The essential checklist before buying a new car Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make smarter financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content. We also allow you to conduct research and compare information for free and help you make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn money The products that are advertised on this site are from companies that pay us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this website, for example for instance, the order in which they be listed within the categories of listing and other categories, unless prohibited by law. Our mortgage, home equity, and other home loan products. However, this compensation will have no impact on the information we provide, or the reviews appear on this website. We do not include the vast array of companies or financial deals that may be available to you. Sergey_T/Getty Imgaes
4 minutes read. Published October 21, 2022
Authored by Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely taking out loans to buy a car. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances with concise, well-studied information that breaks down complicated issues into digestible chunks. The Bankrate promise
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We make sure that everything we publish is objective, accurate and reliable. Our loans reporter and editor focus on the points consumers care about most — the different types of lending options as well as the best rates, the top lenders, ways to repay debt, and much more. So you can feel confident when making your decision to invest your money. Editorial integrity
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There are money-related questions. Bankrate can help. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four years. We strive to continuously give consumers the professional guidance and the tools necessary to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct , so you can trust that our information is trustworthy and precise. Our award-winning editors, reporters and editors provide honest and trustworthy content to help you make the right financial choices. Our content produced by our editorial staff is objective, truthful and is not influenced by our advertisers. We’re honest about the ways we’re in a position to provide quality content, competitive rates, and helpful tools to you , by describing how we make money. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated for placement of sponsored products and services or by you clicking on certain links posted on our website. So, this compensation can impact how, where and when products are listed, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home loan products. Other elements, such as our own website rules and whether the product is available within your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact the way and place products are listed on this website. We strive to provide the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. A new car purchase isn’t easy, among the most difficult elements of the process is knowing what to do. From identifying the right vehicle for your lifestyle and budget to negotiating a deal there are a lot of steps to take. New car prices are high due to inflation and an extremely limited inventory . This means it’s crucial to be prepared for the purchase process. If you are planning to purchase a car likely to be in the near future, follow these steps to ensure you get the best deal and vehicle for your needs. Before you go to the dealership: Researching Much of the work involved in buying a new car takes place before you even set foot in a dealership. Here’s how to begin. Start by setting your sights. It might sound simple, but it’s the initial step to determine which vehicle you’d like to purchase, including what features are necessary versus just being desirable to possess. Check pricing. Before you begin negotiations, be aware of the current market prices and establish expectations regarding the amount you’re willing to invest. is a great source for researching current car prices prior to arriving on the lot. Investigate the financing options. There are two main choices for car financing that you can choose from: and . Pros and Cons for both of them. Independent lenders could offer an interest rate that is lower, but dealerships could have incentives, such aswhen you get a loan from them. Make sure you do the calculation. Owning a vehicle costs far more than the sticker price. Be prepared to cover additional costs, like , gas and insurance, registration fees, taxes and fees. Examine your credit. Like most major purchases the credit score of your prospective buyer is a vital aspect in your interest rate. Before you go to the dealer. Make sure you have your paperwork organized prior to going to the dealership. Make sure you arrive at the dealership with your driver’s license, payment method and the proof of insurance. If you’re financing through an auto dealer, then you’ll need evidence of income, employment and residence. Get preapproved for a car loan with at least three lenders. It only takes a few minutes of your time. A loan preapproval gives you the same negotiation ability as a cash buyer and lets the dealer know that you mean business. Preapproval letters typically last for thirty or sixty days. On the lot: Investigating the car Test driving is among the most important elements of your car purchase. Explore every aspect of your vehicle with your lifestyle in your head. Examine the specifics. This will be your vehicle for quite some time So be prepared to research the insides and outs to ensure that you’re getting the best model for you. Do the seating positions feel comfortable? Can you easily access your spare tire? Is the trunk large enough? Plan a test route. Test the car within the exact conditions which you will drive it such as in the highway, in stop-and go traffic, in parking spaces or on hills. If you don’t know the area well, tell the salesperson what kind of driving you want to do and ask them which direction to take. Get behind the wheel. You can take some time to test your brakes, park in tight spaces and check the visibility. You’ll also want to monitor the noise of the road and the smoothness of the ride. Check the car on the lot to the list you made. Remember that list of nice-to-haves and necessities you created? Now that you’ve found a car make sure the car is in line with those priorities so you can enjoy the lifestyle. Let your emotions go. If you’re in the new car you saw on the lot, enjoying the high-tech features and new car smell, it’s effortless to lose track of your financial plan and must-haves and let your emotions rule the day. If you see a car you like but doesn’t fit your original parameters, go home and contemplate the purchase before making a decision. While on the lot: Deal-making Once you have chosen your dream vehicle You’ll have to be prepared to inquire about the details and negotiate for the best price. Check for deals. Dealerships can offer special pricing depending on the or even the day of the week. Look for special prices or rebates before meeting with a salesperson. Avoid discussing trade-ins. Salespeople will probably offer a deal however, it’s better to negotiate your purchase price before discussing the value of your previous vehicle. That way, the dealership won’t have a number that they’re considering in relation to the value of your previous vehicle. Offer a counteroffer. Use the number you found when researching market value as a guideline. The key to a counteroffer is to not be so extravagant that the dealer will not consider you a serious buyer while pushing back enough to obtain the most favorable price. Be confident when negotiating. Negotiation is one of the most stressful aspects of car buying. But if you come with the best price on the price of the car and financing from the dealer and, if it’s applicable, you may save big. Don’t overdo your negotiations; be ready to leave if you’re unsatisfied with the offer. Be sure to read the fine details. Before signing your dotted line you must read your contract thoroughly. Pay particular attention to cash due at the beginning, as well as closing costs and . Some of these charges can be negotiated or waived through the seller. The main thing to remember is that buying a new car will impact your budget for years, therefore, be prepared when you begin the process. Do your research before heading to the dealership, crunch the numbers, and work out exactly how much you’re willing to pay. And, once you head to the dealer, you should leave your feelings at home and stay firm in your budget. Learn more
The article was written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She is a specialist in helping readers with the ways and pitfalls of taking out loans to purchase a car. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances by providing precise, well-studied information that breaks down complicated topics into digestible pieces.
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