By: Darci Maxwell
When searching for the perfect car, you want to find something reliable, environmentally friendly, the right size for your family and of course, something that fits your budget. However, car shopping is a frustrating experience, whether you are looking for a new or used car. Cars are expensive, and you want to make sure that your purchase is worth it. You want to that you are get a good deal, but also get a good vehicle. You wouldn’t want to buy a car at a ridiculously good bargain, only to have it break down on you within a few months, making it necessary to find another car. Read on for a few tips and tricks to help you get the best value for your new (or new to you) car.
Decide What You Can Afford — and Stick to it
Take a look at your budget and decide how much you can afford as a down payment and how much you can afford every month. When you look at cars, make sure that you are firm in your budget, and if a dealer tries to sell you something outside of your budget, stay firm. Don’t even look at cars that you can’t afford, either online or at a dealership.
Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate
While most things in our society are locked down on their price, cars are not. Chances are you can talk down the price of the car you want to buy. Don’t be to bargain not only price of not only your car, but your interest rate as well. Look around for a deal, and don’t just buy the first car you test drive. Visit multiple dealers if you are buying new, or many private sellers if you are buying a used car.
Look Up the Car’s Value
Before you agree on a purchase price, look up how much the car is worth. Do a quick search on either Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book to figure out how much you should be spending on the car. It will give you a good price for all conditions of the car, from fair, to excellent. You can use that as a bargaining point if the seller is asking too much.
Do Your Research
Before you start car shopping, do your research. Look into different car brands, and decide which ones you like best, as well as what cars tend to last longer. Know the asking price for the cars you want to look at, as well as figure out any additional fees that will be included on the purchase.
Be Smart About Financing
It is better to negotiate your financing separately from the purchase price of your car. While car dealerships prefer you to finance through them (they make more money that way), you will save more if you go to your local bank and credit union. A typical rate is between 2.57% and 2.86%, And don’t purchase a car using your credit card (interest rates normally hover around 15%)!
Remember You May Be Buying More than Just the Car
If you buy from a dealership, your car might come with a warranty, weather mats, free oil changes, an iPad, etc. While you don’t need any of these extras, they may help seal the deal. However, be careful not to get distracted by the add ons and pay more than you should for the vehicle.
Take It in to a Mechanic
If you are buying a used car, make sure that you take it into a mechanic you trust to do a quick maintenance check. They will ensure that the hoses and belts are working as they should, that the radiator and engine are in good condition, and that the battery is in good shape. Here is a quick used car checklist, if you are planning on buying used.
You should always be respectful of the person that you are buying the car from, be it a private seller or a dealer. You are more likely to get a good deal if you are kind are respectful than if you are rude and rushed. Dealers are not con-artists. They are just trying to make a living. If you feel like you are not being treated with respect, you don’t have to go through that dealer. There are other options in town.