3 Ways to Be Smart About Buying a Car

When it comes time to purchase a car, you want to make sure you get the purchasing process right.

Way #1: Always Get Preapproved

Before you start the car buying process, you will want to get preapproved for a loan. You can get preapproved by a credit union or by a bank. You don't have to use that preapproval to purchase your car.

However, getting preapproved will allow you to see how much you can borrow and what type of terms you can qualify for. This will help you go into the car buying process with better expectations of what you can purchase.

Additionally, by getting preapproved, you give yourself leverage. Most car dealerships will want to have you go through their in-house financing as that provides them with a bigger return on the sale. You can use your preapproval to get better lending terms from the car dealership.

Way #2: Keep Negotiations Simple

Second, when it comes to negotiations, you are going to want to keep things simple. Don't try to negotiate all elements at once. Start by focusing on negotiating the price of the vehicle. After that, move on to negotiating the financing. Finally, if you have a trade-in, work on negotiating the trade-in price. 

Focusing on one piece at a time will allow you to get the best deal on each individual part. If you try to negotiate everything together, you may not end up with as good a deal, and things may slip through the cracks.

Way #3: Hold Off on Add-Ons

When it comes to purchasing a car, unless you already know there are add-ons that you want, refuse them. It is common for dealerships to push additional add-ons once you have already agreed on the price, thus increasing their sale cost. 

Common add-ons include things such as an extended warranty, paint protection plans, and gap insurance. An extended warranty may be worth it, but things like a paint protection plan are unnecessary as the paint will wear out at a regular rate. Gap insurance is something you can get with your insurance company. 

When it comes to buying a car from a dealership, always get preapproved for a car loan so you know what you can afford to purchase and have some leverage to work with. Keep your negotiations simple, focusing first on the car's price, then on the financing, and finally on the trade-in value if you have one. Hold-off on any add-ons unless you already know going into the purchase that you want them.