The Car Buying Guide Checklist

If you asked all your friends, chances are they all think they are experts when it comes to the car buying process. They can all give you advice on how they made mistakes which cost them money. Chances every one of them will tell you they can do a better job next time.

There are a couple of things you should consider prior to starting the process of buying a new or used car:

A. Take your time, if you have bought a car before then think back on that process and see if you don’t think you made mistakes which ultimately cost you money. Even consider making a list since this is the second most expensive purchase most people ever make it’s important to be thorough.

B. Remember you are basically preparing for battle against the pros. Most car sales people sell anywhere from 3-6 cars a week, whereas most consumers buy a new or used car only about every 2-5 years, so who do you think has the edge?

Here’s an easy car buying checklist that will even the playing field:

Our easy to follow checklist will help you prepare before you begin, it will help you to stay in control during and it will also help you to make sure that everything is done properly after the car deal is done.

1. Narrow Your Choices with Research

First you must decide if you want to buy a new or used car. Most often budgets and car payments are what makes the final decision. There are some great free tools available to you like an auto loan calculator and websites that can help you determine the value of the car if it’s used and the dealer invoice price if it’s new. Frankly today’s credit crunch has made the choice of buying a used car even easier. The value is holding far better than a new car.

2. Get Pre-Approved for Your Auto Loan Online

If you take the time and get pre-approved for your auto loan online, you will save countless hours and eliminate the stress of finding the best auto financing for your needs. If you experienced some past credit difficulties and happen to have bad credit there’s absolutely no better way to get approved than with a free online auto loan application offered by many excellent auto loan providers. These lenders provide fast easy auto financing for bad credit auto loans, new or used car loans and bad credit car loan financing. Many people who could in the past get approved for a car loan easily have found that the rules have changed. In early 2008 a credit score of 650 or higher would qualify you for just about any program at any bank or lender. Since the bad credit loan crunch, you can’t qualify for the lowest car loan rates unless your credit score is above 700 which is less than 2% of the population.

The bad credit auto loan lenders use the Internet to allow you to do the shopping for the best car loan rates regardless of your credit situation. We would advise you to know what your credit score is prior to beginning your search for the best auto loan. There are some websites that offer a free credit report, take advantage of it.

You can get a free no obligation car loan quote simply by finding a website that you feel addresses your needs.

3. Do You Have a Trade-In? Get it Ready!

If you have a trade-in there’s some things you should know to help you get the most money for it, which ultimately means you are going to pay less for the new car you are about to buy.

Make sure your trade-in is clean. Try to get an air freshener that smells like a new car. Don’t leave it in the car when you go to the dealership of course. Used car managers are typically the ones who appraise your trade-in, so if it appears the car has been taken good care of including making sure you get the oil changed before you go, you are more likely to get a better price for your trade. It’s helpful to also check some of the free websites like Black Book or Kelly Blue Book as they will give you the trade in value of your car free of charge.

4. Know the Price Range

Just as important and knowing the realistic value of your trade is knowing what a reasonable price for the new car is. If it’s a new car then you find the invoice price from a number of websites including Edmunds. In the past there were certain models of new cars and trucks that mandated a premium or in some cases; you may have to pay more than the sticker price. If there’s some good news about the bad credit loan situation, it’s that there are no longer any vehicles that require you to pay sticker price. If it’s a used car then you want to check the average retail price of the vehicle. You can also check local classifieds for used cars in your market and see what people are asking for them. Keep in mind they all expect to negotiate to a lower price. We would always suggest buying a used car from a local dealer rather than a private party and the reasoning is quite simple. The dealer has a lot to lose if he doesn’t guaranty the car; the private party could care less and will race to the bank to cash your check. Short and simple: don’t buy someone else’s problems.

5. The Dealership Process

Sometimes the excitement of buying that new car clouds your thinking process and that only means one thing: it will cost you more than it should. You should take your time, it’s a huge investment. Here are a few quick suggestions for making the purchasing of your new or used a little more pleasant:

a) You can negotiate just about everything including: price of the car you are buying, the value of your trade, interest rates especially if you have good credit and always remember to ask about the warranty on the car you are buying. There will be some kind of warranty included and most likely the dealer will have an extended warranty package available for purchase as well.

b) If you have taken advantage of using an auto loan calculator, you already have a good idea of how much your payments will be. Most often when you are presented payments they already include a higher interest rate, extended warranty and other items dealers call aftermarket like a paint sealant. Don’t panic it’s only a starting point and since you are already informed, you can be in control of the situation. The last thing that dealer wants it you leaving without buying a car.

c) You are the buyer; the dealer has to meet your terms. Don’t allow anyone to pressure you into something you already know isn’t right. If you want to see someone change their attitude, pretend you are upset and act like you are going to leave. You will be amazed how often you end up getting something extra that you weren’t already offered.

d) Don’t let buying a new car stress you out. You are already prepared. Dealers today know that people aren’t standing in line to buy cars so it’s never been a better time to do so. You are more likely to actually enjoy and have fun buying this car than ever before. Economic has put consumers in control like never before, so enjoy and take advantage as you may never have this power again.

e) Even though the old days of the car business are now history, it’s still important to follow some basics: Anything someone told you about your car, anything that was promised during the negotiation process or any warranties or guarantees that were offered, you should insist that everything is in writing and part of your buyer’s order. Don’t leave the dealership and certainly don’t sign all the car loan documents if anything is left out.

6. What You Should Do After You Have Taken Delivery

Even the dealership will tell you they will contact your insurance company, it’s still your responsibility. In most states you have 30 days to do so but don’t delay, we suggest doing it the next business day just to be safe. Make sure you keep your copy of the loan documents and buyers order in a safe place especially if there are items you need to return to the dealership for. The reason for this is simply the person you bought the car from may no longer be there. That’s the reason we always want everything in writing.

If you had a good experience let people know. If you had a bad experience you probably got excited and didn’t follow the checklist but you need to let others know so they won’t make similar mistakes. There are many automotive forums and blogs out there that you can let everyone know your car buying experience. The more informed we all are the more money we can save the next time.

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