Buying a new vehicle can, of course, be a daunting task. Your car is one of three major purchases you’ll make, coming in third to college choice and home buying. It can be intimidating, whether it is your first or your tenth purchase.
Here are a few tips to help you feel prepared to get the best bang for your buck:
- Do your research. Compare prices online and establish a range that you can then negotiate from once you find a local seller. Be definitive about the price you’re willing to pay before you step onto the lot and you will be ready to meet in the middle or walk away from a deal.
- Get pre-approved. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, get pre-approved if you can before you step onto the lot. Once you know your price and your credit score, shop around for lenders if you are not willing and/or able to pay cash. Having a pre-approved loan will afford you the same advantage as walking onto the lot with cash, and that will almost always works to your advantage when negotiating, not to mention saves you hours in the finance office.
- Be an active negotiator. Start small and be willing to spend time negotiating slowly to land on a price that works for both parties. Do not get trapped sitting in the sales office, instead walk around and get a cup of coffee or browse. Uncontrollable buyers keep salesmen on their toes which can work in your favor! Repeat numbers you hear them say and understand the added fees involved.
- Close the deal or walk. Being prepared with a goal of what you would like to pay and receive in return will help you in negotiation, but it will also make it easier for you to leave the lot if you know you are not going to get it. Be ready for people to pitch you additional warranties and services. Do your research ahead of time to know what these things are, and if it’s beneficial to you at the time or if it is just a nonessential add-on. Know the registration fees, state sales tax and doc fees. Once you sign the sales contract, the vehicle is yours, so be sure to read the fine print before closing the deal!
It is possible that some dealerships will include additional fees in your contract; learn what some of those fees are here and how to avoid them! Always remember that as the buyer, you have the upper hand. If a fee that you are liable for cannot be explained, ask for it to be removed.