Sunday, October 7, 2012

Am I getting a good deal?

One of the age old questions that many people ask when they are buying or leasing a new car. "Am I getting a good deal?"
How do we know? We can go online and get analysis - paralysis with all the information. We can bully the salesman and his manager. We can spend a month going to or emailing every dealership within a 50 mile radius for a 100.00 discount. All of these options with the possibility of negative and or stressful effects on us. And what is your time worth?
A "good deal" is so relative. I am not saying that you should not do your homework, check on pricing, options and the going rate. What I am saying is that there is a value to feeling good about buying a car, being treated well and knowing that you can trust the person your working with. We all get stressed about spending money and making sure that we get a good value.
You can go to websites like:
I am not a huge fan of Kelley blue book. Sometimes inflated and not always accurate. Just my opinion.
If you feel that your not trusting the person/dealership your working with, then do NOT validate the behavior  by leasing or purchasing a car from them. Getting a new car is an experience and one that we should enjoy and get excited about.
Sometimes the consumer will play "the game" with the dealer. This tells them that it is okay to treat you in a certain way.  You may go to a dealer an their price is $5.00 more per month or $200.00 more on the overall  price of the car, but they treat you exceptionally well. Is the service and the experience worth it? Of coarse it is. I guess it depends on if you value yourself and your money!
 The other option of going to the dealer that was a few bucks less, but did value you or your money, treated you crappy and insulted your intelligence.If they are acting like that now, imagine when you need service.
I tell people all the time that I do not play "the Game". If you want to go to every dealer in town and beat them up over price, go ahead. I do not see the value.  I look at the car business and see how we have validated dishonest, negative and greedy behavior for years. 
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY! We have the ability to change this.
         But it has to start with the consumer. What is your part and what are you willing to do?   So At the end of the day, your GOOD deal is not just about every penny you saved, but how good did it feel to walk out of the dealership with those keys in your hand? Did you say to yourself "I got a good deal"?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

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!!!


Monday, June 25, 2012

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!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

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:


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

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!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

First New /Used Car

Every parent comes to that moment when they realize that their child needs their FIRST  car. It is so bittersweet, because the child getting a car is so helpful to the parent, but the insurance and the credit , cash layout and the money needed to maintain can be overwhelming. There is also the question of how to teach the student to be a responsible driver and hold them accountable for a percentage of taking care of the car. How do parents navigate through this? The truthful answer, the best that they can.
 I will share some of what I have learned and hopefully it will be helpful.
The first topic I want to address is credit for a teenager/college student. I have found that if you come out of high school or college with no score on your credit, your will be punished. What I mean buy that is no bank will loan you money to buy a car on your own. There are some manufacturers that do have "college grad" programs which will allow you to lease or buy a car on your own as long as you have some sort of credit, no negative trade lines and a college grad working in your field . Some are Toyota, Kia, Hyundai and Nissan.

 The other option I have helped with other than paying cash for a vehicle is leasing a inexpensive car and making the payments with that cash you were going to spend on a car. This is not a bad option. But it is not for everybody. It does allow for very low maintenance costs due to the car being under new car warranty. You just need to be honest with yourself about mileage that the student will be driving. As you know with a lease there are mileage restrictions. Also there is a turn fee that could be between $300.00 and $400.00. Although sometimes those can be waived depending on the choices you make at the end of the lease.  The last thing to think about is holding the student accountable when it comes to the care, there can be charges at the end of the lease due to wear and tear. But this can make financial sense for some people.

 I know of some parents that added their children as authorized users on their credit cards at age 16. This way the student had 700 or higher credit scores when they reached graduation. This is providing that the parent maintains their own credit. This is just information shared with me and I think it is important. When it comes to financing, it is all about the FICO score.

I have mixed feelings about the co- signing thing. It so depends on the child/adult! I think if you prepare and teach your child, it will not be necessary. If they have made some mistakes on their credit, then I think they need to repair it. That can be the biggest consequence.
When it comes down to buying the first car with cash, there are some good buys. You must give your self some realistic expectations. Buying "cheap" cars are always a gamble.
It s the endless battle of trying to find the $5000.00 that has no issues. It is not an easy task. Here are somethings I tell my clients:
1) Check out Craigs List. Sometimes you will find good buys from local people. Local newspapers are also a good place to look
2) Let people in your social media network know that your looking. You can reach many people with one ask.
3) Any vehicle you find, get it inspected. It will be the best $20.00 to $60.00 you ever spend. If someone won't let you get it inspected, WALK away!Cars can look really pretty on the out side and have a ton of issues under the hood.
4) Just know that any car in this price point will need some care. So allow yourself a little buffer.
5) Let the student help and ask for them to put in some cash and agree to help do oil changes etc. Nothing unrealistic to their money saved or income.
 6) Give yourself some time to find a car. It does take time to find a good one.
 7) As long as the child is still a dependent, keep the car in the parents name. Saves money on insurance.
8) When you find a car, look online at the year make and model to see what the repair problems could be. There are certain cars that I would not put my child in if they had high mileage or older. please consult a mechanic. I cannot stress that enough when your purchasing a "cheap" car!

