Brokering the Best Car Deal

Buying a car
Posted at 7:00 AM, Aug 18, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 11:58:23-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Buying a new or used car can be stressful, but you don't have to go it alone.  Just like a personal shopper or a real estate agent, a car broker or a consultant can save you hassle and haggling, and maybe even money.

Matt Maddox needed a new vehicle for his growing family, but the car buying process was weighing him down.

"We'd been back and forth between a couple of different places in the last couple of months with vacation and moving, and the idea of getting out to a bunch of car lots and find a car and work out all those things just became too much," said Maddox.

That's when he called in a pro.

Dean McBride has been finding vehicles for people for 14 years. A dealer by definition, he acts like a broker, helping folks figure out the kind of car they want for a price they can afford.

Then he finds the vehicle, negotiates the deal and even delivers it to their door.

"We keep people from getting into trouble that they shouldn't buy a car for more than it's worth; they shouldn't lose value on their trade; and all of those things that go along with the frustration of buying a car," said McBride.

Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, adds: "Some people just aren't hagglers and don't enjoy the car buying process, but you can hire a professional to help in that endeavor, and some people find that it can save them a lot of money."

McBride builds his fee – about $350 for a new vehicle – into the total price of the car. There's no charge if he doesn't make a deal.

A consultant, on the other hand, may offer a range of services and charge you a fee up front.

"I felt like I was getting a very competitive price and it took just hours of complexity out of it, and to me that was worth the, maybe, little bit of money that I could have saved," said Maddox.

Many states require brokers to be licensed as dealers, so check those credentials, ask for client references. Be sure you understand how you will be charged and how they work.

Don't work with someone on a percentage basis. Your broker should get a flat rate regardless if it's up front or once the deal is done.

Remember you can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.