When you’re in the market for a new car and you’ve never bought one before, it can be an intimidating prospect. Especially if you’ve heard horror stories of slimey salesmen coercing unsuspecting customers into buying a lemon or unknowingly signing up for additional features he or she never wanted. Well, using our guide below, you can avoid all of that and buy a new car with complete confidence.
1. Know the car’s value
You can’t expect to waltz into any car dealership and get the deal of the century on pure charm alone. No, not even you, Prince Charming. Instead, you’ll want to rely on knowing the true market value for your car. Check out sites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to get an estimate for the vehicle you want in your area.
If you’ve already expressed interest in a vehicle but left after salespeople wouldn’t meet your (reasonable) figure, it might be a good idea to follow up on a day that has had less than great weather. If there’s been serious snow or rain, those variables can easily affect car sales. This is a great time to call up a dealership and explain that you’re ready to purchase a vehicle and come into the dealership, snow boots and all. The lack of activity in the dealership due to the poor weather might end up saving you big bucks.
Check the forecast and as soon as you see those lightning bolts or snowflakes, make your move.
3. Follow up on the last day of the month
When dealerships or salespeople are trying to hit their sales goals, it’s a good idea to follow up with them near the end of the month when the pressure is on to hit certain numbers.
4. Follow up on a Sunday night
Similar to the end-of-the-month strategy, a Sunday or Saturday night follow-up call about an hour before closing might be a great idea to leverage. It’s likely that around this time, salesmen are looking to meet their weekly quota. After all, they might see it as one last push and deal to make before the doors close.
5. Don’t get emotional
When you’re looking at a new car, it’s important to have a poker face so you don’t get swept up in the excitement of a new car and end up with a bad deal. Wear a great outfit, put on those shades, and get your game face ready.
6. Look at the total price of the car rather than the monthly payment
Sure, it’s important to know what your monthly payment will look like so you can plan out your budget. But the final “drive-away” price is extremely important to know. Remember to remind the salesperson that the out-the-door number needs to include all relevant taxes and fees. If the dealer tries a bait-and-switch and gives you a final number that’s different that you agreed upon, it might be in your best interest to simply walk away.
Speaking of money, it may make more sense for you to finance through your local credit union instead of using the dealership’s financing program. You’ll have to do the numbers for yourself to see the difference, however.
7. Look around at multiple dealerships
If you’re buying groceries, you will typically have a good idea of where to buy what. Oranges might be cheapest buying them in bulk. Apples might be cheapest from your local farmer’s market. The same concept applies to buying a car, so it’s important you shop around for the best deal. In fact, it’s a good idea to even consider driving one to two hours outside of your immediate area to get quotes from competing dealerships.
For example, if you’re looking for a new Volkswagen in Las Vegas, try going outside Vegas to Henderson or other nearby surrounding areas. You might be surprised what you’ll find.
8. Don’t negotiate at all
Hey, if you don’t want to negotiate at all – that’s okay, too. You have the option to use a car-buying service that pre-negotiates a price for you. Costco and USAA, for example, offer this option. There are also specific “no haggle” programs you can investigate that may be a valid option for you.
While it might be intimidating to buy a new car right off the lot, if you come in with the right tools, it can be a less stressful process. The key is to come in knowing exactly what you’re looking for and what price you’re willing to pay. You’ll also need to know when to say no, especially in the face of a fast-talking salesman. Using these tips, you’ll be on your way to getting the keys to an amazing new car in no time at all.
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