Buying a car is a stressful process for most people, and if looking at used cars that stress increases exponentially with the age of the car. It doesn’t have to be a stressful experience though if you know the right way to work your way through the car buying experience. These five tips will guide you through the car buying process as painlessly as possible.
Step 1 – Decide what Kind of Car you Want
This is the step where you get to go online and explore what kind of cars are available along with what types of features come standard, or can be added. Take your time and daydream a little here picturing yourself in the cars that interest you. Then make a list of those cars that you could see yourself driving, along with the features you would like the car to have. Step one is done.
Step 2 – Do your Pricing Homework
Going online to sites like Kelley Blue Book or NADA is a great way to research the cars that you have interest in. These sites will provide you with information such as what the average selling price of the car is, as well as car details like safety ratings, and any mechanical issues that have been seen with that make and model vehicle.
Step 3 – Get Financed First
One way to avoid the car buying negotiation battle is to know what you can afford and qualify for before you go to the dealer. Getting financed at your personal bank or credit union can sometimes be an easier process since they already have your financial history. By getting your financing up front you eliminate the concern over what you can or cannot afford while looking for a car at the dealership. If you end up getting better financing at the dealer great! However when you have financing when you walk on the lot, you have a lot more confidence and buying power.
Step 4 – Find a Car
Now comes the fun part, test drives. Your test drive is your opportunity to get a feel for the car and its abilities. Make the most out of this opportunity by taking a 15 to 20 minute test drive, not simply a 5 minute around the block sample drive. Take the car that you are interested in, on the highway, on busy streets, anywhere that you would normally be driving.
Step 5 Part One – Get the Carfax Report
This step is self-explanatory; get the Carfax report. This report tells you if the car has been in an accident, if it has any title issues, if it has ever been in a flood or other serious situation.
Step 5 Part Two – Have your Mechanic Look at it
Having your mechanic look at the vehicle is the best way to know if what you are being told about the car is accurate and true. This is the best way to avoid hidden unwanted surprises later on down the road.
Now that you know the best practices for shopping for a new car, you can feel confident on your next car buying experience.