How to navigate buying a new car
So its time. Your 1983 Ford just took it’s last spin and you have to bite the bullet and buy a new car. BUT, you haven't bought a new car in such a long time it feels overwhelming. Or your family is expanding and need more room. Any of the millions of reasons, let me give you a couple tips that might ease your anxiety a tad.
Yes, first you need to come up with a good plan. Get a piece of scratch paper out and start brainstorming. Jot down what kind of car you think you want. SUV? Sedan? Truck? Van? Next, a budget. How much do you want to spend on this new car and/or payment amount? Also write down any other important factors that are must for you like colors, options, mileage etc. How about financing?
The money part.
Ok now that you know all the fun stuff, it's time to figure out the fund stuff. Yes, how you will pay for the new car. Will you be paying in full with cash? That's good because that will almost always give you bargaining power. Need to finance it? No worries. Before you step one foot into that finance office you need to be confident in what you can afford and what your credit looks like. Pull your credit report at home first so you know exactly what shape it's in. (If you need help with credit or don’t know where to start, contact me!) That way you don't get any surprises at the dealership. Plus you don't want to waste all that time test driving cars to just later get denied on financing.
Finance people will send your credit report out to a number of different banks trying to "shop" for the best rate. Well every time your credit is sent to a financial institution it's one more inquiry on your credit and it's taking a hit. DON'T let them shop your credit! Tell them what bank specifically you want to use for your loan. You drive the ship here. Once your credit and money is in good health then it's time to go shopping!
Before you hit the ground running to every dealership in town you should do your shopping online. Lets be straight, most of the dealership have vultures staring out the window waiting for you to get out of your car to pounce on you! They smell fear so it's important that you are confident in what you exactly want and how much you want to pay. Pick out some to choose from and always test drive them and look them over well. I’m sure one will be just perfect.
Signing the dotted line.
After all is said and done you will be signing your purchase papers. At this time they usually try and sell you upgrades like car accessories and warranties. I will leave this up to you, use your best judgement on those. Warranties can be spendy at times and they will usually roll them right into your loan, just beware. Also note that if you roll the warranty into the auto loan you will be paying interest on that too!
Crank the music up, roll down those windows you have just bought yourself a new car! Congrats!