There are many, many things to consider before purchasing a car. The biggest factor is your financial capability, but that’s not the only thing that matters. Do your research and check out the top websites and sources before you start your car shopping. With so many considerations, we compiled the top 10 tips to create the ultimate guide to car buying.

Do: know how to negotiate with the dealer

Here’s a friendly tip: use your charm and negotiate better with the sales guy. Timing is also essential, because going to the dealership towards the end of the year will likely get you a better deal. You could take advantage of the quota the sales guy is trying to reach- they will give you better deals to convince you to make that car purchase for them to be able to get their bonus.

Do: set a budget for your purchase

Never fall into any purchase trap especially with heavy payment commitments such as cars. Know how much you can afford, whether it be by paying straight cash or taking an auto loan. Search for cars within your budget to avoid the temptation of buying a car with a loan hard for you to pay back. Don’t risk tainting your credit score due to delinquent payments (can link this to delinquent article) or worse, getting your car repossessed.

Do: know how much it costs to use and maintain your car

And because your finances matter the most when buying a car, know how much you might actually need to own AND keep your car. Your expenses don’t stop after buying it. Aside from the actual cost of the car, think of insurance, gas, and future repair costs. You still have to consider the total costs of car ownership, which also includes loan payments if financed.

Do: know the market price and average selling price

You can use reliable car search sites (you can link this to the previous article written on resources) to compare prices. This way, you know if you are being offered a fair price for the car. You’re likely to be offered a better deal if you have an idea of the range you should be expecting. You can also negotiate better if you know how much the car goes in other dealerships.

Do: know your credit score

If you are planning to finance your new car, your credit score might be the first thing that a dealership looks at. This is a tag that indicates the risk you pose of not paying back the loans. Check your credit score online from a reliable company such as Experian. Be careful though as checking may have a slightly negative effect on your score. However, this is necessary because this will prepare you for the interest rates you should expect to be offered to you.

Don’t: simply rely on financing offered by dealerships

Just like car shopping, you can go around and shop for auto loans to get the best deals. Dealerships are like middlemen between lenders and buyers, so naturally they would take a cut, no matter how big or small. It might be worth looking at the source directly, such as your banks or credit unions. DON’T let them shop for you: if dealerships pull your credit report and send it to multiple lenders, your credit score will suffer.

Don’t: focus solely on the price

The dealership might offer you a car that has an appealing upfront selling price, but you have to check the monthly payments, interest rates, and loan terms. Aside from that, don’t forget about other fees you need to pay. Research on state tax, title and license fees, and other extras on top of the selling price of the vehicle.

Don’t: rush the process

Everything from researching for the best car to researching for the best deals requires patience and effort. There are tons of online platforms you can use to search for cars on sale and which dealerships offer them. Even when you have made up your mind about what car to get, you still have to scour the internet for the best deals and lenders. You need to weigh your options because your choice in dealership and financing institution can save you thousands of dollars.

Don’t: trade-in your old car if its value is less than your existing debts on it

You might be lured in to trade-in your old car to take a slash off your new vehicle, but your previous loans might just carry over to your new car loan. Your previous balance added to your new loan will just increase the interest payments and overall increases the total cost of the new car. What you can do instead is wait until the end of your negotiation before you have the dealer assess your old car for trade-in.

Don’t: forget to check the car

It’s important that you check the history report of the car you are eyeing. There are free sites where you can pull a car’s history report by simply inputting the Vehicle Identification Number such as https://www.vehiclehistory.com/ and https://www.iseecars.com/vin. Make sure that you are buying it at a fair price relative to its year, model, condition, and mileage. When you go to a dealership you should know how to negotiate based on your research. Before you close the deal, remember all the factors that you should consider to determine your total financial responsibilities. Also, make sure that you’re getting the best deal out there with the available promos and rebates.

Extra tip: You can buy cars online!

Many people avoid buying cars online. Not everyone who purchase cars online do it out of convenience. It’s also a smart way to get a better price for the car. There may be deals online that are not explicitly posted or endorsed at the dealerships. You can take a look at the cars in physical shops, but you can also go back to completing the purchase online. Aside from the convenience, you might actually be able to save big bucks on this. It’s not such a crazy idea to make an online purchase as expensive as a car if you’re doing it with a strategy.

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