When we think of gifts, we think of clothes, vacations, gift certificates, or other relatively small purchases. Based on the gifts most people receive, a car usually doesn’t come to mind.
But there are some people out there who have the means, willingness, and generosity to buy a vehicle as a gift for someone else. These people take gift giving to a whole other level, and make the rest of us look bad in comparison. If you’re one of these people, and are considering giving someone a new or used car as a present, here are some tips to help you pull it off:
1. Pick the right vehicle
This is absolutely critical if you’re going to be giving someone the ultimate gift. Sure, you’re probably not going to give someone their dream Ferrari, but make sure it’s a car or truck that you’re sure they would want. Don’t forget to find the right color, style, and features if those are things the gift recipient cares about. It might be tricky to find all of this information out without making them suspicious, but you need to be sure that you’re picking the right model.
2. Figure out who will be paying
You’ll have to figure out the payment strategy on the vehicle ahead of time. Ideally, you’ll buy the vehicle in cash or make all of the payments on it yourself. But you can also make the downpayment on the car and have the gift recipient make the payments. However, keep in mind that you can’t add someone to a loan without their presence and signature. So if you’re planning to have your loved one make the payments but you want to keep the gift as a surprise, let the dealership know and they can help you plan out the process.
3. Plan ahead
If you’re giving a car as a gift, do not wait until the last minute to try to set everything up. You’ll need to find the right vehicle, line up the payment or financing, and handle all of the paperwork all while keeping it a secret. So trying to get it done the day before a birthday or holiday might be cutting it close.
4. Think about registration and titling
This is another big consideration when buying a car as a gift. Whose name will the vehicle be registered in? Who will hold the title? The law will vary depending on which state you live in, so contact your motor vehicle department to figure out the best way to go, or work with the dealership to figure out the best way to go. Again, a dealer could help you set everything up to make it a surprise, and then have your loved one fill out the right paperwork after.
5. Let the dealership know it’s a secret
If this vehicle is a gift that you don’t want your loved one to know about, then make sure to be very clear with the dealership about the fact. And be careful about whose phone number you put on the paperwork, especially if you have a home phone. It’s unlikely that anyone will intentionally ruin your surprise, but mistakes do happen so make your discretion a priority.
6. Don’t forget the bow
How can you give someone a car as a gift without a giant bow attached to it? It’s part of the fun! Don’t assume that a dealership will have a bow available, since they may be out of stock or not used to having vehicles bought as gifts. You can order a bow online for under $75 bucks. It’ll be worth it to make the experience for your loved one an unforgettable one.