Thinking about buying a car? Make sure you set aside some time to plan with this major purchase. After a house, a car is generally the second most expensive buy anyone makes — and settling onto a new automobile is not a decision to create only within a weekend.
Follow these 10 car-buying tips to make sure you receive a car that you can afford and will probably be happy driving for a long time to come.
1. Figure out your budget
A fantastic guideline is to spend no more than 25% of your monthly household income for all the cars in your household. And this figure should comprise not only monthly car loan payments but all other car costs, including fuel and car insurance.
2. New, used or pre-owned?
Thanks to a high number of lease returns, a broad range of used cars which are about three years old are now available on the marketplace, making purchasing a used or certified pre-owned (CPO) automobile more attractive than in the past couple of decades.
You’ll be able to get the best car for the money if you get used, however you will pay a higher interest rate, have a shorter warranty period and won’t understand the car’s full history. Should you lease, you may get a more upscale car for your dollars, but then you won’t own the vehicle outright and will have to be mindful about the rental provisions to avoid hefty penalties. A brand new car for the identical amount of cash would have fewer features, but you will also have a full guarantee and pay a lower rate of interest, and often you will get free care and roadside assistance.
3. Narrow it down to your ideal car
Which car caught your eye when you were doing your research? There are a lot of car sites that you can find every single detail about your dream car. When you research, you can narrow it down to things that are important to you. Always note MSRPs (maker’s suggested retail costs) and invoice prices.
4. Know the cost of ownership
With your list in hand, decide if each will fit into your budget by estimating ownership costs. For better accuracy, do your own calculation for fuel based on the amount of miles you drive annually, and obtain an auto insurance quote on the cars you’re considering that would apply to the drivers in your household. Be sure you give the insurance agent the exact model, such as trimming level, engine and occasionally specific options, to get a precise quote.
5. Before you head over to the dealer, figure out the financing
Dealers are out for themselves and will sell you every single package out there and claim it is a great deal. Dealers don’t just want to offer you a vehicle, they want to make sure that they offer you a car loan. That is because they generally receive a flat fee or a commission on the auto loans they facilitate, whether or not the loan is from the manufacturer or a local lender.
6. Don’t assume financing at the dealership is the best bargain
While you may be drawn to a certain car or brand since you saw an ad for a very low rate of interest, it’s of no use if you don’t qualify. Only about 10 percent of auto buyers qualify for the zero percent or low-interest-rate deals automakers offer. Even if you do qualify, you might be better off carrying an automaker’s cash rebate and obtaining financing on your own at a bank or credit union.
7. Learn the everything about pricing
The research you did on separate auto websites should have included that the invoice price (for new automobiles) or wholesale cost (for used cars), in addition to the maker’s suggested retail price (for new cars) or the dealer’s asking price. While invoice pricing on third-party information sites is not 100% accurate, it’s a great indicator of what the dealer paid for the car, and it is the ideal place to start your own negotiation.
8. Research discounts and deals
You have probably seen the advertisements promoting cash-back prices, and such incentives should be deducted after you negotiate the price. These discounts can be stacked and may be put together with the cash-back rebates on this model. Assess automaker websites for these incentives in their “Current Offers” sections.
9. Take your time
When you’ve finished all your research, call the dealerships that you need to visit and make appointments for test drives using the world wide web or fleet manager. You may find the title of the right individual at the dealership site. By reaching out, you’re establishing a connection with somebody who may be less inclined to try to strong-arm you in bargain if you decide you’re ready to buy after the test drive.
10. Be smart about Negotiation
Start discussing a price when you are 100% positive about buying that model, keep in mind all the discounts you’ve researched, and — for the moment — forget about trading in your automobile as part of this deal. You’ll do better if you negotiate the sale cost of your new car and the trade-in worth of your old car individually. Make sure you’ve already researched your current car’s worth online so you’re going to know if you are being offered a reasonable price when a trade-in is discussed.