These are five main things to know before buying a car.
Car Shopping can be daunting. When you journey for a new or pre-owned car purchase, start here before you buy a car without an expert or advocate.
Wouldn't it be nice if someone told you the Five Main Things to Know Before Buying a Car?
OK, here you go.
1. Know your credit and budget.
Simple right? What’s your budget? This is important. You need to consider how long you plan on owning the car, how much you plan to use the car, and your credit score. Most credit cards these days report your credit score on their statements. Even easier is tracking your credit on Credit Karma for free. Download the app; log on to the website. Whatever you do, know your credit if you plan to finance.
2. Know yourself and your personality.
If you’re someone who likes a car to be under warranty or you trade in whenever the car is paid off you might consider leasing. Remember, the length of the auto loan term will determine how much negative equity you will have the next time you go to buy. Don’t roll over negative equity unless you really have to.
A lot of people refuse to lease, but they tend to trade in their vehicles every three years rolling over thousands in negative equity.
If you plan on driving an automobile until it’s ready for the junk yard, it’s simple; you should buy. I stress this as one of the main things to know before buying a car because time after time consumers call me and ask about buying cars outside of their budget and not understanding why their payments are X amount (due to rolling over negative equity). Know yourself and your buying habits.
3. Be realistic.
If you’re asking for a $200 dollar payment with no money down on a brand-spankin’ new Lincoln you might consider getting your head checked.
You have to be realistic. Getting laughed at by a salesperson is embarrassing but more importantly it shows your cards. This tells a sales person you are an uninformed buyer. This information in the hands of a professional salesman can be used against you to maximize profits.
One of the first things I address with my paying clients are their expectations. If they are not realistic, I’m upfront and honest. We probably shouldn’t work together.
If you’re here reading it’s because you want to know what to do before buying a car, so you have the right mind set. Preparation, knowledge and setting expectations is key.
4. Mark your calendar. When do you want to make a purchase?
The end of the month or quarter is typically the best time to buy. Dealerships get bonuses based off of sales quotas. You can often get a great deal at the end of the month sometimes simply because a dealership needs to hit a quota to earn a very big bonus. So, although they may lose a few thousand, hitting that quota may have earned them ten times as much. If you make a deal around that right time, you can take advantage of a greater discount.
You don’t want to pass up an exceptional deal but you shouldn’t start the car shopping process until you’re ready to buy.
5. Know what kind of vehicle you want.
If you have a couple different makes and models you’re interested in schedule a test drive to see what you like the best. Find out what options you want. What’s important to you? Do you need leather seats? Will cloth do? What about moon roof or heated seats? Decide what is important to you.
TIP: Be careful not to give too much information to the salesperson. A good car salesman will ask you probing questions. It’s best to offer as little information as possible when talking with a salesperson for negotiating power.
The five things to know before buying a car should give you a foundation for building your knowledge base for car buying. My goal is to prepare consumers and equip them with the knowledge needed to never get ripped off.