Looking to buy a new car? New to the process? If so, and if you want to get the best deal possible, you must prepare yourself.
Need help with preparation? You’re in the right place! Without further ado, here are 7 tips to help you get through the process of buying a car.
- Shop Around
Our first tip is to shop around as much as possible. The more cars you check out, the better chance you have of finding a great deal.
Regardless of where you live, you’re bound to have a variety of car dealerships in your immediate proximity, not to mention all of the online car dealerships that now exist. All of these dealerships are viable options and should be given careful consideration.
In the end, whether you shop here, there, or elsewhere, the point is to refrain from buying the first car you see. While some car salesmen will try to pressure you into buying immediately, you must get your bearings straight, make relevant comparisons, and ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
- Play it Cool
You’ve spotted a car you like. You’re desperate to buy it. The only thing left to do is to inform the car salesmen of your desperation, right?
When buying a car, you need to play it as cool as possible. The more you tip your hand to a car salesman, the more pressure he is bound to put on you. This could result in you paying more than you otherwise would have.
When you see a car you really like, don’t mention it to the salesman. In fact, take a look at a few other cars before circling back around and inquiring about the purchase.
You have to let the salesman know that you’ll leave if you can’t get the deal that you want. Doing so puts the salesman on the ropes, increasing the chance that he will cave on the price.
- Look at the Carfax
A car may look beautiful. It may initially drive like a dream. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s of high quality; When it comes to used cars, everything is not always as it seems.
For this reason, when zeroing in on a car, you need to check its Carfax report. Carfax provides a wealth of information on each vehicle’s past, indicating everything from its use, to its repairs, to its legitimate mileage, and more. A Carfax report allows you to see past the surface, ensuring that you’re getting a quality automobile.
To get a Carfax report for a specific vehicle, you only need its VIN number. This number can be found on various components contained within a car, including its dashboard, its driver’s side door, and a variety of other locations. Once you have this number, go to Carfax.com, enter the number into the search bar, and reap the benefits.
- Brush Up on Your Negotiation Skills
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of buying a car is the negotiation stage. If you’re not used to haggling, the negotiation stage can be an anxiety-inducing mess. Plus, it can result in you paying more for your vehicle than you would have otherwise.
For this reason, you need to practice your negotiation skills before heading to dealerships. Car salesmen are master negotiators and can steamroll those who show weakness.
Not confident in your ability to negotiate? Bring someone who is. It could end up saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars.
- Make a Downpayment
If you’re like most car owners, you’re going to have to buy your car through financing. The only way to avoid financing is to pay the car off in its entirety during the initial purchase. For most individuals, this isn’t a viable option.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay any money upfront. While it’s possible to put $0 down, you’re advised to put down around 20% of the full purchase price.
Doing this will accomplish three things: 1. It will reduce your interest rate, 2. It will reduce the cost of your monthly payments, and 3. It will reduce the length of your auto loan.
- Optimize Your Credit Score
Another key to obtaining optimal loan terms is to optimize your credit score as much as possible. The higher your credit score, the better the interest rate you’ll receive.
To increase your credit score, ensure that you’re paying the minimum on all of your loans in a timely manner. You might also want to keep your credit usage to a minimum.
Is your credit score already high? Keep it that way during the car purchase by avoiding activities that will hurt it. These activities include but aren’t limited to putting substantial amounts of debt on credit cards, taking out other loans, and applying for apartments.
- Get Pre-approved for a Loan
Our last tip is to get pre-approved for an auto loan. This serves two purposes: 1. It gives you an idea as to what you can afford, and 2. It serves as leverage during the negotiation stage.
Getting pre-approved for an auto loan is typically as simple as finding your bank’s website and filling out a few forms. Once you’ve completed these forms, your bank will inform you of your interest rate.
Note, however, that you don’t have to take out the loan that you’re pre-approved for. See, many dealerships can handle financing for you, and oftentimes, they can get you the lowest interest rates. In the end, you should go with the rate that saves you the most money.
Never Fear the Process of Buying a Car
While the process of buying a car can be a little intimidating, there’s no reason to fear. As long as you utilize the tips above, you stand a great chance at landing a reasonably-priced, high-quality automobile.
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