Whether you’re planning on buying a new or used car, it’s important to know just how you can get the best deal possible. Rather than walking into a dealership unprepared, take some time to do some research at home and crunch the numbers.
Four Parts to the Deal
There’s a lot to consider when buying a new car, and it may feel overwhelming if this is your first time financing a vehicle. To ease the stress and get the best deal, you need to focus on four main parts of the car financing process:
- Price of the new vehicle – The car’s MSRP won’t change, but you can research the vehicle’s fair price range by visiting valuation sites such as NADAguides. There, you can compare the suggested price range to the dealer’s price.
- Your trade-in’s value – If you have a trade-in that's paid off or has equity in it, you need to research its value, too. Just like a new car, you can get an idea on how much your trade-in is worth by using valuation sites and checking its fair price range. But, because the numbers you see are estimates, the best way to know how much your trade-in is worth is by getting it appraised at a dealership. A good tip is to have it appraised at multiple dealers, so that you can compare offers.
- Pre-approval – We recommended you try to get pre-approved and rate shop if you want to get the best deal possible. This way, you can compare multiple offers, see which lender offers the best interest rate, focus more on the selling price of the vehicle, and have options to choose from so you don’t have to settle for the first offer you receive.
- Additional fees – One thing you may overlook are the fees associated with the purchase of a car. Make sure your budget includes any additional charges like sales tax, documentation fees, registration and license fees, extend warranties and GAP insurance. Don’t feel pressured into buying add-ons, either. If you know you don’t need an extended warranty, don’t purchase it.
Tips for Getting a Good Car Deal
Once you’ve done your research, there are three things you should do to get the best deal possible when you visit the dealership:
- Look past the monthly payment – The biggest mistake car buyers make when negotiating a good price on a vehicle is focusing only on the monthly payment. While it may seem like you’re getting a good deal if you’re offered a low monthly payment, you need to look at what’s making your monthly payment low (like an extended loan term instead of a great selling price), and if it truly is a good deal.
- Negotiate – To avoid falling into a not-so-great deal, you need to negotiate each cost individually. What this means is that everything that adds to the bottom line should be negotiated, from the selling price of the car, the value of your trade-in, the interest rate, and everything in between. Don’t try to negotiate on more than one cost at a time. You could end up paying for add-ons or features you never intended on having.
- Look for rebates and offers – To get an even better deal, your research should include looking for cash rebates and low APR offers. Automakers usually change these offers monthly, and if you have your eye on a certain vehicle, you may be able to qualify for an offer you can’t pass up.
Buy a Car with Confidence
At the end of the day, it pays to be prepared. Not only do you ease the stress of car buying by doing research, it makes the negotiating process easier. Go with your gut, and if a deal doesn’t feel right to you, it’s okay to walk away and look elsewhere.
If you’re looking for a vehicle, but worry you aren’t able to get a good deal with your credit situation, let Auto Credit Express help. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers that have lenders available to help people in many kinds of credit situations. Fill out our online auto loan request form to get started today!