martin V8 Vantage, this is a great time to organize your car-buying process.

First and foremost, determine what type of vehicle you'll need and what equipment that vehicle will need to include by analyzing what you'll be doing with your vehicle... Do you need to haul furniture, gardening supplies, business equipment or some other large items in the bed of a pick-up truck or in the back of a SUV? Do you need a vehicle with really good fuel economy, like a coupe or compact sedan, or is towing a priority? Do you feel it's important to be able to check your Facebook newsfeed from your car or sync your MP3 player with your car's radio? Do you desire any bells and whistles, like heated seats, sunroof, navigation, rear entertainment system, parallel park assist or Bose speakers with your AM/FM/satellite radio? Does your extended travel make warranty coverage and roadside assistance important? Do you prefer leather or cloth, 4-wheel or 2-wheel drive and 4-, 6-, 8-cylinder or another option? The more you know with regards to what you like about your current vehicle, what you'd like to change about your current vehicle and what you'll be doing with your new vehicle, then the better prepared you'll be for the process of obtaining a new car, truck, van, SUV or crossover vehicle.

Speaking of this process, thinking about your buying and driving habits will help you determine if it is better for you to purchase or lease your next vehicle... How often do you want a new car? Do you prefer to change vehicles frequently or keep your car "until the wheels fall off"? How much do you drive? Does your annual driving fall within the 12,000 - 15,000 miles per year range allowed with leasing or do you tend to drive more each year? Do you use your car for business purposes, allowing more tax deductions with a lease? Do you worry about your car's resale value? Are you hard on your car and wear down the interior quickly, which might lead to penalties with leasing? Do you prefer to have equity in your investment as you pay off the vehicle's entire cost or to lower your payments by paying off just the depreciation on the car? Still, regardless of which automobile financing option you choose, a greater downpayment will lead to lower monthly payments so it's also a good idea to evaluate your downpayment options before heading out to shop for your new ride.

Then, you must tackle a really difficult task as you determine how much money you can spend... What payment will fit within your monthly budget's constraints? What sort of finance rate will your current credit situation allow you to obtain? There are tons of vehicles out right now that can fulfill both your automotive wants and needs while still fitting within your budgetary constraints, but it is important to be aware of that budget before starting the process of getting a new vehicle.

If you're replacing a vehicle, ensure you get the most money back from that previous investment... Gather together all documents for what maintenance work you've completed because that documentation will increase your vehicle's value. Then, check Black Book Online at to get a ballpark figure for the value of your vehicle, keeping in mind the final assigned value will depend on the dealership's assessment. Finally, thoroughly clean the inside and outside of your vehicle so it is in its best shape possible.

Now, it's time for the fun part... Shop online and in-store for the vehicle that you like best and that meets your needs best. Just remember that, although there's a great deal of information on the Internet, nothing can really give you a feel for which vehicle you should buy like sitting in the driver's seat. For more details on the Wake County New Vehicle Dealers Association's auto expo, visit, and I'll see you at the Jim Graham Building this weekend.

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