You’ve spent hours researching online, you’ve checked out all the models you’re interested in on BestRide.com, and you’re finally ready to visit some dealers to settle on your first brand new car. We’ve got seven tips for you before you even leave the house:
Get Preapproved for Financing
The teaser rate you see in the newspaper — sometimes as low as 0% — may not be available to you. To get that rate, you’ve got to have a gold-plated credit rating. If this is your first new car purchase, you might not qualify. Better to at least have some understanding of how much money you can afford to borrow before you’re trying to figure out the difference in monthly payments between the 0% you thought you qualified for, and the 3.9% you actually do.
Test Drive Elsewhere
As much as you think driving that new car is part of the shopping process, you’re better off if you isolate your test drive from the actual purchase. More than ever before, manufacturers and dealer groups are subsidizing test drives at auto shows, and it’s a great time to sample some product without the pressure of buying that day. Also, follow the manufacturers on Facebook and sign up for newsletters. It often gets you into preview events where you can experience the car in a more relaxed setting.
Get Internet Quotes
Dealerships are incredibly savvy at providing information to you while you sit in the comfort of your own home. Using tools like BestRide.com, you can find the cars you’re interested in and contact the dealer directly for a quote. Armed with that information, based on cars that are actually on the lot, you can make a much more educated decision about buying your next car.
Separate the Trade
Trading a used car is where a lot of novice car shoppers leave hundreds, even thousands of dollars on the table. If your used car has a lot of mileage, isn’t in great condition, or has a CarFax report that isn’t squeaky clean, that car is of little value to a new car dealer. You’re almost guaranteed to get more money for your used car if you sell it yourself.
Service Your Current Car at the Dealer
This is going to sound counter-intuitive, but try it. If you’ve made the decision to purchase a new car, sign up for the dealership’s email newsletter, which generally have service coupons that provide an oil change for less than what you’d pay to change your oil yourself. When you’re in the service lane, many dealers will make you an offer for a new car right there in the service lane. If you’ve done your homework, know what your trade is worth, know how much financing you’re approved for and have received a few internet quotes ahead of time, you could drive home in a new car in the time it takes to service your old one. At the very least, you got an inexpensive service.
Good luck, and enjoy your new ride.