Besides a home, a new car purchase is the largest one that most people make. The National Automobile Dealers Association says that an average price for a car in the United States is over $28,000, so you need to consider all aspects of the purchase carefully, from choosing an automobile that you can afford to one that is both utilitarian and appealing.
Narrow your list to those cars that you want and can afford. Ask your friends and neighbors for their opinion, and go to a few car dealerships to see what’s on their lots. In many cities, there are numerous car dealers that are clustered together that will make your task easier. You can also go online to both the dealerships and the car manufacturers for information. Also, begin analyzing the many options that are available and choose those that are both necessary and appealing.
Pay cash for your car, or finance it. You can either finance your car directly with a lender or use the financing offered by the dealer. Very often, dealerships will mark up the rates offered by lenders, which makes it more costly than if you’d gone to a lender on your own. If you intend to finance the vehicle, make sure that you are getting a fair deal, because you’ll be stuck with the terms throughout the life of the loan.
Compare auto loan rates on sites like Bankrate.com.
Be prepared to negotiate both the price of the car and the financing. View the Manufacturer’s Suggested List Price (MSRP) as a starting point. The MSRP includes the dealership’s commission and they are willing to negotiate away part of it to make the sale. The interest rate that you will pay when the vehicle is financed is also negotiable. However, before you reach the stage, do your homework regarding what you should pay for the car and the current rate for new car financing.
Research the value of your old car before you buy a new one. Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds can either be obtained online or at your library and they give a host of information to base what you should get for your old car. Your dealer may offer an acceptable price for it as a trade-in but you can always sell it yourself if you believe you can get a better price from a third-party buyer.