Buying a new or used vehicle is a big purchase decision you want to do smartly and wisely so you can get the best vehicle for your needs at a good price. Here are three tips you should think about when you are ready to put down some money on and buy a pre-owned vehicle.
Know Your Credit
It can be helpful when shopping for a used vehicle to know what your credit looks like and what your credit score is. You can talk to your bank about getting pre-qualified for an auto loan to see what financing terms they can offer. This will help you when buying a vehicle from a used car dealership because you will already know how much your credit will approve you for and you will have your financing all lined up to buy the vehicle.
You can get a free copy of your own credit report from one of the tree main credit bureaus. Each credit bureau will provide you with a copy of your credit report each year so you can review it for accuracy and dispute to correct any errors. You also don't want to walk into a used car dealership with no idea of what is on your credit report, especially in the event you have bad credit.
Determine Your Budget
It is also a smart idea to look at your monthly budget to determine how much you can afford on a monthly payment. List all your monthly expenses, including utilities, personal expenses, groceries, eating out, car insurance, savings account donations, and child care. Subtract these expenses from your income to see what amount you have left over. This is what you can put toward a car payment.
Negotiate a Price
Before you arrive at the used car dealership, do some research to decide what type of used vehicle you are interested in and how much you can expect to pay for it. You can do some research online, especially looking at websites that specialize in pricing out a vehicle. This will give you a realistic value and price you can pay for the vehicle of your choice. Remember that the used dealership will have a base sales price they need to see each vehicle for in order to cover their expenses, so don't expect to negotiate the price down past that amount.
After you test drive your vehicle of choice, make them an offer of what you want to pay for the vehicle. You can begin by offering a price slightly below what you would actually pay for the vehicle to start negotiating on a sale price. The salesman will check with the manager for an approval before they can accept any offer, so be prepared for the process. And only agree to a sales price if you are comfortable with it.