If you’re a first time new car buyer, it could be a tough road ahead.
Between comparing all of your options, pressure from sales people to throw in add-ons and trying to negotiate the best deal, you could leave the dealership feeling like you’ve been taken.
In fact, the top 2 reasons women cite for not purchasing a new car at a particular dealership include the price they were offered and how they were treated, according to a report by women-drivers.com.
The good news is that even if you’re a first time new car buyer, you can be in the driver’s seat and feel in control of your purchasing decision.
What First Time New Car Buyers Should Know Before Buying
1. Narrow Your Search
With more than 900 models to choose from plus dozens of different options and upgrades, being a first time new car buyer can seem overwhelming.
Yet the key to a stress-free car buying experience is to narrow down your options.
Before you start your search, think about what’s most important to you in a new car. Perhaps you need a crossover vehicle or an SUV for your family, but seating color or fabric type don’t matter as much.
Start with the must-have features that will make your car comfortable and safe and then consider doing away with options that would be nice to have, but aren’t necessary.
2. Be Flexible
It’s easy to get swayed by the hot new model or spacious vehicle but getting a fancy new car can cost you.
The more flexible you are on make, model, and features, the more likely you are to get a great deal. So just because you had your eyes on an SUV, if you only need space for two car seats, for example, a crossover will probably do.
3. Shop Incentives
Most first time new car buyers go from dealer to dealer to get the best deal or go with the dealer their family promises will take care of them. In reality, however, the largest discounts come from the manufacturer, not the dealership.
To move excess inventory or keep the factory busy, manufacturers will offer direct to consumer rebates from time to time. So if you want a fair deal, look for brands that offer the highest factory rebates available and exclusively shop them. Since the dealerships don’t have much leeway to reduce the price after the rebate, you’ll get the deepest discounts if you choose a model with the best incentives.
--Read more: 5 Car-Buying Secrets That Could Save You Thousands--
4. Shop Around For Financing
A big mistake many first time car buyers make is signing up for financing through the dealership without comparing all of the options. When you find a car you want, get pre-approved for financing so you can compare the dealers’ interest rates with other auto loan options and get the best deal available.
5. Consider Leasing
According to a report by Experian, in 2015 more than 30 percent of new car financing were leases. If you’re set on a specific make and model, not willing to negotiate on certain features and want to keep your monthly payment low, leasing a new car might be a good option. Most dealerships offer 24 or 36 month lease options and after the term is up, you simply return the car and either start a new lease or buy a new car.
If you decide to lease, put down as little money as possible by negotiating the cap or capitalized cost—the price if you were to purchase the car outright and the money factor or lease interest rate. Also be sure to take advantage of any available manufacturer’s rebates.
Another way to avoid spending too much is to make sure your warranty matches the lease term so if it needs a repair, you’re covered.
6. Never Default On Your Car Payments
Before you buy or lease a new car, make sure you can afford it because one of the worst mistakes first time new car buyers make is failing to make loan payments. In fact, 25 percent of Americans have gone into default before they turned 30, according to a joint survey by Credit Karma and Qualtrics.
A lender can deem you in default after one late payment or several, depending on your loan terms and state and federal laws.
If you default on your car payment, it can affect your credit score, you’ll pay higher interest rates on future loans, debt collectors will call you non-stop and your vehicle can even be repossessed.
7. Start Small, Dream Big
Many first time new car buyers want the hottest brand and newest model completely loaded. Yet instead of spending on a fancy new car, which could leave you strapped for cash when you need it, save your money and get a more affordable car that meets your needs.
8. Beware of the Extras
Since the sales people at dealerships are motivated by commission, they’ll do their best to sell you financing options, extended warranties, credit insurance and dealer installed options that carry expensive mark-ups.
To make sure you don’t spend too much, make a list of extras you must have and those you don’t need. Then decide of those must-haves, how valuable they’ll be when you go to sell so you can make a wise financial choice.
9. Shop For Auto Insurance
Carrying a car insurance policy isn’t negotiable but what you pay for it is. Before you buy a new car, compare all of the insurance carriers in your state and all of the options they offer. Although having a rental car available when yours is in the shop may be non-negotiable, you might decide to lower your deductible to get a better rate even though it could cost you later should you have a car accident.
The type of car you purchase can also affect your insurance since cars with excellent records for safety, accidents and theft may be cheaper to insure. Also, ask about certain discounts you may qualify for like safe driving, multiple vehicles or military.
10. Buy Online
More people than ever before are doing most of their research and comparison shopping online to get a fair deal on a new car. In fact, a survey from DMEautomotive, 46 percent of women visited one dealership or avoided dealerships altogether to look at inventory.
Now with sites like Deliver My Ride, you can purchase, finance and get your car delivered without ever setting foot in a showroom.
With these strategies, instead of feeling like you got the raw end of the deal, you’ll feel empowered and in control of the entire car buying process.
---Read More: 10 Reasons You Should Buy Your New Car Online--
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