Buying a new car is exciting, but can lead you to buyers remorse if done without the proper research and preparation. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when buying a car:
Be Prepared, do the research.
Before stepping foot on a car lot, make sure you have done all your research. Take some time to learn as much as you can about your future vehicle. You want to make sure the car your are looking at is effective when it comes to your needs. Check out new vehicle ratings and reliability ratings on sites like Edmunds.com and Kelly Blue Book. Most lenders use NADA Guides to determine what they will lend on a vehicle — look up a car’s value vs the sales price before you visit a dealership.
Leave your emotions at home.
It may be hard, but do your best to not get too attached to a certain type of vehicle. When it comes to spending hundred or thousands of dollar, you do not want your emotions or wants to cloud your judgement. This can go very wrong months down the road when the vehicle you were so dearly attached too is broken down or is a vehicle you wish you didn’t have. Preparing yourself and car shopping with a clear mind can save a lot of money and tears. You may want a certain model but don’t let that blind you from considering other vehicles that may fit your needs better.
Do not skip the test drive.
Skipping the test drive can make or break your long lasting friendship with your potential car purchase. Before you buy a car, make sure you test drive it first. Cars can look superb on the web and in brochures but a test drive can test whether or not the car holds up to the standards on paper as well as your own, the buyer. Do you like the feel of the car in drive?, Can you see your family in this car?, Is it a good fit for you?, these are questions you can answer after you have tested it out. Remember you are spending a great deal of money, and surprising dislikes are not the greatest when you realize them in your driveway.
Do not focus on the monthly payments.
When buying a car, avoid focusing on monthly payment figures. Negotiating monthly payment may seem as if you are saving yourself money, but this is just a tactic salesmen use to lump vehicle price, trade-in value, financing or leasing terms together. When discussing price, focusing on the price of the vehicle first, then discuss trade-in and any other terms and prices separately. Don’t stretch out the term of your loan to get to the payment you want. Best case, finance from 60-72 months MAX, or buy a less expensive vehicle.
Choosing your financing before you go to a dealership is the best advice we could possible offer. A car buyer who hasn’t thought about their car financing terms is extremely vulnerable to being taken advantage of by the car dealership. Don’t be a victim to “interest rate bumping”, when a dealership marks up the interest rate of a loan over what you actually qualify for. Getting pre-qualified can avoid this by letting you and the dealership know what you qualify for. A pre-approval can also allow you to have barging power and prevent a car dealer from bumping up the interest. Some advice, do not disclose what you are pre-qualified for until the dealership tells you their financing terms; it could help you negotiate a better deal. To get pre-qualified for an auto loan visit nccfcu.org for great low rates and power in knowing you bought smart on your new car purchase.
For more information on buying a car, visit our Common Cents Blog at nccfcu.org.