Author: Katie Smith

waiting in a dealership
Car Buying
I am tired of sitting in this dealership!

I get to talk to a lot of people who share their car buying stories with me. Sometimes by the time a person gets to me they are just tired of getting the run around. Someone recently asked me, “why does it take the salesperson so long to get pricing and communicate with his manager?” That seems to be the age old question. My immediate answer is that there is a lack of respect for a persons time. They also know that if you walk out of the dealership there is a very small chance that you will come back and buy the car. Especially if they know that they have decent “gross” in the deal! I do not know the exact percentages, but the numbers are not in their favor.

I also want to clarify that not all dealers are like this! There are many great dealers out there. But unfortunately this is the story that I hear more often!

A salesperson in a dealer may not know all the numbers behind the scene, so they have to go into their manger to work the deal to try to get to where the customer needs to be. This can take multiple tries depending on where they start in the quote. Here  is what gets me. How does a dealership expect a mom or a dad to sit in a dealership for 5 hours with children waiting for a car? Just not realistic. But if it wears you down enough, your done! Sold! Because you cannot even imagine starting over again. So you buy the car/take the deal! Then its off to finance office. Here we go again….
Let start the negotiating all over again, because they are going to try and sell me stuff that I may or may not need and raise my payment.
I know a dealer that will “go off” on his sales people if people walk out the door with out buying a car! Buying a car is a huge decision for people. Especially if you are a first time buyer, maybe have some credit issues or just have a very specific budget. Everybody has expectations of what they want to see happen. That includes the dealer.
I tell people to follow your gut. If something does not feel right or your exhausted, then leave and go home. I believe in taking 24 hours to think it over unless you are totally for sure and everything fits together perfectly. Emotion can sometimes make bad financial decisions.
Here are a few pointers to help.

1) Allow yourself a certain amount of time that you know is acceptable to be in the dealership. If they do not respect your time, then why do you want to give them your business?

2) If you have small children, try to get a babysitter. Being a mom of 3 girls, I do not think I could have handled sitting in a dealership with all of them. I would have been so tired and emotionally cooked!

3) Stick to your budget. Do not let someone else set it for you. You may have to switch the car your looking at.

4) Gap insurance is usually less expensive through your insurance company if you feel you need to have it.

5) You do not need to buy extended warranty’s on new cars. Don’t double pay to warranty, you can buy one when it gets close to the manufacturer warranty expiring.

6) Do NOT shop by PAYMENT ! Shop by the price of the car. That is how you know your not leaving money on the table!!!

7) If you have credit challenges and the finance manager is quoting a very high rate, see if you can find a local company to get your credit cleaned up and then you can go back and save yourself a ton of money in interest!!

The last thing that I want to say is that :

If you are being treated poorly by a dealer or not happy with the service, DO NOT validate their behavior by giving them your money. Its your money and you as a consumer have choices! Find some one you like!!!

Car Buying
How reliable is CARFAX?

When I sell a used car to a customer, one of the most common questions is…”Does it have a clean Carfax?” or “Do you have the Carfax?”
Carfax is an important tool that can give a buyer or seller some good information ,but it is not always accurate. Carfax is only as good as who or what is reporting to it.
As a used car dealership, it is a great tool when we buy a car wholesale or take in a trade to see the possible number of owners, service history, accidents or open recalls. It can affect the value of a trade. Some dealers don’t even want to have cars on their lots anymore if there is a “BAD” Carfax! Meaning that an accident has been reported.

Here is what I find to be ironic about this whole process. In the past couple of years I have found that Carfax does not know all!!! I knew a customer that wanted to trade in a car to me. It was a high end car that looked to be in pretty good shape. This customer disclosed to me that it had been in an accident that had caused about $12000.00 in damage. I would have never known that because it had a clean Carfax. Meaning the accident was not reported. I was wholesaling the car and I mentioned to the dealer that the customer disclosed the accident. The dealer said “I don’t care as long as it has a clean Carfax!” This has happened on a number of occasions. How reliable is Carfax?

Perspective is so key. Here is another side to Carfax that is frustrating. A car may be in one of those accidents where there is NO damage. Everyone walks away and nothing happens to the car. This will get reported to Carfax. Those cars now have a BAD Carfax and are worth less on trade or selling because of that. Sometimes they will report to Carfax that there was “very minor damage”. This is helpful because it will not scare people as much when they go to purchase or a dealer takes it in on trade.

We all want to be protected from the bad car deal, buying a lemon or getting scammed. I think that when we run on fear, we end up over thinking and letting our fear make financial decisions. Slow down and use this information as a tool. Carfax is a tool that can help you, but at the end of the day if your buying any used car, have it inspected by your mechanic and a body shop. It will take more time and maybe a few bucks, but will be so worth it over the long term!