We all have different perceptions of what we thing is best for our finances, children, car purchases. There is a lot of information out there that can be confusing. Put it on paper. Weigh out all your options. It will save you TIME and MONEY!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Driving my DREAM!

                                                          Driving my DREAM!

As a woman in the car business, I see things differently than most. It is a occupation dominated by men. I love the challenge and enjoy bringing a different set of views to my customers. Growing up my dream was not to be working in the automotive industry and yet here I am.  The dream that I thought was supposed to be something different is being realized. When I started helping people over 17 years ago find car solutions to their car problems, I never imagined that life as the "Carlady" could be so fulfilling. Make no mistake that my customers help me as much as they think I help them.

Over the years I have been acquiring information and learning from others that have walked before me about all aspects of the car buying, selling, leasing, wholesaling and financing. There is so much information out there to be sorted through. That is just one of the ways that I try to help others. I try to learn from my own mistakes and the mistakes of others. The passion that drives me motivates me to help my clients "drive their dream".

Building a dream career is not always what we picture it to be. I am so grateful that mine was not what I pictured. I love what I do.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Top 10 Ways to Shop for a Car Like a Pro

Have you ever been negotiating at the car dealer and felt like your not sure what your next move should be? Here are a few tips that can help everybody get a fair deal!
  1.  Always buy or lease on the price of the car, NOT the payment. The agreed price of the vehicle is how you know your getting a good value.  Do NOT rely on the dealer to educate you. Do your homework.
  2. Do NOT depend on the dealer to inform you about your credit. Know your FICO and reporting history before you go in. One out of every four credit bureaus has something reported incorrectly.
  3. Know about GAP insurance. Most leases include it and you don’t need it if you’re putting a large amount money down on a purchase.  You can usually get it for less through your agent instead of the dealer. It is important if you have negative equity.
  4. Weigh out the pros and cons of a warranty. Warranties are expensive. I recommend checking out the cost of the warranty vs. the repair reviews on the used car your looking to purchase.
  5. ALWAYS take a used car to be inspected by your mechanic. It will be well worth your time and money. It could save you considerably. Even if it is “certified.”
  6. As you go into the finance office to sign papers, remember you are  buying or leasing a vehicle. NOT INSURANCE. It’s a vehicle loan and could put you in a negative equity situation when you add all that extra stuff into your financing.
  7. If you have a lease that is up, check to see if you have equity. The residual on your car could be under market value. You can use that money to put towards another car.
  8. While negotiating your lease, be honest with yourself about the miles per year you drive. Miles cost less upfront usually. The difference in payment is minimal over the term.
  9. When trading in a car, have an idea of value. While nobody pays for emotional attachment you want to get a fair number. is a great tool.  You can also go to other dealers and ask what they would pay for it. You don’t have to buy a car from them.
  10. FOLLOW your GUT! It is your best meter. If something does not feel right, walk away. It’s your money and I promise you that there is another car out there that will fit your needs!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Is there Gap insurance covererage included in my lease agreement?

Most manufacturer leases include Gap insurance. I know that Toyota does NOT include it in their lease as of today. Read the contract though and make sure. It is important! You can usually get Gap through your local insurance company  for less than what the dealer will charge you. Make sure to compare.

Monday, January 16, 2012

How to Decide Mileage Limits for my Auto Lease | Carlady Tip

Tip #2 If your looking to lease a car, be honest with yourself about how many miles a year you drive. The difference between 12000 and 15000 miles per year is about $10.00 per month in the car payment. If you talk yourself into lower miles because of the lower payment, it could cost you a lot more at the end of your lease when you need to turn the car in and pay .20 cents per mile.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Katie the Carlady's location 
This website can tell you a little about me and where I work! I love the people I work with and I really like the location. Check it out to continue to learn more.

Tip # 1

Fasten your seat belt, Katie the Carlady has a new blog!
Tip # 1 If a deal seems to good to be true, it probably is.