The first new car I ever bought was a 1996 Geo Prizm. This was before the internet. Back then, Consumer Reports was not only the most respected source for advice, it was about the only one.
They had a service where you could purchase the invoice cost to the dealer for whatever car you wanted. They suggested bargaining up from the invoice rather than down from the sticker, and even suggested an amount deemed a reasonable profit for the dealer.
It all made perfect sense.
I thought I was being the wisest consumer ever.
I went into whatever the Chevy-Geo dealer in Winchester was called back then. They had a dark green Prizm that my wife wanted. We later brought our first born son home from the hospital in that car.
I sat down, told the guy what I would pay based on their invoice cost. He immediately accepted. Of course, it was about 7:45 PM by the time we got there. I have since learned that showing up at a time when everybody is wanting to go home is the perfect time to walk into a dealership.
We got the car.
I felt like a hero for getting the dealer to accept my terms.
Later I realized that most of the Geo Prizms had been sitting on the lot for a long time. This was when full sized truck based SUVs were gaining popularity. There was a waiting list to get a Suburban since they couldn’t build them fast enough. Gas was cheap. A small economy car was not a hot seller.
I received great general advice that turned out being not so great for my specific situation, which is why the dealer was eager to accept my offer.
I see that happen a lot in real estate.
I wish there was a 3rd party in the deal that was looking out for me. Somebody who could have given advice for my specific situation. Somebody who would have told me that what I was wanting to buy was a car the dealers were having a hard time selling. That they were more motivated to sell than I was to buy. I wish there was somebody who would have told me that buying a small economy car at a time when everybody was buying Suburbans and Tahoes meant that it would depreciate rapidly.
I love being such a person for my clients.