No matter what happens in the finance office, or at anytime during the car buying process, remember this: You can always walk.
If for any reason you don't like the deal, or the deal changed for the worse between the time you left the sales person and entered the finance office, you can walk.
Even if you signed a piece of paper for the salesman, committing to buying a car, you can walk. Only when you've signed the final contact in the finance office, are you obligated to take possession of the car.
There are always good reasons to walk away from a deal, and you should always have that option. But there are two things to be conscious of if you do decide to walk away:
- The deal may or may not get better by walking away. Yes, it's possible to get a better deal by walking and coming back later, but it might not.
- You may not get a better deal someplace else. Dealers have access to the same information you do and they keep a vigilant eye on their competition, including prices and sales volumes. They also use the same tools to price their cars and appraise trade ins.
If you do walk away from a deal, you have to be prepared to start over from square one. Car buying is a lengthy process that takes several hours or more. If you've already invested a whole Saturday or evening negotiating a deal, you have to decide if it's worth spending more of your time to try and get a better deal.
This is where the time value of money comes in--how much is it worth for you to try and get a better deal? Are you willing to give up another evening or Saturday? Take time off from work? Miss out on an activity you enjoy? You have to ask yourself: "Is what I'm giving up, worth what I'm getting in return?"
It's a question only you can answer. And to help answer it, we've come back full circle to the beginning of this series--the key to knowing when to walk is information. It's another reason why it's important to do your research up front and gather enough information to make the best decision.