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10 steps to getting the new car you want
Buying a new car is exciting. There’s nothing quite like walking in to an auto showroom and taking a stroll past the fleet of brand new vehicles shining in the sun. But there’s a bit more to it than just picking one out and signing off on new car financing (even if that is exactly what far too many buyers end up doing).
If you’re planning to use low auto loan interest rates to purchase a new vehicle this year, take some time to do a little research first. We’ve put together a list of 10 tips for buying a new car that will leave you smiling every time you get behind the wheel.
Come up with a budget
A new car is among the most expensive purchases a consumer can make, so be smart about how much you spend. Your budget calculation should take into consideration monthly loan payments, as well as gas and insurance costs. The specific vehicles you’re interested in will be shaped by factors including your income, lifestyle and family size. Determine the price, reliability and cost of ownership to meld your budget and lifestyle needs. Go online to find out the dealer cost of the car you want with all its features included. You should have a clear idea of a reasonable price for that vehicle. Know the value of your current car before you step into a dealership. Value is determined by factors like age, condition and mileage. Use pricing websites like KBB.com and the National Automobile Dealers Association to determine what your car is worth.
Get approved for a loan
If you’ve decided to purchase your new car with the help of a loan, you’ll want to get approved by a bank, credit union or online lender first. By being approved in advance, you can negotiate at the dealership from the powerful position of a cash buyer. Call several dealerships in your general area and give them the exact car model and options you’re looking for. Ask them to quote you a price. The more quotes you get, the more options you’ll have when it comes to negotiating.
Everyone has seen ads from automakers promising 0 percent interest rates. Everyone has seen ads from automakers promising 0 percent interest rates. Bankrate noted that only about 10 percent of car buyers actually qualify for super-low rate deals. Cash rebates or bank loans are often more reliable choices. For every announced discount, there are several less publicized ones. For example, many automakers offer discounts for students and veterans, which, when combined with cash rebates, can result in significant savings. Always take a close look at current offers.
Take full advantage of the test drive
You’ve got to get up close and personal with a prospective new car, so don’t rush the test drive. Check out the storage space and small details, like how many cup holders there are. While driving, pay attention to ride comfort, noise levels, handling and braking. Negotiating isn’t easy, but it’s usually worth it. Use the price quotes you obtained earlier to call around to different dealerships. Tell them if they beat the price, you’ll buy from them. Most dealers will be interested in trying to meet or beat an offer, once it’s in front of them.