Everyone loves a great deal, but when it comes to cars, you’re not likely going to find one on a good sale like you might a new shirt. That means it all comes down to how you play the game. Here are our top tips for getting a great deal on your next car.
Do your homework
Of course, the first step is to do your homework before going into a dealers. Never ask a car dealer what their best price is. They won’t be truthful and if you haven’t done your homework first, you won’t know. When you have a car in mind, checkout the latest prices on used or new models online before you have a look in person. Go into a dealership knowing how much the car’s advertised price is. Always go for a test drive before committing, whether buying from a dealership or a private seller.
If you’re buying a new or used car it’s important to go into a dealership with preapproved financing in place. Of course if you’re a savvy shopper then we always recommend you buy used for a better deal and paying in cash as many private sellers will be happy for you to pay a bit less if the deal is made in cash. Of course, if you really need the financing, then make sure you go in with it preapproved, otherwise you won’t really know your numbers.
There’s only so much you can do when it comes to negotiating with dealers. That’s why it’s important to shop around first at different dealerships, so you know just how much the car is worth. This way you can get a better deal by whichever dealership is willing to go with your lowest offer. Dealers are incentivised by the manufacturer to sell to customers that live within a certain area (their Prime Market Area) so you’re likely to get the best deal at the dealership closest to your home, however you still need to go in knowing your stuff.
Finalise your financing
Once there’s a deal in place, you’ll be sent to the dealerships finance officer. While the dealership will offer you financing, the loan you already got preapproved is almost always going to beat whatever the dealership is offering. While this is almost always the case, it can pay to ask for the best financing the dealership can come up with and compare the numbers.
If however, you decide to buy a car from a private seller instead, then it’s all about negotiating the best price. Of course a private seller shouldn’t be quite as skilled at haggling as a salesperson so you’re in a better position to counteroffer. They however, mightn’t be as in need of a sale as a dealer. While it’s a less structured process than buying from a dealer it can be more relaxed and is your best bet for getting the best deal possible.