When to buy?

My sister is planning to buy a car using the proceeds of a home refinance. The loan hasn’t funded yet, so she missed the Memorial Day sales. She is tending toward a Nissan Sentra hatchback, though the Kia Soul has advantages and the Ford Fiesta is coming out.

She is in the Phoenix area so has an array of dealers to work with. She revisited a dealer last weekend (first of the month) and the price on the model she wants had risen $1,000 since memorial day. The manager told her there was no point to wait for July 4th, because “it’s not a big shopping day, people are too busy”.

I have advised her on the purchase, and I wonder if she should expect the best deals at the end of the month, or if waiting another week for July 4th would be the best strategy.

Using home equity to buy a car is not a very wise financial move.

As a former car salesperson I think the last few days of any month are probably best. The salespeople always want a few more sales to boost their commission checks.

One or two days before Christmas you could probably get them to take almost any offer, but I’m sure she doesn’t want to wait that long.

Negotiating a better price, however, is more about the skill of the buyer than the time of month.

All those “holiday sales” are nothing but advertising. The same price can be had any day of any week, assuming you know what you’re doing.

Advise sis to check out Consumer Reports Magazine’s annual auto issue from earlier this year. It contains good advice about dealing with car salespeople. Being prepared is the most important thing.

  1. She needs to decide exactly what make, model and options she wants.
  2. She should call all of the dealers in her area and ask for the sales manager’s email address
  3. She should send them an email describing the exact car she wants, that she is prepared to buy it within ten days and their best “out-of-the-door” price
  4. Select the best bid.


Wait until she can see and test drive the Ford Fiesta.

Best time to buy is NOT NOW…sorry but spring and early summer are the WORSE times to buy a car. Something like 60% of all car sales happen in May/June/July.

The BEST time to buy is right when the new models are coming out…and buy the previous model year. Dealers are more willing to deal on the older cars then the new ones coming into the lot.

The Nissan Sentra is a EXCELLENT vehicle…very very reliable…If she buys it and maintains it properly it could easily reach 300k miles with minimal maintenance.