Whether you’re in the market for a new or used car, the key to getting a good deal is negotiation. While it may seem like a hassle at first, if you follow some simple steps and negotiate with the car dealership properly, you might get some huge discounts with your next car purchase.
With plenty of new and used cars on the market, there are a lot of models and options to choose from. If you plan to buy a used Buick Enclave or a similar family hauler and have no idea on what terms you should negotiate with a dealership, check out these five simple tips that’ll help you get a good deal for your next car.
Do your research
Thanks to plenty of websites online, finding the right car has never been easier. A lot of websites also list the current car prices so you can easily set a budget before hitting the dealerships. But before any of that, consider all your requirements and find the right model for you. Usually, you can get a much better deal with used cars than new but the buying process is more complicated and can be frustrating.
Once you find the right model for your requirements, check car prices online and consider the trim levels depending on your budget. For used cars, several websites like KBB.com and others can show you the average value of a car you’re considering, to make sure it’s in your budget and give you an upper hand during negotiations.
Before going any further, also check your financing options and your credit score to make sure you can afford the monthly payments. When considering used cars, there are several websites where you can check vehicle history reports to make sure you’re not buying a lemon.
The next step is to compare insurance rates. Depending on the model and repair costs, insurance can vary considerably. So, make sure you can afford the insurance rates along with all the other costs.
Depending on the time of year, also check if there are any deals for the particular car. Usually, dealers will offer cash discounts on low-selling models, and it’s a good idea to find out any available deals before starting the negotiation process. Most dealers will be upfront about any deals available to sell the car faster, but it’ll also depend on your credit score and whether you’re eligible for some special deals.
Finding the right dealer
Once you have zeroed in on a model, the next step is to find the right dealer. Search around for dealers in your area that sell the particular model you’re looking for, and check their inventory. If they have the model in stock, they have to go to the dealership and check the car out. Also, ask for a test drive to see if there’s anything wrong with it. In the case of a used car, some minor dents, and other blemishes can be brought up during negotiations to reduce the price.
Also, visit as many dealers as you can, and compare prices. If one dealer offers a lower price than the other, you can use that to negotiate the prices down further.
A lot of dealers also offer exclusive discounts to lure in more customers, so check all the deals and discounts available before you choose one. Checking online is also another option to find out certain discounts in your region.
Another point to consider is the trade-in value of your current car. Some dealers will pay more for your car than others. So, it’s always a good idea to check your car’s blue book value and bring it up during negotiations. A lot of dealers will also try to trick you by lowballing your trade value. Because of this, to avoid confusion, it’s a good idea to separate the trade-in or even sell your car yourself to get a better deal overall.
Timing your purchase
Like most businesses, car dealers also have commissions and bonuses at the end of each month. Negotiating during this time will get you a much better deal as most dealers will be looking to sell more vehicles and fill their quota.
If you can wait till the end of the year, most dealers will offer plenty of discounts. Usually, the most discounts are offered during October, November, and December.
Other than the calendar year, discounts will also be offered depending on the model. If a new generation is about to be launched soon, which usually happens in the fall, buying a car at the end of summer is also a good idea.
Cars are a lot more expensive during the beginning of the year since new models are launched or refreshed, making negotiations harder. But, if time is of the essence, do your research well and try to negotiate prices at the end of the month to get a better deal.
Focusing on payments
Avoid getting attached to the car. The oldest trick in the book for car salesmen is to make customers form an emotional bond with the car, making you commit. But you should always consider it as a simple business transaction, being ready to let go of required.
Also, keep all the research information in hand to not get confused during the buying process.
A lot of dealerships will ask you to consider monthly payments, but make sure you can afford it before commuting to the deal. Negotiate it down as much as possible but also consider other running costs per month and include them in the calculations. If it is not feasible, turn down the offer. A good way to know if you’re getting a good deal is by checking the total costs including financing, fees, and optional accessories.
Also, avoid extending your loan to more than 5 or 6 years. It may look appealing because of the low monthly payments, but you’ll have to shell out a lot more money in the long run. Modern cars also require a lot of maintenance as they get older. So, consider all these factors before negotiating further.
Another good option is to think about financing early and arrange it if possible. Most dealerships who arrange the financing themselves will usually mark up the interest rate, giving them additional leverage during negotiations. So, always get a pre-approved financing offer before setting foot in the dealership to avoid paying extra.
Be prepared to walk away
While this has been said many times, customers still ignore it. When negotiating a deal, you have the power to walk away if it doesn’t suit you. In most cases, the dealership will contact you again and offer a better deal to avoid losing a customer.
While most people avoid doing it to save themselves from embarrassment, keep in mind that a car is a huge investment that will stay with you for several years.
Some dealerships might try to lock you in after you sign a few financing documents, but keep in mind that the agreement is not final till the last document is signed. So, always keep a cool head during negotiations and be ready to walk away if the deal doesn’t appeal to you. Even if you find the perfect car in the perfect trim, there’ll always be others in the market.