So you’ve decided to buy a car, and you’re ready to visit some car dealers and check out your options. This can be a stressful event for some people, since it means negotiating with salespeople who are intimately familiar with the true value of their vehicles. Let’s go over a few key steps to ensure that your buying experience is as smooth as possible.
Do Your Research
If you already know which car you want to buy, call the dealership ahead of time to make sure that particular model is in stock. This will avoid time spent making useless trips around town. It’s also worthwhile to consider which add-ons and upgrades you want, as well as those you can live without, ahead of time. Be sure to come well-prepared, with a clear idea of the specific add-ons, warranties, or parts that you are interested in. The more homework you do beforehand, the easier (and less stressful) the process will be at the lot.
If you are looking to purchase a used automobile, websites that provide vehicle history reports can provide information on previous accidents or any major parts that had to be replaced.
Crunch Some Numbers
Now that you have picked the vehicle that best suits your needs, you may want to brush up on your math skills a bit. Pay particular attention to interest rates and how they differ from the “money factor.” The money factor is similar to interest, but it represents only the finance charges you will pay. Do not confuse the two! When looking at financing, multiply the money factor by 2,400 to get the corresponding interest rate.
It’s Okay to Negotiate
Once you’ve shopped around multiple car dealers and selected your vehicle of choice, always remember to haggle! Although many of us do not feel comfortable bargaining, it is a very important skill to have when negotiating with a salesperson-it’s part of the game! In fact, the sticker price often includes some wiggle room added in specifically for this purpose, so don’t think you’re breaking some secret rule by trying to pay a bit below the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). A little bit of negotiating and a good poker face can go a long way towards saving you a considerable amount of money.
During this back and forth over the cost of the vehicle, make sure you understand every component of the transaction: the price of the automobile, the down payment, the monthly payments, the interest rates, the terms and duration of the lease, as well as the trade-in value of your older model (if applicable). A tweak in any one of these factors can drastically change how much you will effectively pay at the end of the day. Once you and the salesperson have come to an agreement, make sure to clearly proofread the contract before signing it, as errors can occur.
And there you have it! With these tips, and a little bit of homework, you can now visit car dealers with confidence and glide through the buying process with ease. Drive safely!