Car Shopping 101

So you’re ready to buy a car! Here are a few tips to help you make an educated decision.

Do Your Homework

Do your research before you set out to buy a car. A little preparation up front may save you money and headaches down the road.
  1. Talk to other car owners and read auto magazines like to get an idea of the kind of car you’d like to have.
  2. Review Consumer Reports or Consumer Guide for their recommendations and performance histories of different makes and models.
  3. Visit several dealerships and talk to the salespeople—but don’t let anyone talk you into buying a car that day.
  4. Figure out what you can really afford. What kind of down payment can you make and how much money can you do without each month?
  5. Stop by our office and get approved for an auto loan.

Getting the Best Price

Unless you go to a haggle-free dealership, you’ll have to negotiate with the salesman to get your best price.
  1. Don’t let the salesman start the negotiations by asking how big a monthly payment you can afford. Often they’ll get the payment down to a manageable figure, but the total price of the car will still be quite high. Tell the salesperson you do not want to discuss financing, just the price of the car.
  2. When negotiating, start with the dealer invoice and work your way up. Don’t start with the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) and work your way down.
  3. When a cash rebate is offered, it’s usually from the auto manufacturer and not the dealership. Don’t let the salesman figure the rebate into the negotiations because the dealership isn’t paying for it.
Remember if you don’t get the best price for the car, be prepared to walk away—no matter how much you want that car!

Making the Payments

After you buy your new car, you have more than a new car: you also have a credit history. It’s important to take good care of it.
  1. Be sure to make all your payments on time. We can take the hassle out of remembering to write the check through payroll deduction.
  2. If you have a little extra money one month, put it toward your car loan. It will help you pay it off sooner, and you’ll pay less interest over the long run.
  3. If you run into trouble making the payments, contact your lender right away. Don’t ruin your new credit history by a series of late or nonpayments

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