Whether you’re buying a used car or a new one, there are some things you should know before you purchase your next vehicle.
If you don’t go into the event prepared, you could overpay for the car you want to drive. It’s also important to know what type of vehicle works best for you, which models suit you, and how much you can spend. Let’s consider ten car buying tips designed to help you during the process.
1. What’s Your Credit Score?
If you’re going to ask for a loan to pay for the car you want to drive, you need to know what your credit report contains and what your score is. The better your score is, the less you’ll pay in interest fees for the vehicle you buy. Some locations could ask for larger down payments if you have a less than perfect credit score, or they might offer loans with high-interest rates. If you have good credit, you should get the best deal for the car you want to drive. It’s best to know this information before signing paperwork for a car loan.
2. Shop Around for the Vehicle you Want
Unless you’re looking for an extremely old and specialized vehicle, you should find several versions of the vehicle you want to buy. You might find similar models with the same mileage priced differently at various dealers. By shopping around, you’re giving yourself an edge when going to the dealerships. You can shop from home on a variety of websites and know what you should pay, how much each location is asking, and the details of the car you’re considering buying.
3. Take Each Step on Your Terms
If you sat down with your friends to play poker, you wouldn’t show your hand before you had to. The same is true at the dealership. They might ask if you’re trading a vehicle, have a down payment, or if you’ve got financing lined up. Don’t answer those questions right away. Once you’ve picked out the vehicle you want, negotiate the price, even if the dealer tells you they don’t negotiate. You can force them to do this by threatening to go to another location for the vehicle you want.
4. Look Like You Mean Business
The car buying process is a game, and the dealer has all of the cheat codes. It’s time for you to have a few of your own. If you’ve researched the vehicle you want to buy, bring the notebook with your research, a file folder with vehicle information, and possibly the financial documents and title to your current car. When you’re well-prepared, it forces the dealer to react much faster than they might expect to.
5. Stick to Your budget
Among the car buying tips, this can be the most difficult for many shoppers. You already know what you want to buy, but do the payments fit in your budget? If not, then you need to find a different vehicle. Remember, you don’t need to simply consider the price of the car, but the cost of insurance, fuel, and maintenance. Are these things you can fit into your budget? If you can, then move forward with the process. If not, find a different vehicle to purchase.
6. How Much is Your Old Car Worth?
One of the most important factors in purchasing a vehicle is knowing how much you should get in trade. Check out various websites before heading to the dealership. One of the best tools is the Kelley Blue Book online system which makes it easy to find the value of your trade. Don’t allow the dealer to force you to take less simply because they have to make money in selling your old car; you’re not responsible for ensuring they make a profit.
7. Go for a Test Drive
You can do something fun when buying a car; go for a test drive. Even if you aren’t sure about the vehicle, you can learn a lot from a test drive. Have fun with it but keep emotions out of the mix and find out the flaws of the vehicle. Even new cars have flaws that you can discover during a test drive. Play with all the buttons, check out all the features and learn what the vehicle offers before buying it.
8. Check the Car History
It shouldn’t take long for a dealership to give you the car history and show you everything about the car you want to buy. This is a simple part of the car buying process. If you want to buy from a private seller, you’ll have to pull this information yourself so that you can learn more about the vehicle you want to purchase. This is a good way to understand the maintenance history, whether or not a vehicle has been in an accident, and how it was repaired.
9. Avoid the Add-Ons at the Dealership
Do you need an extended warranty? Is it important that you have a special smell in the car? These items are add-ons that some dealers try and sell you. The extras that dealers offer are marked up enormously, giving the dealer a healthy profit margin and making you pay extra during the life of your loan. That extra $20.00 per month on your loan amounts to quite a bit over time. Is the extra item worth the cost? Probably not.
10. Don’t Allow the Dealer to Force You to Settle
Even if you’re in a situation where you must have a car right away, you don’t need to let the dealer know that. You need to keep your wits about you and be confident when buying a car. Don’t settle for a model the dealer wants you to buy unless it is the exact vehicle you want to drive. If you feel that a dealership is forcing you to look at cars you don’t want, walk away you don’t owe them anything. It’s their job to sell cars, not yours.
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