- What You Know In Car Buying Is Power.
If you are already a knowledgeable car buyer this is easy to understand. If you are new to car buying, you need to start reading up now on how to buy a car, where to buy it, how to deal with car dealers and other issues. Start by researching the car you are looking for. Read articles like this one which covers the techniques and people and companies you will deal with along the way. What I do when I go and buy a car is I do my own shopping. Having a car dealer talk for me is a non-starter. Everybody is different. You should spend the time learning about what cars are available online before you start the process. knowing all the prices and costs before you buy will make you very knowledgeable and help you get the car you want.
- Do You Know Your Credit Score?
Know your credit score before you go to the car dealer and find out on the spot. This is easily done through a credit card company or third-party services.
- What Are The Real Costs?
There are several websites that will give you the real cost of the car before it is offered to you by a dealer.
- Have You Already Found The Car You Like?
Before going to the car dealer spend time shopping around online and seeing what is out there. It is best to know pretty much what car you want to buy before going in to talk with a dealer.
- Do You Know The Value Of Your Trade-in?
Do some research in advance and find out what you should be expecting.
- Decide Upfront If You Are Buying Or Leasing.
This is a personal preference, but it is also important to consider if you don’t drive much, don’t drive far, and for how long you will need this car. I have only purchased in my life, but I know many who have leased. Leasing is more dependent on what you do with the car. For business, leasing is still a better deal in how you write off the expense. For personal, owning is better financially, but there may be other reasons you make either decision.
- Get the right financing?
Sometimes you need to get special financing because your credit score is lower. Or you want a 3, 4, 5 or even a 6-year financing deal. Doing research before you go to a dealer and knowing what kinds of financing you need is important.
- Practice Car Buying
You don’t have to go to a car dealer to just buy a car on the spot. What you can and should do is go to dealers and practice buying. Don’t tell a dealer you are doing this. The process of working through what it would cost and how you could or are willing to buy is something that you need to learn. For instance, my learning experience buying cars over the years has convinced me to not believe in buying extended warranties. It is not a right or wrong decision, but I concluded this after buying it many times and never using it. Go out and be the buyer and be prepared to walk away to just get the experience.
- It Is Not A Personal Experience. Buying A Car Is A Business Transaction.
A lot of people get caught up in the feeling of buying a car. Don’t let it be personal. This is a big mistake. Your enthusiasm or your spouse’s enthusiasm can be used against you in making a rational decision. Buying a car in the end is a number transaction, not a personal relationship with a car dealer salesperson or a brand. Don’t get connected personally to a car and make a decision you don’t want to make. If one dealer is less than another, for real, then it is a better place to buy. It is a business transaction in the end and don’t let it be anything else.
- Know What Deals Are Out There.
Before you arrive at the dealer you need to figure out if there is some type of special car promotion going on. What I have done is found a car deal which is a 0% deal, meaning you are not paying any interest on a loan. These types of deals are typically given by the car dealer directly and not through financing. If there is a special price reduction or tax credit for an electric car, you should do your own research on the Internet in advance. Everything you need to know in terms of deals is available online.
- Don’t Make The Mistake Of Focusing On The Monthly Payment.
I’ve made the mistake of solely focusing on the monthly payment. Making a decision using only budgeting and affordability and not the overall cost can lead to a deal that you may find is not optimal in financing. For instance, going with a 6-year loan has a better monthly cost, but obviously, you pay more in the long run.
- Know What Is Negotiable.
Before you head to the dealer you may want to research what you are able to negotiate and what you are not able to negotiate. For instance I’ve purchased a used car at Off-Lease Only. This particular used car group does not allow for negotiating on the price. The same may be true of new car dealers in certain expenses like taxes and certain fees. Things like government taxes are not things you can negotiate.
- Separate The Trade-In.
Don’t connect your trade-in with any new car purchase. Dealers want you to come with a trade-in as part of any purchase. That’s because the way they structure the deal is optimal for them. Don’t let them use the trade-in as a tool to reduce the price of the deal you want. You can always sell a trade-in separately and optimize the value you get from the trade-in.
- Choose A Car You Can Afford.
Take time to evaluate what you can and not can afford on a monthly basis before when financing a car.
- Get Pre-Approved Financing Before Car Shopping.
If you have a financial company like Capital One or Bank of America offering you a pre-approval for a car purchase, you should take advantage of this pre-approval before going into a deal to buy a car. This way they don’t tie the approval process to the price of the car and it gives you a lot of leverage since they can’t always guarantee car buyers will get financing. Getting this upfront can help you do well at any dealer.
- Look At Both New And Used Cars.
You should not limit your options. I’ve made the mistake of believing that I can only buy a new car. Used car deals, especially short-term lease cars, can practically be close to new with very few used mileage.
- Don’t Buy On Impulse.
Remember to stop and think about what you are doing and look at the deal carefully. One thing I always do is tell the dealer I need to sleep on it. That may make them upset with you, but it is important to make the right decision.
- Have A Mechanic Check A Used Car.
One thing you should do when buying a used car is to take it to a mechanic and get some idea from them if there is a major problem you could not detect.
- Use Online To Shop At Multiple Dealerships.
With all the available dealers online, it is not worth just shopping at one dealer. You can visit multiple online websites and communicate with multiple locations to see which ones give you a better deal. Don’t feel obligated if you have started a discussion with one dealer to stay with them. You can even use pricing from one dealer against another to see if you can get a better deal.
- Negotiate the Price Upfront.
One technique is to set up the price before you go to a dealer. This way they won’t be able to change the pricing when you arrive at the dealership. Negotiating the price upfront is a way to avoid getting into detailed discussions about additional features and models that will change the price when you look at the inventory available.
- Always Test Drive The Car.
I would not consider buying a car I have not driven. This is why you typically need to come back to a dealer several times to test out the car and to find out what it is like to drive before buying.
- Avoid Extra Costs.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is you often want to buy a base model car at a dealer, but all they seem to have are ones with a ton of features you don’t really need or want. This is a way to drive more dollars through the sale and get you to accept it. There are a ton of additional feature costs you can easily get caught up in.
- Read The Fine Print.
You don’t have to use a lawyer to buy a car, but you should read the fine print carefully. I would now, after my experiences, read the contracts carefully as well as the stickers on new cars in order to make sure I understand what I am buying. Sometimes buyers don’t read the fine print and learn later on that they are buying something they were not expecting.
- Buying Cars At Just The Right Time Can Save You Money.
There are certain times of the year and certain times of the month where the dealers are trying to make their numbers, so they are going to be more flexible. In particular, the end of the month tends to be one of the time periods, as well as at the end of the year. Specifically ordering cars right as a new model is being introduced will mean savings in what you are buying.
- Consider Car Insurance Costs.
For more exotic cars and for younger drivers, you need to calculate the cost of insurance. Car insurance is not the same for every car, nor is it the same for each person. Get an insurance quote for a car before you buy it to find out if you suspect it may be higher.
- Always, Always Be Ready To Walk Away.
As a car buyer, it is important to be able to walk away from a deal. Just because you are at the car dealership does not mean you have to do the deal that day. Many people get psyched up to buy a car and then make a mental commitment to buy. If you are feeling the deal is not right for you, don’t hesitate in stepping away and saying not right now or no. You don’t have to do the deal or listen to anybody.
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