Car Buying Tips

Buying a car can be the second-largest purchase in most people’s lives. Check out some car-buying tips here, so you don’t break your budget!

  • Avoid unnecessary add-ons. Some dealers provide after-market add-ons for an additional fee. These are not necessary and can save you money if you avoid them. If there are some features you are wanting, come prepared with them printed out. Also, research a couple different variations, in case the dealer doesn’t have the exact model you’re looking for.
  • Do more Cross-Shopping. Try to research and focus on more than 3 different models that will fit your needs. Cars have come a long way and you could find a better deal if you shop around for more options.
  • Do not settle for what is on the lot. Cars are a large purchase, so make sure you are getting exactly what you want. Be patient, and see if the dealer can have the car shipped from other areas or even custom-ordered from the factory directly.
  • Don’t skip the test drive! A lot of people skip this step and end up with something they are not pleased with. This could have been solved, if only a simple 30 minute test drive had been performed. Take the time to see how it performs on the highway, as well as the roads you drive most often, to determine if it really fits your needs best.
  • Don’t focus on the monthly payment. Focusing on the monthly payment, could have you spending a lot more over time. Negotiate the total price of the vehicle, not the monthly payment, to save you money in the long run.
  • Avoid buying more car than you need. Truly assess your vehicle needs. If all you need is a commuter car, skip the giant SUV to save money.
  • Don’t tell the salesperson you’ll be paying in cash, up front. This could cause them to be less willing to negotiate price with you and attempt to maximize their profits, since they won’t be making money off your purchase in the loan department.  First negotiate the price, and then tell them you’re paying in cash.
  • Know your Financing options. Before going to purchase a car, learn your credit score and research rates at various financial institutions. Then you will know if the financing terms the dealer offers are worth it, or if you should explore other financing options.
  • Don’t negotiate down from the sticker-price. Do your research ahead of time, and know what the vehicle is worth before stepping foot on the lot. Know the invoice price, rebates and incentives that dealers receive from the manufacturer. You will then be able to work up from this number so that you are being fair to the dealer and paying a fair price.
  • Know the value of a trade-in before stepping foot on the lot. Research the value of your trade-in on Kbb.com or other sites. Negotiate the value of the trade-in only after settling on the final price of the new car.

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