This post is sponsored by A Girls Guide to Cars and AutoGravity. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
You know what the best part of buying a new car is? Driving home in that bad boy. It has that new car smell and you’re surrounding in more luxury than you thought you were going to be able to pull off. But you did it. The deal is done. You’re probably famished and mentally exhausted but excited that the process is over.
You know what the worst part of buying a new car is? Pretty much everything that comes before that moment.
There’s the shopping part: Figuring out which car has exactly what you want at a price you can afford. Then finding that car at a dealership that will honor that price. Then comes the negotiation and finally, when you’re all worn down, in comes the Finance Manager.
On a scale of 1 to Happy, I start the car buying process at Happy and typically end with a -5 and a let me just sign whatever I need to sign and get out of here attitude.
If you’ve been car shopping and car buying, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I won’t bore you with the details of my last car buying transaction but I made the deal very quickly. It was the financing that seemed to drag on for hours. It was like a bad episode of 24 only Kiefer Sutherland wasn’t coming in to save the day.
Next time you’re thinking of car shopping, I have a shortcut for you and it involves your phone (don’t worry – you don’t actually have to talk to anybody on the phone).
AutoGravity is an app and website that simplifies the financing piece of the equation for you. Let me walk you through my next imaginary car purchase and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
Step 1 – Pick Out Your Car
This is a whole separate topic but I rarely recommend picking out the car you want to buy and buying it in the same day. There’s a lot of research to be done before you ever even set foot int he dealership. Your goal is to know more that the salesman. You should know every option, every color, every trim. You should know the gas mileage, the invoice price, the MSRP. Oh, I could go on and on (and in fact, I will. I have a future post planned for this).
But for the sake of this quick demo, let’s say I’ve already decided on what I want to buy.
The Kia Stinger GT2 AWD in Ceramic Silver with Red Nappa Leather. Wondering how I can be so specific? It’s because I’ve already driven that exact car and fallen in love with it.
So let’s pretend that it was time to embrace my inner speed demon and purchase said Stinger.
I know the make, model, trim, exterior color, and interior color. But I should also know which, if any of these, I’m willing to be flexible on.
Step 2 – Download the AutoGravity app
It’s a free app available for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. AutoGravity is also available as a web application, accessible via mobile device, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. I went ahead and put it on my iPhone.
Step 3 – Tell AutoGravity which car you fully intend to OWN
That’s right. You are here to own the car and the car buying process. So go ahead and pick out your exact car. I started with one of the featured brands, Kia.
Kia suggests one of their top models, the Kia Soul, which is certainly worth looking at. But I only have eyes for the Stinger. So I scroll down to select my model.
Once I select the model, all available options within 30 miles are displayed and the price is looking pretty good for the car I want. Except… these aren’t the cars I want. While the Base Model is a fine car, if I’m going for the Stinger, I’m going for the top of the line GT2 (the one that goes 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds). So I select the Filter option at the top and narrow it down.
With the filter option, I can narrow my selections by trim, color, price, engine type, drivetrain. transmission, and even the specific dealership. In my case, I found that selecting the color I wanted limited my options too much so I simply selected the desired trim.
You’ll also notice that the colors are pretty basic so you won’t find “Ceramic Silver” but you will find silver. You’ll figure it out even without the fancy marketing terms.
Step 4 – Pick the specific car you want at the dealership you want
I love that the app tells you both MSRP and the list price for the car in question. When you select a specific car, it will tell you more of the details like the interior color, VIN, dealer location, and general overview of the car.
Step 5 – Apply for financing
At this point, I’ve been on the app literally less then 5 minutes. On this screen, AutoGravity assumes that you’ll be putting 20% cash down but there are all kinds of other options like leasing, term or length of loan, trade-in value, and estimated monthly payment that you can change to suit your personal situation.
My personal recommendations – never finance for more than 60 months and always try to sell your trade-in vehicle on your own (the dealership love to play the trade-in game and it’s NOT fun).
As I was looking at this, I realized there was a huge piece missing. THE INTEREST RATE!
If you see the link to “Financial Disclosures” on these screenshots, that’s where you’ll find some of these terms. You’ll be happy to know that the loan payment assumes a 2.5% APR for the estimated monthly payments and what happens next can change all that.
Step 6 – Wait for your financing offers
After this screen, you’ll be filling in information to actually apply for car loan financing. I couldn’t take me dream that far so I stopped. But you’ll receive feedback from up to four lenders. You might be rejected (but at least it’s in the comfort of your own home and not in front of someone at the dealership). It could be a loan with less desirable terms (depending on your credit) or it could be a loan that’s even better. They even factor in dealer financing when returning offers for you to view.
Step 7 – Go get your car!
If everything works out, your next step is to head to the dealership where your negotiating and financing has already been taken care of. Now wasn’t that easy?