When you decide to buy a car you need to have some information about it like its accident history, financing options, extra features, market reputation etc. It is best to make a note of some points and carry it with you. Here is a checklist.
1. Check Your Budget
You should decide on how much you want to pay for a car. This is not what you can afford, but what you actually would like to spend on buying a car. Also calculate how much you can pay each month and thus calculate the duration of your loan. If you have already a rough idea of these figures then the dealer cannot coax you into buying something, which is not affordable to you.
2. Research on Internet
There are many free sites on internet like Consumer Reports and Kelly Blue Book, which provide you online information about car rankings, their prices and features like gas mileage etc. These sites will also provide access to your local dealers and you can ask for an online price quote for new as well as secondhand cars. Then make a list of the cars you have chosen including the name, the manufactures, price and their pros and cons.
3. Look Around
Now that you have made a background research, start visiting local dealerships in your area. Take your time and do not be pushed by the dealers to buy on your first visit. Test drive the car, ask about the CARFAX report if you are buying a used car. If dealer refuses to supply one take down the VIN number to check the details online.
Visit more places and go on making a list including the following details: Car make and model, dealership, price and pros and cons. If you like a car which was originally not on your menu you can add that to the list as well
4. Look for Credit Options
While you are in the process of deciding, which car to buy also start looking for financing options. It is better to get a loan from a credit union rather than the dealer himself. Lenders’ online calculator will help you finding out terms of your loan based on your credit score. Again make a list of the terms including total amount, down payment, interest rate, fees, total loan term and monthly payments.
5. Negotiate The Final Deal
Finally when you have secured a loan and decided on which car you want to buy, go back to the dealer(s) and negotiate the price. They would know that you mean business, pun intended, so would be ready to negotiate a deal and let you off with a few hundred dollars rather than calling the deal off completely, because they are aware that otherwise you will go to any other dealer in the market. Use this to your advantage and settle on a price best suited for you. When you have done that go ahead and buy the car.