Buying a new car is often the second most important purchase you can make other than buying a house. It is a large investment that often will be part of your long-term financial obligations. With such a purchase, it is smart to find ways to make the car-buying process easier and more affordable. Here are some good ideas to keep in mind even before you step into a car dealership and some tips for dealing with the high-pressure situation that is the car-buying process.
1- Get pre-approved for a loan.
Even before you start looking at cars, it is wise to see just how much car you can get. Go to your bank and get pre-approved for a car loan. This way you can see how much you can spend and afford to pay back over time and use it as a negotiating tool once you get to the dealership.
2- Choose the right time.
Car dealerships often run annual sales events at the same time every year, and by knowing when these sales start you can save a lot of money. For instance, if you are in the market for a pickup truck, it is best to buy during the late fall, as trucks become popular during the winter time. It is also a good idea to choose to shop for a car at the end of the month. Salespeople have quotas to meet monthly so they might be willing to offer deep discounts in order to meet these quotas.
3- Do your research.
Once you know what kind of car you want, it is best to start looking in your area at the different dealerships for the best deals. Compare different models and makes in context of features, style, and performance. This can easily be done nowadays with the internet. Use dealerships’ online pricing tools to compare prices and contact the dealership to check availability. Once you have narrowed down the choices to a few, go to the dealerships and request test drives.
4- Getting the most value from your trade-in.
One of the ways to save on the price and taxes on your new car is to trade in your old one. There are several tools you can use to determine the trade-in value of your car such as Kelley Blue Book. Be honest about the condition of your car and determine the estimated value, and then take that information to the dealership. They will do their own estimate, but your research can be used to negotiate the value closer to a viable amount.
5- Keep your long-term finances in mind.
Car salespeople want to sell cars and they are willing to give you options that may sound like a good idea but will not be conducive to your long-term financial plans. They often offer lower monthly payments in exchange for a longer loan term. It is best to balance the length of the loan with the monthly payment you can afford instead of overloading the term length or the monthly payments.
6- Know when to walk away from a deal.
Negotiating a car deal can be a harrowing experience. You have certain parameters you must stay within and the salesperson has requirements they have to meet. If a compromise cannot be reached, know when to walk away from the deal. The salesperson will try to save the deal by claiming to have better ways to suit your needs, but if that were true they would have offered them already. Never feel pressured into making a deal if it does not meet your financial situation. It is best to leave and try another dealership.
Negotiating a car deal is a rough experience, but you can avoid lots of the problems on your end by shoring up your financial needs, doing your research, getting a healthy amount for your trade-in, and know when to shop. If the dealership cannot satisfy your needs, it is best to walk away and try another dealership. A car is an important purchase and you cannot risk your financial future.