Kia soul
Cars, Technology and Neotropolis Western Reserve PBS

Technology and cars has come so far. When I think about when I first got into the car business almost 19 years ago, the options were much simpler. The major “cool” options were only for the people willing to pay the big bucks. Although there is still some truth to this, technology has allowed cool options to be available on all levels of vehicles. When Luke Frazier from Neotropolis Western Reserve PBS spoke with me about doing a piece on technology in cars and how it affects us, I jumped at it. Luke has been doing this show for a little while now and really gets to see a different side to technology. I think some of us have a love/hate relationship with technology. From Kia to BMW to Chevy, they all offer great features! The nice connection is that you can get Bluetooth, backup camera, USB connections, heated steering wheel, hot and cold seats and navigation on all of them. I just leased a Kia soul recently and was able to get the UVO (Microsoft) upgraded audio system  the streaming audio and all the goodies.It even can read my text messages! Ford has a similar option called SYNC . I stayed under budget and Love the cool technology. On the other side of that, I felt frustrated with the voice commands and the delay that comes from a computer reading my I pod. But the biggest frustration is the voice commands. The lady just does not understand what I need sometimes!!!! One of the other frustrations is generation gaps and understanding how the technology works. This can be very frustrating for the older generation that cannot understand how to make a phone call through Bluetooth and gets overwhelmed.
That all being said, one of the things that Luke brought up when we were driving around in the 2012 Kia Optima SX with the camera man, is safety. This is huge! Technology in cars is allowing us to be safer while answering the phone if we need to. I do believe that every car should come off the assembly line with Bluetooth. That is just my opinion.I think it is important as making sure that the car has turn signals. Most of the word talks on cell phones, even when we drive. It takes us away from paying attention to what is going on in front of us.Haven’t we all received the email that showed a picture of a crash where someone was texting?
Hyundai has the coolest new thing called Bluelink. It is like Onstar and is available on almost all Hyundai  models. You do not need Navigation with that. It downloads route to your car! Safety is important to all of us. Whether we are putting our teenager, parent or spouse in a car we want them to be safe.

At the end of the day, we love to have the cool new technology. Whether it is in you car or your business or your home. Luke Frazier talks about that all the time on Neotropolis Western Reserve PBS. Check out the website and check out Katie the Carlady with Luke on May 22, 2012  on PBS Western Reserve.
If you want more info about Katie the Carlady and Diamond Auto Lease & Sales:

car dealers in ohio
Networking, Non profits and Katie the Carlady

I think in all of of us is the feeling of “wanting to help”. Whether it is sending a donation to a local charity, supporting a friend in a walk, silent auction, raffle ticket sales or sponsorship. Most people want to participate in what is good! That to me is the beauty of getting involved in non profits and fundraising while meeting new people and networking. I am involved in two non profits, Taste of Hudson in the city I live in. Also Recovery resources of Cleveland. I am passionate about both, but for different reasons.
Taste of Hudson is a non profit I got involved with 2.5 years ago with the intention of just trying to network and start the Luxury Auto Show. What I realized once I stepped in and got involved was all the GOOD that this organization does. All the money that stays in the community to help Summit County and so many local children and groups. I have met so many great people who do to tons of work to make this event happen. That right there is a great bonus. It also taps into the networking aspect. When you go into these events with an unselfish agenda, the rewards will come. They may not be in the time that you want them, but they will come.

Taste of Hudson is held on Labor day week end. This year it is September 2-3 2012. It is their 8th year. When the 35000 people come strolling through Hudson to eat from the amazing restaurants, buy beautiful art, play with their children on the little tikes toys, visit the local vendors, listen to talented musicians and spend time with family and friends it makes a connection to enjoying life and helping others to enjoy life too.
I have learned that there are some things I am good at, and some things I need to leave to others in the group to do. I can use those qualities that I am good at to help the non profit, I am involved in. The business connections we make through the non profit can help us personally and the connections we already have can benefit your chosen nonprofit! Its a beautiful thing.
The volunteers that show up to make this event happen are outstanding. Again, from all over Hudson/Summit county get to network with others through giving of their time. Its the whole “givers gain” that BNI networking groups talk about. The more you give, the more you get! In business we need to remember that the paycheck we get can come different forms. Although we need it in $$$$ to help live and support our families, paychecks materialize in our lives through people and fulfillment. This is a direct result of helping others without an agenda.

Get involved in a non profit in your local area. You will be amazed how the rewards with materialize in your life! Also Check out the site to help Taste of Hudson.

taste of hudson
Katie the Carlady & Taste of Hudson

Taste of Hudson is a local non profit in the city I live in Hudson, Ohio. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to get involved in a very cool way! Katie the Carlady and Diamond Auto Lease & Sales got involved by starting a Luxury Auto Show. This allows some local dealers to exhibit some of the options in the luxury car marketplace. Its a great way to check out cars like Lexus, BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Infiniti, Land Rover and Jaguar without feeling the pressure of a dealer showroom and support the locals!. Diamond Auto Lease & Sales and Katie the Carlady are also present to talk to and educate the 35,000 consumers on what is happening in the car marketplace. This year the 8th annual Taste of Hudson with be September 2-3, 2012. This will be the third year for the Luxury Auto Show. We have some great plans and ideas. There is so much more to experience along with the Auto Show at Taste of Hudson. The vendors, entertainment and beer and wine tent are all AMAZING. Come Join us. If your interested in being a vendor, please let us know!

about us

Shopping for a car can be one of the most frustrating, time-consuming and tasking experiences. I have over 23 years of experience in the field, creating easy and stress-free car buying experiences! (I promise!) I take the time to help my clients learn about what they are getting, empowering you to find your perfect vehicle. I am backed by an awesome team, and we all work incredibly hard to get every single customer the very best deal while minimizing the amount of time that they need to search.

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    Diamond Auto Lease & Sales 4901 Galaxy Parkway Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44128

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