(6) Shop for financing. Now is the time to shop for your financing. You already know your buying power, having checked your credit score. Leverage your existing relationships with your bank or credit union to see who can offer you the most competitive rate. Also check out the captive finance arms of automakers. What you want to wind up with is pre-approved financing that you take with you to the dealer to finalize your car purchase. You can always listen to what the dealer has to offer, but you won’t be pressured to take it because you already have your financing in order. If it is a better deal, but it most likely won’t be, then you can take it.
(7) Find out what your insurance will cost. It’s also an excellent idea to check with your insurance company or agent to find out how much you’ll be paying to insure the vehicle you want to buy. A quick insurance quote doesn’t take much time at all and can save you headaches and money afterward. Some cars have higher theft rates than others, whereas certain safety devices can qualify you for various discounts. Know what your insurance will cost for the car before you buy it.
(8) Take a real test drive. Always take a test drive in any vehicle you are strongly considering to buy. Bring your spouse or partner with you so that you both can weigh in on how the car works for your wants and needs. While you are out on the road, pay attention to how well you can see through all the windows, how comfortable the seats feel and whether they are supportive and adjustable enough for you. Can you clearly see the gauges? Are the control knobs easy to operate. Have all the operating details of systems such as Bluetooth or SYNC or various safety technologies thoroughly explained to you by the salesperson. Are you comfortable with them and feel you understand them? The point is to make sure this is the right car for you and you can only do that by sitting in it and driving it.
(9) Negotiate the vehicle price first. Get down to the basic price of the vehicle you want to buy. Don’t worry about anything else at this point. You’ve already got quotes, so maybe you can use one of these documents to have the salesperson give you a better deal at this dealership versus the competitor. If you have a trade-in, deal with that after you’ve nailed down the price on this car. Don’t mix the two transactions. That will just muddy the waters and confuse you. Don’t agree to any add-ons. You really don’t need them. This includes things like underbody rustproofing and extended service warranties.
(10) Take the time to inspect all documents before you sign. Never, ever sign a purchase agreement or sales document without first reading through every line. There’s no rush here. The car isn’t going anywhere and once you sign the paperwork, you’re committed. So take all the time you need to thoroughly read everything. If you don’t understand something, ask to have it explained. If there’s a charge for something you dispute, get it clarified.
Remember, you have all the power in your hands as the buying consumer. Use your gray hairs to your advantage (even if they’re artfully shaded). The best deal is the one that leaves you feeling the most satisfied with your purchase. And you get there by taking things step-by-step.