2013 has been projected as a great year for new and used car sales. Interest rates remain low on auto loans and this is a win for all involved in the process – manufacturers, dealerships and customers.
If a new car is in your plans for 2013, here are some tips for making a smart purchase:
If you will be seeking a loan to purchase your new vehicle, set up your loan in advance. Stop by your nearest Austin Bank and prequalify for a loan. This will tell you how much car you can afford and what type of monthly payment you will need to budget. Take note of the annual percentage rate (APR) on the loan; and try to keep the length of the loan as short as possible while maintaining an affordable monthly payment. These two factors will make big differences in the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.
By taking this step first, negotiations at the dealership will be simpler and hopefully less time consuming. And, you will be aware of actual rates you qualify for. When arranging a loan, dealers often make extra money by “bumping” your interest rate up over the rate for which you actually qualify. Being prepared can help you save money and be a smarter purchaser.
Before stepping foot on a dealership lot to make a purchase, have an idea of what vehicle you want. With the vast amount of information available on line these days, you should be able to narrow down your search significantly. Visit dealerships when they are closed to shop without pressure, and test drive vehicles only for informational purposes – don’t test drive and buy the same day.
Once you are down to two or three vehicles, check out price, reliability and cost on each. Use web sites such as www.consumerreports.org to find their list of recommended new car buys. Additional web sites like www.edmunds.com, www.kbb.com (Kelly Blue Book), and www.nada.com offer great tools that will help you determine the actual value of the vehicles you are considering.
Knowing this information will aid you in the price negotiations at the dealership. You may also want to try to determine the dealer’s cost for the vehicle. This information will take a little more effort to determine, but can help you get the best price for your new vehicle.
One of the most effective ways to get the best price for your new vehicle is to get the dealers to compete for your business. To do this, gather quotes from several dealerships in your area or in neighboring towns. You can also request price quotes through car-buying web sites.
Be sure that you tell them the exact model, trim level and options that you desire, and that you want an out-the-door price. Don’t discuss trade-ins or financing terms at this point.
If you want to take it a step further, see if any of the dealer’s would be willing to “match the price” of their competition. This can be helpful if you prefer one dealership over another.
Visit the dealership:
The trip to the dealership can be the most stressful part of this process. Being prepared with your research, quotes and prequalification will help to reduce that stress. Be sure to watch the details at the dealership. Small things will make a big difference in what you ultimately pay for that new car.
Dos and Don’ts to remember –
- Don’t negotiate around monthly payments. Doing so gives a salesperson too much room to work things to their advantage, especially if you have a trade-in or are financing through the dealer. Instead, negotiate a final new-car price before discussing your trade or financing terms.
- Don’t buy unnecessary extras. Items that fall into this category may include corrosion protection, pain sealant, fabric protection, or extended warranties. Many of these services are available at a later time, and can usually be found for less money. Don’t let the salesman slip them in on you.
- Do bring a calculator. Check your own calculations and verify the salesman’s numbers. Know how to calculate your monthly payment for the terms you agree on and make sure no little extras have been added in.
- Don’t drive the car home before the paperwork is complete. Doing so can result in the dealer calling the buyer back claiming the financing fell through and requiring him/her to sign new papers under different terms.
- Do be prepared to walk out. Sometimes your willingness to leave is your most powerful negotiating tool and the best way to protect yourself. If the salesperson tries to raise a price you negotiated or doesn’t treat you fairly, be willing to walk away.
Are you in the market for a new vehicle? Our lenders have the tools to get you behind the wheel. Stop by today to take advantage of our special low rates, quick decisions and personalized service.
(Special rates are available until March 31, 2013.)
Click here for offer details and rates.
Information included above gathered from Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. and www.clarkhoward.com.