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How You Can Hire A Pro To Save Time And Money On Big Purchases
Reprint excerpt:
Money Magazine, Idea of the Month
January 1997
By Amanda Walmac

To slash the cost of many items, you ought to follow the advice in the accompanying story. But in some cases, the smartest way to cut your expenses and save time too is by hiring a middleman. Particularly when you lack the expertise to make an educated decision about buying a car, getting a mortgage or purchasing a life insurance policy, paying a professional go-between hundreds of dollars can save 10 times that amount.

The problem is finding someone who has your best interest at heart -- a pro who'll charge only a flat fee and accept no commissions. Here's when it pays to use a middleman and how to find a great one:

Shopping for a car
With the average new car today costing $21,480, you can't afford to pay a penny more than necessary on an auto. You could spend your weekends pounding car lots and haggling to cut a dealer's profit margin (unless, of course, a Saturn or some other no-dicker car is for you). But why not save your soles by signing up with a pro at a car-buying service?

For a fee of $250 to $500, your proxy will hunt down the best price on the auto you want from competing dealers and close the deal for you.

For example, at CarSource [] (800-517-2277), you'll pay $375 for a vehicle with a $15,000 sticker. While a $30,000 model will set you back $475. "A client of mine recently saved $2,648 on a $23,660 Honda Accord," says Linda Lee Goldberg (shown above) who runs CarSource []. You can also reach the National Association of Buyer's Agents, a trade group that will supply the names of other national car buying firms, at Goldberg's number (she's the chairman).

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