The automobile is an essential part of American life. Even high school students, the ink barely wet on their drivers’ licenses, often expect to have a car at their disposal. Most of us would have a hard time getting to work, doing our shopping and leading our daily lives without a car.
The problem is the cost. For most people, a vehicle is the most expensive purchase they make except for a house. Therefore, financing a new or used car is a major transaction. However, there are seven simple steps to financing a car that you should keep in mind. Follow these steps when you’re planning to finance:
- Shop for your financing first. Don’t wait until you have a car picked out and the salesman is dangling keys in front of your face. You may make an impulsive decision that isn’t your best deal. Check around for financing before looking for a car. Credit unions are often the best deal for car loans, so be sure to contact your credit union for rates. Figure out what you can afford and stick to it. You won’t help yourself if you spend more than you can afford.
- Remember that there are three steps to the car buying process. You can win or lose on all three. The process includes a) buying your new car, b) selling your old car, and c) financing your new car. Look at each step separately and make your best deal on each.
- Any car you look at is not one-of-a-kind. There will always be another vehicle. Get your best deal from one dealer, and then take that to another dealer to see if there’s an even better deal for you.
- All things are negotiable. This includes price, features, financing, terms, trade in, and warranties. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, make counter offers, or even get up and walk out of the dealership.
- Although the differences can be small, there is a better time to cut a deal. At the end of the month, the dealership sales department is running up against its monthly quotas and the pressure to meet the goal intensifies. Sometimes, if the salesman or sales department hasn’t met the quota, they’ll be open to a better deal.
- Get your best deal in writing then go home and sleep on it. The deal will almost always still be there in the morning and your thoughts will be clearer.
- If you’re not having fun buying your new car, go home. This is not a time to succumb to high pressure sales pitches or your own tiredness. Buying a new vehicle should be fun.