Are you all set to buy your first new or used car? It can be an intimidating experience but let us calm down those nerves by telling you that there has never been a better time to buy a car. The auto industry is facing some unprecedented struggles, and many exciting deals are available for the buyers.
What’s more, even car dealers have to put up low prices because of tough competition and to stay at the top of their game. All this and much more like rebates, financing, and trade-in values have made it a strong buyers’ market for a car enthusiast.
But to be a savvy buyer, you should do your research and have your preparation ready even before you step into the showroom. Plus, car dealers can be really pushy so you must polish your skills of negotiating beforehand.
We want you to have a great experience while buying your first car, so here are 9 strategies and tips you should keep in mind to make sure you snag the best deal at an affordable price:
1- Determine your needs
Before you start looking for the ideal vehicle, it is important to consider your particular needs. If you are single, then there is no need to buy an SUV. Similarly, if you have children, then look for a suitable model that can accommodate the car seats and has ample space for the whole family.
The easier way is to make a list of features that you want in your first car. Be specific and mention features such as a great sound system, sunroof, three rows of seats with heating option, etc. Another thing that you should figure out is how often will you be driving the car. If you have a daily route to cover, then invest in a sturdy and easy to maintain a car. Once you have all the needs mapped out, you should be able to identify the kind of vehicle you are looking for.
2- Be wary of unnecessary extras
If you are on a shoe-string budget, then stay away from all kinds of extras that are being offered with a particular model of a car. Many salespeople will try to convince you that you need the extra paint protection, fabric protection, rust-proofing, and VIN etching. Don’t fall for this and maintain your stand.
Some of the extras are a really great deal, but unless they fit in your budget, don’t be talked into any that is not necessary at the moment.
3- Sort out your financing
This is actually one of the prime things that you need to do in the beginning. Set a budget so that you can plan out your payment schedule. You don’t want to get into a tough spot later on. Your heart might be set on the expensive sports car, but can you really afford it?
Look at your budget and outline the various ways in which you can finance your car. If you have some cash saved up, make a large down payment and have a relaxed payment schedule for the months to come. Talk to your bank about car loan options and research more about car leasing which is a great option for people who like to trade up regularly.
Don’t forget to include other expenses like car insurance, vehicle registration, dealer fee, etc. in your budget.
4- Know the invoice price
Once you’ve picked a car that is right for you, look up its invoice price. An invoice price is an actual price that the dealer pays to the manufacturer of the car. On the other hand, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or ‘sticker price’ includes thousands of dollars’ worth profit for the dealer.
If you are well researched and know about the invoice price of the car, you can negotiate with the dealer in a much better way. The dealer will know that you mean business and expect a realistic deal.
5- Research various dealers and brands
The more you know about various brands and dealers, the more skilled you’ll be when it comes to negotiations. Dealers can easily fool people who lack this research and can earn huge profits through them.
6- Compare prices
Get a variety of price quotes from different dealers before finalizing the deal and spending any money. You can even use an online service to get a deal. Thanks to technology, it’s effortless to buy sell car online.
You can request a price for any make or model of a car. Visit a dealer’s website to get more information regarding rebate offers. But be prepared to be swamped with calls, emails and text messages from dealers immediately after. The upside of this activity is that you will have lots of information that can help you negotiate prices.
7- Don’t skip the test drive
Don’t pass on the test drive, even if you are familiar with a particular brand and model of a car. The idea is to inspect the vehicle in every possible way before you close the deal. If you’re buying a second-hand car, make sure that you take a trusted mechanic along, who can look at the car in detail.
8- Read consumer reviews
Always read consumer reviews regarding the particular model and make of the car you have shortlisted. Make sure that the car is reliable and has some great reviews from other owners.
9- Know your rights
If you are a first-time car buyer, it is important to be educated regarding your rights. Whether you are buying a new or a used car, spend ample time learning more about the warranty package and return policies of the car. Is there need to supplement the warranty? Is there a lemon law in your state?
Be sure to double check, so that you don’t have face any unforeseen issues later on.
Shopping for a car is a harrowing experience, especially for first-timers. After all, you don’t want your hard-earned money to go to waste. But armed with the right research and preparation, you’ll be able to buy a car without any regrets.
How was your experience while buying a car for the very first time? Did you do a lot of research or bought it from the first showroom you stepped into? Share your experiences with us in the comments below:
Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs.
You can find her on twitter: @michellejoe524