Tips for Car Buying

Drive Your Style: Tips on Buying a Car

Searching for the perfect car and how to obtain it can be a real hassle. You’re trying to maintain a budget and want the best deal you can get but before you head to those dealership doors make sure you do your homework. Luckily for you, most of the research for buying a car can now all be done while surfing the internet in your pajamas! Here is a list of situations you should think about before buying a vehicle.

Best and Worst Times to Buy.

Don’t be desperate. So many people have reasons for buying a car, one of them being that your car is about to drive its last mile. Don’t get to the point where you are so eager to buy a car because you have no other option. Salesmen can sense it and will work your desperation to their advantage so that they can get more money in their pocket, not yours. You must start your car search early so that if you have to, you can walk away from a bad deal and still drive your current vehicle with no problems.

No Spring Rush. Spring is the worst time to buy a car partially because your dealer still has plenty of time to keep some of their models on the lot before next year’s models come in. This will make it harder to negotiate a better deal. Also, they know you have your tax refund in hand and know you’re willing to pay more because of the extra cash. 

Out with the old, in with the new. The best time to buy a car is towards the end of summer through the end of the year! Dealerships are making more room for the newer models on their lots giving you the upper hand in negotiations. They want to clean out their old inventory so they are willing to make a deal that saves you more than if you were to buy at the beginning of the year.

Be patient. You should wait until the end of the month to buy a car. Managers might be trying to hit a certain quota and are willing to negotiate to hit that mark so you’ll be getting a vehicle cheaper than if you bought it at the beginning of the month.

Get Pre-Approved for a Car Loan.

Know what you are working with. You want to get pre-approved in advance so you know how much you can spend. If you don’t, it’s like going to the grocery store without a wallet. What’s the point? So figure out how much you can get financed before pulling up to the dealership, it will save you a lot of time and effort. 

Credit Unions vs. Big Banks. Don’t rush to the big banks to get financed. Start with a credit union. Because they are not-for-profit, credit unions usually have the lowest interest rates for loans and they are more willing to work with you if you have not so stellar credit. Whereas, big banks are trying to get a higher interest rate so that they will become more profitable. 

Locate a Trustworthy Dealership.

Ask around. It can be a hassle trying to find a trustworthy dealership. Your best bet is to ask around. I’m sure someone in your family, group of friends or even coworkers have bought a car and will be more than willing to give you a recommendation. You can even look up reviews online to see how the general public views the dealership. It will make you feel more comfortable knowing that the dealership has a good reputation. 

Don’t be fooled . Dealerships may offer extended warranty, GAP, and credit life/disability products that make the deal sound too good to be true. Don’t be fooled, this is a great trick they use so that you will pay a little extra, which means more profit for them! Your local credit union can actually provide you with some of the same products at more affordable and fairer prices, so check with them first!

Be Confident and Be Knowledgeable.

You’re the boss. Do not, I repeat, do not let them know if you are trading in your car before you negotiate a deal. They will sometimes use your trade in value for their own pricing of your new car. Most dealerships even ask if they can make an estimate on your trade-in while you look at other cars to save time. They really just want to hold your keys making it harder for you leave if you are trying to walk away from an offer.

Research the price. Knowing the fair price on your vehicle can help you when deciding what you are willing to pay for your new ride. If the dealer claims the value of the vehicle is a certain price and you know he is asking too much for the car you can always refer to websites like Kelley Blue Book. KBB gives you a fair estimate on the price of the vehicle based on the average amount people pay.

Test Drive Before You Buy.

Is this the car you really want? Make sure your car fits your needs. Let’s say you commute a lot during the week for work. Do you really want to drive a gas-guzzling truck or would you like a car that can really rack up the miles without damaging your wallet as badly? Buy a car that you will appreciate and will last you throughout the years.

Extra tip. Before test driving a car, salesmen ask for your driver’s license and/or your insurance to make photocopies for themselves. They do this because during the time that you are waiting they are checking your credit history, talking to coworkers on different ways about going with the deal, etc. Don’t give them your time so they can rack up the price tag. You should make photocopies of your driver’s license and car insurance ahead of time so you’re not delaying. I would even go above and beyond and write on those photocopies “do not run credit history report without consent.” This way they can’t run a credit history check on you nor can they take up your time trying to decide how to maximize their profit.

On the Road to Success.

Satisfaction. Now that you have taken some of these tips into consideration and bought your dream car go ahead and hit the open road. Go on that big road trip you’ve been planning! You’ll feel even better knowing that you bought it at a fair price and got a great rate when you financed it with your credit union.

Article by Emily Jatzlau, Marketing Assistant, Greater Texas Federal/Aggieland Credit Union