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You know that feeling of disappointment and frustration you get after buying something you know you shouldn’t have? It’s called buyer’s remorse and it can make you feel a tad uneasy to downright queasy. Since we don’t want you to experience any level of discomfort – especially when it comes to making one of the biggest purchases of your life – we’d like to offer you the following car buying advice:
- Do your research. Check out the Consumer Reports auto section atConsumerReports.org and research resale prices to see which vehicles hold their value longer.
- Secure a loan ahead of time. Shop around for the best rates.
- Visit more than one dealership. The sticker price will vary slightly based on demographics and location. Plus, one dealer may be more willing to haggle than another.
- Think in terms of price not payment. Don’t be lured by low monthly payments and creative financing. Look at the big picture.
- Don’t buy based on emotion. Determine what type of car fits your lifestyle. Don’t buy something impractical just because it’s cool.
- Keep to your budget. You know what you can afford. Don’t go for that fancier model or those unnecessary, costly features. Also consider that the more expensive the car is, the higher the price of insurance will be.
- Negotiate from invoice price, not sticker price. Look for the invoice price on Edmunds.com or Kelley Blue Book. This is the price the manufacturer paid the dealer. Negotiate from this price.
- Ask about hidden costs. Read the fine print and ask about that “dealer protection package”.
- Don’t trade in your old car. Consider selling it yourself. You’ll get more for it.
- Avoid “upside down” buying. Don’t trade in your old car on a new one if you owe more on it than what it’s worth.
- Buy used instead of new. Depreciation is roughly 15% a year (depending on the make and model).
- Protect yourself from buying a stolen car. Be wary when dealing with small independently owned shops or individual sellers. If the price is unbelievably low, something is wrong. Ask to see the title and registration. Inspect the VIN to see if the windshield contains scratch marks. Ask who currently insures the car (if an individual) and call to verify.
- Finally, protect your safety and do an internet check for recalls or safety issues for the particular model and year you are buying. The last thing you want is to buy someone else’s death trap.
Buying a car can be stressful enough as it is, but more so if you don’t do it right. If you make your big purchase the right way, you should be able to avoid even the slightest tinge of regret. Prepare like crazy, make a plan, stick to it, and don’t be afraid to haggle.