Buying a new car can be a daunting task. I recently purchased a new car myself. My 10-year-old car was getting to the point that I was spending more in repairs. While she was paid for, I felt it was best to have more reliable transportation since eventually I will be transitioning back to the office and my commute is long. Since going through the process, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips that will help to make the car buying process a little easier.
Get a preapproval
Secure your financing before you start shopping for the new car you want to pre-qualify for your loan with your bank. By doing this ahead of time, you will know what your payments will be and how much car you can afford. This helps since most dealerships typically markup loans by at least 2% if you go through them. I did this and went through my local credit union.
Research potential models
Once you have your preapproval, the shopping can begin. Start by researching models within your budget. Websites like Edmunds.com allow you to read reviews, compare models, and determine the actual cost of owning the car. It would help if you also got insurance quotes for the models your considering.
Get quotes online
If you’re a member of Sam’s Club or have an account with Navy Federal Credit Union, you can take advantage of the True Car pricing. You enter the information of the vehicle you are considering, and they send you pricing from dealerships within your specified area. I absolutely hate being hounded by car salespeople, so this helps cut down on that a little bit. You get upfront pricing that is, on average, about $2,000-$3,000 off the MSRP.
Time to Test Drive
Once you’ve selected the model you want now, it’s time to head to the dealer to test drive. This is one of the most critical parts of the car buying process. You must drive the car and see if it feels as good as it looks. Pay attention to all the details. I know that most times, the salesperson will want to have small talk, try not to get distracted by the conversation. If the car doesn’t feel right at the dealership, it won’t feel right once you get it home.
Close the deal
Now it is time to close the deal! Once you get ready to sign all the paperwork, be sure, and read everything thoroughly. Make sure the pricing matches what you and the salesperson agreed upon. If it doesn’t, let them know. You can also check with the dealer on the financing. Even though I had a preapproval with my credit union, the dealership was able to get me a better rate, so I ended up going with them. I would pass on the extended warranty. The finance person will try and convince you that you need it, but you don’t. Most people purchase warranties and never use them, especially on brand new cars.
Buying a new car is a big purchase, one that you will be paying on for a few years. So, you want to make sure you are happy with it. If you follow these tips, I’m sure you’ll be happy with your decision. Just remember, don’t let the dealer or anyone else try to rush you into making the purchase!