That means no baby, as much as I hoped it would happen yesterday. It also means no new min-van. We drove all the way across town (remember…that really means across the big city, a good 45-minute drive) to visit a specific dealership who had indicated to M that they might be able to sell us a middle-of-the-road van in our price range. We both loved the van; it has everything we were hoping to get in a mini-van and a classy look and reliable record and reasonable price. The salesman had to get the specific van we wanted from a nearby lot before we could start any paperwork on it, so we went to find dinner during that break.
On the way to dinner, we discussed at length all the benefits of the van. We liked that we had the same opinion of the vehicle. We quickly came to the decision that we would jump and sign that scary paper as long as we could keep our payments within about $10 of what we’ve been paying. M had done the math already, and it was entirely possible with the APR the guy had indicated he could get us if we had good enough credit. It just depended on whether they would give us the average value for our trade-in.
Kind of off-topic, dinner was awesome. We were in an unfamiliar part of town and ended up a little off course from where we thought we were going. That detour took us right by that branch of my favorite ever restaurant, one that I’d been craving lately if only for their super-spicy salsa. We had one near us before we moved to this side of town, but there isn’t one near us now. It was worth the drive just for that dinner, and it’s so much cooler that it happened accidentally.
When we got back to the dealership, “our” van was sitting outside. It was so much classier (and less soccer-mom-ish) in silver. Even PJ was in love with the van. We went back into the sales guy’s office to give him all the info for him to run our credit and give us the final numbers. As expected, we have excellent credit. Like, just about the best credit you can get. That should qualify us for the best APR he can offer. We already knew he could offer as low as 0%, and that’s what it would take to get us the van. Yet when he showed us his calculations, we weren’t even close to being able to afford it. The loan for the length of time we expected to get was easily $200/month above our budget. M got upset at the guy for lying to us, and we walked out with both M and the sales guy angry.
I felt incredibly awkward stuck in the middle of the confrontation. I felt a little bad for the sales guy for thinking he might have a sale and then running the numbers to find out he didn’t. I knew it wasn’t his fault the math didn’t add up. But when we got in the car and M cooled off some, I found out why M was so upset. The guy had already indicated 0% APR wasn’t out of the question, and he was offering something far off from that (although he hadn’t specifically told us how much it was; he just hinted that he was offering the average of 8%).
M did the math himself this morning, including the low-ball offer for our trade-in, and found that he wasn’t even close to that 8%. He was calculating our loan based on 18%! He really was a slime-ball salesman after all. If we, with our awesome credit, could only get 18%, then what do people with bad credit get? How does this guy sell any cars? We wonder if he accidentally mistyped something in his program to calculate what we would owe and that’s how he got such crazy numbers, but he was such a jerk about saying “math is math” and not letting himself think there might be a problem that we won’t be going back. By the way, M did e-mail him when we got home, apologizing for his outburst. We haven’t heard back from the guy, though. I’m not expecting to.
As of last night, M was ready to give up looking at vans. Based on what we saw last night, they were clearly out of our price range. But after doing the math for himself this morning, he found that with a reasonable offer, even this van would be completely in our price range. So we might look into another dealership closer to us today or tomorrow, whenever they’re open. We would have started there, but we had no idea if they had the van we wanted, and we couldn’t contact them for any more specifics on what kind of offer we might be able to get. But we love that van enough that we might just walk in today (or tomorrow) and try our luck.