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Insider Secrets to Buying a Car


The car-buying experience can make for a very stressful situation. The combination of credit inquiries, pushy salesmen and thousands of options can make your head spin.  However, car buying can be a much more pleasant experience with the help on some insider tips. 

Do Your Homework
Before walking on the lot, already have in mind what car you want and how much you expect to spend.  Car salesmen have their jobs for a reason – they’re good at it!  Many times casual browsers end up driving off the lot in a brand new car that they weren’t even planning to buy.  In addition, these naïve customers often get hoodwinked into paying much more than they should have.

Smart shoppers know vehicle values and specs in advance, and bring this information to the lot with them.  The information is public, and anyone can pull the numbers from Kelly Blue Book, N.A.D.A or Black Book.  When a customer knows as much about the vehicle as the salesman does and sticks to his or her budgetary plans, the playing field becomes a lot more even.  

The Key to Negotiations
Many people have heard the phrase, “everything’s negotiable,” but some don’t realize that this means on both sides of the negotiations table.  Although a salesman may appear to have the control position, both parties (the salesman and the customer) are equally able to make a deal.  Salesmen want to make as much money as possible from each sale, but they also understand that no sale means no money.  The customer can use this leverage to his or her advantage.

How to Negotiate

  1. Don’t pay retail – Start with the dealer’s invoice price, which can be found on any reputable car value site.  Vehicle values vary based on season.  Use this information to negotiate a price lower than the sticker. 
  2. Know your trade-in vehicle’s value, and know what you expect to get for your trade.  Do not reveal this until after the new car purchase price is locked in.  If the salesman knows in advance that you want more than they are willing to pay for your trade, they will make up the difference by backing into the purchase price. 
  3. Determine your loan term based on your financial situation.
  4. Know your credit score so there are no surprises about the interest rate.
  5. Warranties and insurance policies are additional money-makers for car dealerships. These are also negotiable and should only be purchased if you do not have existing coverage in these areas (AAA, life insurance, etc.)



Out the Door
After successfully negotiating into a car you’re happy with, the last step is to sign the papers.  As with any legally binding document, read these through before signing to ensure than no mistakes or changes were made to what you agreed upon. 





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