New Car Buying Checklist
If you do decide to go it alone, here are the top ten tips for you in order that should be taken when looking to buy a new car.
If you have any questions or comments, please write back to me!
1. Determine your monthly budget now and in the next 3 to 5 years.
Unless you’re paying for the car with cash, that’s approximately how long you’ll have payments on your new vehicle. What life changes might you be facing during that time period that will positively or negatively affect your cash flow?
2. Research and Test drive vehicles you are interested in and make the best choice for your situation.
Once you’ve got a good idea of your cash needs based on step one, you need to decide what type of vehicle is best for you, not just the vehicle you’d love to drive. If you’re going to have children soon, the two-seat sports car is probably not a wise choice. If your commute to work is 40 to 50 miles each way, do you really want an SUV?
3. Check insurance rates on the vehicle you want and shop around for a lower rate.
Just like the finance rate, insurance rates are negotiable and there’s usually a better plan out there somewhere. Also, remember that like taxes and fuel, monthly insurance costs must be factored into your budget decisions.
4. Review your Credit Report and know your Credit Score.
A good idea to review every year for free by a company like CreditReport.com (see the link below). Before you look into financing, it’s a good idea for you to know exactly what’s on your credit report and what your credit score is. If there are errors on your credit report, you can usually fix them, but it won’t happen over night.
5. If financing, check for the best rates yourself and compare to the dealer’s best rate.
Sure, if you want to save time you can have the dealer find the “best” rate for your credit score but, just know that the dealer is also taking a small percentage of your loan for themselves as profit. Better to know your credit score and check out banks, credit unions and on-line financial institutions to really get the best rate.
6. If you’re trading in, find out the value of your current vehicle using Kelley Blue Book and have a few dealers give you their best value to compare.
Just like shopping for the best price on your new car, you should also compare what each dealer will give you for your trade-in. You can even tell them each what the lowest value you’ve gotten is and have them give you more for the vehicle. Just remember that at the end of the process, it’s one amount that you’ll be paying so keep in mind that if a dealer gives you a great deal on your trade-in, they may be less inclined to bargain with you on the new vehicle.
7. Search online for rebates, special financing, and other incentives being offered on the vehicles you’re considering.
The rebate or special financing could end up being the tiebreaker between two vehicles you consider to be equal in most ways. Even if you’re leaning toward the Camry instead of the Chevy Malibu, if Chevy is offering better incentives, does that outweigh getting one vehicle over the other?
8. Contact 3 to 4 dealerships in your area and ask them for their best price on the vehicle including any fees.
Now, the fun part (for me)! For most of us though, the truly painful part is negotiating the deal. That’s what makes my services so appealing to those who don’t have the time or the nerve to battle with car salespeople.
If you do decide to do so, do your research, act confidently, and stand your ground! Don’t feel bad about trying to get the best deal even though the salespeople may make it look as if you’re stealing from them.
9. Don’t sign up for an extended warranty or other extras in the finance manager’s office. If you really want them, shop externally.
The finance manager’s office is another piece of the sales process where you can be talked into buying additional protection or options. Be aware of this fact and know what you want before going in. Also, be prepared to be hit with fees. Don’t feel that you have to accept them either. Fees can be looked at as another piece of the total cost when bidding between dealerships so it’s a good idea to know what fees the dealer will try to assess before walking into the finance manager’s office.
10. Have recommended maintenance performed and keep good records. The vehicle will be worth much more if you sell it.
You’ve spent a lot of money on your new car, why not take good care of it. If you plan on keeping it for any length of time, you’ll want to do more than fill the gas tank and change the oil, so keep up with the maintenance.
If you follow these tips in order, you’ll be in a much better position to make the right choices and save some money!
Contact us for car buying help at ProAutoBuying.com. We can help!
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