4 Things to Do Before Heading to a Dealership
If the time has come for you to buy a new car, don’t get blindsided by the sales reps at the dealerships. While warm and welcoming, you can still feel pressured into the upgrades or signing right away after a test drive. To keep yourself from being taken advantage of, you must prepare for car shopping before you head to the dealerships. Here is some of the best advice you can find when preparing for a vehicle purchase.
Do Your Homework
Once you have the idea to purchase a new car, start by researching which vehicle will be best for your needs. Do you need a minivan to take kids to and from school and soccer games or you rather have the horsepower in a heavy-duty pickup truck. Consider what you will be doing with the vehicle and move on from there. Look up the reviews for the particular make and model you are interested in, and pay special attention to the average selling price a similar car in your area. Print out any information about the car, the specifications, warranty claims, and otherwise to bring while you visit the dealership.
Dig Into the Dealership
Many people stop their research at the kind of car they want and never go on to look at the dealerships in the area. Not all dealerships will carry what you are looking for. For instance, you may be interested in Southwest Motors full line up of used SUVs but you won’t find a complete selection of hybrid vehicles. Look at the dealerships for what they offer, but also read through the reviews on social networking sites or the company website. Find out what customers are saying, whether it is a used car dealership or a new car lot. When you are armed with this information, you can avoid the dealerships where the sales team is too pushy or the prices are not aligned with the national average.
Determine Your Financing
There is nothing worse than finding the car of your dreams and finding out you cannot afford it. You should have an idea of the finances needed to make your purchase, and if you have planned ahead to pay in cash, you will know what your budget is. However, if you are going to finance the vehicle, you should already have your lender in place before showing up at the dealership. A local credit union can typically offer the lowest interest rate on a vehicle loan, and the lending policies are generally more flexible than national lenders. Always compare rates between several banks and a credit union, and don’t simply leave your loan up to the dealer. While you may find you are more easily approved, you will be subject to the terms that the dealer sets forth, no matter how high the interest rate and unforgiving the late payment policy.
Decide on a Vehicle Trade-in
You may find that there is still some value left in your old vehicle, and depending on the dealer, you could reduce the cost of a new car through trade-in. You need to know what the car is worth before you hear it from a sales agent. You can use Kelley Blue Book to determine a rough estimate of the value on your car or truck, giving you better insight into when a dealer is low balling you on a trade-in. For a car that is in good condition, you may be better off selling the car through a private sale to get the most money from it, then putting the sale price as a down payment on your financed vehicle.
If you keep these tips in mind, you will be in better financial shape when heading to the car lot. Do your homework, and don’t be afraid to bring your information to the car lot.