Last time we purchased a new car from a dealership (ten years ago), it wasn't exactly a typical experience. My father in law sold the model we went with, so he got us through a lot of the process without ever having to set foot in the dealership. We also didn't have kids, so it was just me and my husband, heading to the dealership after work with a check. We didn't think about how long it took. I honestly don't remember at all.

This time, we realized we need to think about those logistics. Would we need to set aside a full morning or afternoon? Would we need a babysitter to avoid having to amuse two kids for hours at a place they wouldn't want to be?

For purposes of this, I'm going to assume that you've done all the preliminary "shopping". You've compared models, chosen what you want, figured out the basic financials, and decided what you'd like to do with your previous car. Now you're at the actual dealership you're going to buy from.

We were at the dealership for about three hours and didn't take delivery, because we chose to order what we wanted. This included:

·         A final test drive.

·         Filling out the financing paperwork.

·         Getting my car evaluated for trade in.

·         Finalizing the order and the price.

There is obviously a lot of paperwork, and there is a lot of waiting, even though we really felt like we knew what we wanted and were totally prepared. It was definitely not something we could have done on a lunch break OR (more importantly) with the kids. When we go back to take delivery, our salesman estimated we would be there for another two hours. This involves all the title transfers, the final money stuff, then going through the checklist with the new car.

So all in, AFTER we made our decision, we're looking at five plus hours. Was it quick? No, not at all. Would my kids be able to hang in there? Honestly, I'm glad we opted for a babysitter. But, when it's a big purchase, it's worth it.


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