Four Tips to Visit Car Dealers Like a Pro

Shopping for a new car does not have to become and overwhelming experience. Use the four tips to get the most out of your experience.

1. Know what you are looking for.

Start by asking yourself why you are buying a car. This may seem like a no brainier, but truly think about what you use your vehicle for currently, and what you may use it for in the future. Do you travel long distances frequently? Do you plan on starting your own business in the near future? Do you plan on starting a family? Doing more outdoor activities? By considering what you will be using your automobile for in the next couple years, you can make a selection that includes features best suited to fit your lifestyle. It's important to avoid buying a vehicle solely because you like the style if it does not also meet your current or future needs.

2. Do your research.

Once you have decided which car you like, read reviews and do some research on the value. It is important that you know what you should pay for the vehicle you are looking at. What does a good price look like for both the new and used model? Most importantly, what is the average price other buyers have paid for the same vehicle? This will allow you to spot a good deal when you see it and avoid being overcharged when visiting car dealers.

3. Contact your local car dealers before you visit.

Check out your local dealerships' website, or call them to find out what their inventory contains. Narrow your list of dealers to visit to those that carry the model you are looking for. Then, find out which car dealers have the best price on the automobile you want. You can ask over the phone, or send an email asking what their best price is. Let them know you are intent on buying and that you are doing some comparison-shopping between dealerships. They all want your business, so by making them compete you can potentially lower the price. Also, find out if they are running any specials, and read the customer reviews of the dealership.

4. Know how to get the best deal.

There is always room to negotiate on the price of the car, the interest rate, and on the monthly payments. Make sure that you know your credit score before you buy, that way the car dealers cannot tell you that your credit score does not qualify you for a lower rate. You can also consider getting financed by a bank or another lender, rather than taking the in-house financing from the dealership. Find out if you can get pre-approved for an auto loan from an outside lender, and what the interest rate would be. That way, if a dealer offers an interest rate of say, 7%, but the bank offers 5%, you could save thousands over time by going with your outside financing. You can also use this as a tool to drive down interest rate before accepting the in-house financing.
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