Saturday, July 02, 2022
84.0°F

Used car shopping

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | April 22, 2022 1:20 AM

MOSES LAKE — Eric Gutierrez knows a thing or two about selling used cars.

He ought to. The 25-year-old Gutierrez, owner of Wenatchee-based Mega Auto Sales, which has just opened a lot at 1230 W. Broadway Avenue in Moses Lake, has been buying and selling used cars for nearly a decade.

“When I was 16 I dropped out of school and started selling on Craigslist and stuff like that,” Gutierrez said, adding that he did so well at it he was able to open a dealership in Wenatchee.

“That’s pretty much it,” he said. “I don’t like to talk about myself.”

But he does like to talk about selling cars. In fact, his face lights up when he talks about the work of selling — meeting people, finding out what they want, what they can afford and then helping make it all come together with a set of keys in the client’s hands.

“Sometimes customers don’t even know,” he said. “They don’t even know what they are looking for. They have something in mind. You ask them the right questions — is their family getting bigger? You show them what they want. And then they leave (with what they need and say), ‘Oh, you’re right.’”

“We help them. We put them in the right car,” Gutierrez said.

For Omar Robles, owner with his brother Roman at Best Buy Auto Sales at 520 S. Pioneer Way in Moses Lake and who started selling cars right after he left high school, it’s much the same — the satisfaction of knowing he’s helping people and developing long-term relationships with people who become repeat customers and get to know them as their lives and circumstances change.

“Maybe their needs change from when they first come in,” Robles said. “Maybe they didn’t have a family and now they’re at the point where a two-door coupe isn’t going to work. And now they need an SUV.”

The most important part of buying a used car, according to both Gutierrez and Robles, is knowing what you can afford. Gutierrez said he works with nearly 100 finance companies, and a first-time buyer program that offers a 7% interest rate. Still, before a client walks into a lot and falls in love with a car, they need to know what they can pay for, he said.

“I think the most important thing is to look at your finance options. That’s number one,” Gutierrez said. “A lot of people come into a dealership and for the most part they go with what banks the dealership has.”

Gutierrez said it’s important to look at resources — what money you have on hand and the payments you can afford to make — and maybe even talk with an independent lender, such as your own bank, because they may offer a better rate than the creditors dealerships work with.

Kamyar Monsef, senior vice president and chief of retail banking for Peoples Bank, which just opened a loan center in Moses Lake, said that financing an auto loan for a new or used car is just like any other kind of financing.

“We always recommend anyone who’s looking to buy a new or used vehicle always get pre-qualified first,” Monsef said. “The process is pretty quick and easy.”

It’s always best to know what you can afford before you go and buy, Monsef said.

“By doing that, you kind of set the expectations. It’s also good because if you’re talking to a financial specialist, they’re going to give you some advice about your financial scenario just to understand if you’re making a good purchase,” he said. “That’s always a good thing to do.”

Both Gutierrez and Robles said they like to buy their cars at big auto auctions, though they will buy cars from private individuals as well.

Gutierrez likes to buy former rental or leased automobiles because they tend to have lower mileage and be in better condition.

Gutierrez then inspects his cars twice, but he always advises potential buyers to get any used car they’re interested in buying independently inspected as well.

“Sometimes issues come up and we can only drive them so much,” he said. “Most of our cars have a warranty, but you’ve got to know what you’re getting.”

Robles recommended every potential buyer get a Carfax report on any vehicle they are thinking about buying. Best Buy has a subscription and offers Carfax reports, he said, but buyers can and should do their own research as well.

“You can see how many owners it’s had, where it’s come from (and if) is the mileage on the vehicle checking out,” Robles said. “Carfax is probably one of the best tools to be looking for when buying a used car.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

photo

CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Mega Auto Sales, a new dealership at 1230 W. Broad wave Avenue in Moses Lake. Owner Eric Gutierrez says car shoppers should have an idea not just of their wants but of their needs to ensure they get a car that works for them and their families.

photo

CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Cars on display at Mega Auto Sales. Owner Eric Gutierrez advises all potential buyers to know what they can afford — both in a down payment as well as in monthly payments — before coming in to buy a car.

photo

CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Kamyar Monsef, senior vice president and chief of retail banking for Peoples Bank, at the ribbon-cutting Monday for the bank’s new loan center in Moses Lake. Monsef encourages car buyers get pre-approved for financing first before going out to buy a car. He said this allows car shoppers to compare their needs with their budgets.

Recent Headlines