You need a new car. You’ve saved for a new car. Everything appears to be within your budget. So, why haven’t you headed to the lot to pick out your new baby? You dread the experience, that’s why. You’d rather shove bamboo shoots underneath your toenails than haggle with a car salesperson. Well, okay maybe not, but you still don’t look forward to the experience. What if you could make the experience easier? What if you could reduce the stress of buying a new car? You can, and here are five ways to do.
- Never Narrow it Down to Price Only
It’s good that you fear paying to much for your new or used car. It’s good that you’re worried about the price. You should be. The worst thing you could do is get yourself locked into a loan you cannot afford to pay off. In fact, finance experts agree it’s never wise to buy a car you cannot afford. This being said, you shouldn’t focus solely on the price. Rather focus on the bigger picture.
How much car or truck do you need? What are the amenities you must have? Can you afford a new vehicle or will a used car be better? Really think about the car or truck you must have, and then compare dealers to ensure you can actually get it. Price isn’t the only consideration, because you won’t be able to afford your vehicle if bite off more car than you can chew from the get-go.
- Pay Attention to Financing
Once you’ve found an option you can afford, make certain you understand financing completely before you head to the lot, because this is one of the most frustrating parts of purchasing a vehicle. Few people skip excitedly to the salesperson’s office to talk numbers, especially when they know the salesperson isn’t going to be forthright no matter what. Know your stuff! This is buying a car made easy 101!
Then, once at the lot, understand the total vehicle price with everything included. Understand the interest rate and whether it is fixed or variable. Understand your insurance requirements throughout the loan; it costs more to insure a financed vehicle than one you own outright. Understand everything that is being financed and the duration of the loan. Leave no stone unturned.
- Value Your Time
Don’t get carried away unless you enjoy car shopping. Don’t spend days searching for the perfect car and then days haggling with dealers all over town. Decide what you want and how you can afford it realistically. Then, find that car or truck and begin the negotiations armed with the knowledge you gained. This reduces the time you spend looking for your car and the time you spend at the dealer.
- Consider the Additional Expenses
When you find the car of your dreams, the emotional part of your brain kicks in and insists that you must have it. You must! Can you afford it, however? No, not just the price. Can you afford the insurance, annual registration, operating costs, maintenance, etc. Can you afford to buy that Mercedes Benz that costs three times as much for an oil change?
When you look at your monthly budget, you must take these expenses into account, too. You must understand how much your vehicle will cost you to run and maintain. You should also consider how much it would depreciate over time. Will it be practical now and in the future? Will you get a good price for it at trade-in? Look at the overall price picture, including how much it will pay you back in the end.
- Keep Your Expectations in Check
Finally, prepare yourself for the car buying experience even though you’ve done your homework. You will walk onto the lot with the car in mind and the price you’re willing to pay. You will know how financing works and what you can afford. You will know all the dealer and finance company tricks… but you should also know they would still try to pull them. It’s what they do.
Expect to haggle some but set your limit. Expect you might not get the car of your dreams because you simply cannot afford it outright or monthly. Expect you might be better to buy used instead of new. The most important way to make car buying easy is to be real – 100 percent real. Know your limits to keep your expectation in check.