So, I’ve been pretty quiet the last couple of days because it was the birthday weekend for both me and Travis. Our birthday was yesterday (isn’t it sweet that he was born on my birthday?), and this weekend was a bit more busy than I had expected. I had originally intended to do a little quilting, maybe take a drive with Chris … Sunday we had plans to have family over for a birthday dinner. But I thought I would spend a good bit of time in my studio. Turns out, I was wrong.
Friday was a pretty quiet day – we hung out a little bit, and took a drive. I even took my camera along in hopes of finding some good stuff to shoot. There was a decent sunset, so we pulled off the side of the road in cotton country so I could take a few shots. Got all set up and realized I’d left my SD card in the computer at home! D’oh!! So we just watched the sun set, and practiced taking panoramic shots with our cell phone cameras, then loaded up and got back on the road. As we were driving home, I told Chris, maybe we should consider trading in the truck. It’s a 2010 Ford F150 Super Crew and while we’ve only had it about 18 months, it’s approaching 70,000 miles (it was high mileage when we bought it) and the extended warranty would run out before too long. He said, “Funny you should say that. I was just thinking the same thing not ten minutes ago.”
We started talking about it, and we soon realized we weren’t exactly talking about the same thing, even though at first blush it seemed we were. When I said we should trade the truck in, I meant on another truck for him. When he said it, he meant we should trade it on something new for me. I was surprised because he really loves that truck. But we agreed to go look at cars on Saturday just to see what was available.
The next morning, we got up and pulled together everything we might need to trade in the truck – the title (we paid cash for it when we bought it, so it has a clear title), paycheck stubs to be financed, and other things that might be useful, and we set off. Now, before you get the wrong idea, we’d been looking at cars since last March, so this wasn’t exactly a spur of the moment sort of decision. We both knew we were going to need a new vehicle but we’d been planning to put it off until next year. Even with all this stuff in hand, I didn’t expect us to trade the truck in on Saturday.
We’d been to a couple of dealerships to look in the past, but every time, I wasn’t too impressed with the salesman. I like a salesman that will listen to what I want and what I need, and then work to find it for us. Do you know how difficult it can be to find someone like that, who won’t try to upsell you on features that might be really cool but that aren’t in your budget? Well, if you don’t, let me tell you that it’s nearly impossible. So we headed over to AutoNation Ford in Katy to look around. Our idea was to find something that wasn’t too expensive – we were considering the Focus – that if we did make a trade, we could get low payments for the balance. But our price range was decent enough that we could consider a fully loaded Focus – well, that and the fact that the Focus starts at around $16,000. We were helped by Larry, who was more than willing to look around the lot for us to locate a loaded Focus with automatic transmission. You’d be surprised how many of those cars were manual, and I don’t do manual! We located one pretty quickly and he retrieved the keys so we could take a test drive. First point for Larry – he listened to what we wanted, and helped find a car that fit the criteria. Second point for Larry – he let us take the car on a test drive without him sitting in the backseat extolling the virtues of the car as we drove it.
After a sort of quick drive around the freeway block (the traffic was MURDER), we decided that the Focus just isn’t for us. I have a friend who just bought one, which is why I looked at it in the first place, and while it was really nice, it just doesn’t fit our lifestyle. It was smaller than anything I’ve owned since I was a teenager, and since it was meant to replace the truck, I didn’t think it would do the job for us. Across the lot from the Focus’s (is that right? What exactly IS the plural of Focus?!) was the Fusion, which is bigger but of course has a bigger sticker price. Chris suggested we look at those, but I told him that if we were going to look at that, we might as well look at the Edge too. We’d looked at them before and they were about the same price as the Fusion, so why not?
We told Larry that we’d like to look at the Edge and the Fusion, so he led us over the Edge area after asking where we wanted to start. I was thinking that I probably couldn’t get a fully loaded Edge and keep the payments in the “reasonable” range (we wanted to keep them around $300), so I told him that as long as the vehicle had power locks, windows and the Sync, I would be happy. He said, “Ok, well you can start with the base model then, and that will save you a lot of money!” He went to work looking for an Edge that fit that criteria, and came up with a very nice blue Edge. Actually, Chris saw the blue from a distance and said, “I think you would like that color.” Larry responded, “That is a base model, so it should have what you want.” We went over to look at it and sure enough, it was exactly what I told him I wanted. He went to retrieve the keys, and we set off on a test drive. Third point for Larry – he listened to the changing game plan and responded accordingly. Fourth point – he didn’t try to upsell us on options we knew we didn’t need and didn’t want to keep the price down.
Of course we loved the Edge – it was pretty much everything we were looking for in a car. There wasn’t any reason at all for us to even drive the Fusion – it couldn’t have measured up. We did peak at prices on new trucks, but quickly rejected that idea as they were just too expensive at this point. The next obstacle was making a deal. We needed to get enough for the truck to feel like we weren’t being robbed, and a good enough deal on the car to feel like it was fair and we would be comfortable with the payments. That’s when I told Larry that I really HATE buying a car because I hate the back and forth haggling, the sales manager coming out to talk to us, etc, etc, ad nauseum. He promised to make it as painless as possible. He went to talk to the sales manager, because apparently salesmen don’t actually make the deals anymore – the sales manager does all the numbers, at least at AutoNation. Once he dropped that paperwork off, we went to get the truck appraised for trade in. Fifth point for Larry – he held to his promise not to haggle over price.
When the deal came back to us, figuring in the trade in value of the truck, and the rebates on the new car, Chris and I were pleasantly surprised. Sixth point for Larry – he delivered a good deal to us with the first try. It was actually a reasonable number, and one we felt we could live with – we made the deal after talking about it for just a few minutes. Before options or extended warranty, the payments were going to be less than $200! We did add a few things to the deal, like tinting the front windows, remote start and a tow package – the Edge will tow 3500 pounds, which made the sting of trading in the truck a little better (but not much, according to Chris). And we bought a package that added theft protection including a lo-jack, and total vehicle protection for 75,000 miles. We put some miles on our cars, so this was essential for us since the Ford regular warranty is only 35,000 miles. We were a bit concerned about getting financed because my credit is pretty bad due to a house that was financed through Bank of America that I lost in the wake of their dark days of taking over Countrywide Mortgage, and Chris has no credit at all. But we didn’t need to be concerned because with the trade in, we had no problem getting financed, though to be fair, the loan is at a higher interest rate than the average, but still one we can live with for the long term. And timely payments will help to rebuild my credit, and to build Chris some credit as well.
We drove away repeating, I can’t believe we just bought a new car! But if you’re in the market for a new car, I would highly recommend Larry over at AutoNation Ford in Katy.
Sunday, we had my parents and the kids for a birthday dinner, and Monday we took a drive in the new car, and hung out at the house. All in all, it was a very satisfying weekend. I mean really, how many girls can say they got a new car for their birthday because their husband traded in his truck for her?! 🙂 I know Chris misses his truck, and I miss it too, but in the long run, this will work out for the best. And in a couple years, after we’ve made payments on the car and built some credit, we’ll be able to buy a new truck.