Christmas is a great season for shopping. One of the best big purchases that you can make for yourself or a loved one is a car, but the process is a little tougher than just picking up a quick gift. If you are going to buy a car this Christmas season, you’ll definitely want to follow the six tips discussed below.
Research Before You Buy
One of the most important tips for buying a car is also one of the most obvious. You should never walk into a dealership blind, but rather loaded with plenty of information from other sources. The more you know about the vehicles that you’re looking at, the better the deal you’ll be able to get. Look at what the dealers have in stock, check out reviews of the cars, and pay attention to average prices to get a better idea of what you should get.
Have an Idea, Not a Dream
Most people have a dream car. While it’s lovely to fantasize, going into a dealer looking for a very specific vehicle is a good way to spend too much money. Instead, try to have an idea of what you’re looking for in a car before you make a purchase. This will help you to pay more attention to what you need than what you want and it will ultimately make it easier for you to prioritize your budget.
Pay Attention to Sales
Take a look at the various dealers around you to see who is holding a Christmas sale this year. Plenty of dealers start dropping prices at the end of the year, both in order to make room for next year’s models and to bring in a little bit of money before the holidays. Though many of these sales are advertised, some of the best sales might require some digging. Check to see if there are any programs going on that will benefit someone in your position, as programs exist that can range from easier financing for students to no down payments for veterans.
Get Your Financing Ready
One of the smartest things you can do when buying a car is to get your financing in order before you go to the dealer. This allows you to better set your own budget and it gives you a very powerful negotiating tool once you decide to buy. Dealers will be more likely to fight for a lower rate on your behalf if you can show them that you’re already approved for a specific rate, so don’t be afraid to bring the paperwork with you when you’re car shopping. This is the best way to avoid high interest rates and to get the car you want at a fair price.
Insist on a Test Drive
Always make sure that you drive your car before you finalize your purchase. Even if you’re using an online car dealer, you still have the right to request a test drive before you actually sign on the dotted line. Only by driving the vehicle can you get a feel for who it handles and how suitable it will be for you, so make sure that you don’t make a purchase without taking the car around the block a time or two.
Negotiate on Your Terms
Finally, try to remember that an important part of buying a car is negotiation. Go into the process remembering that you are ultimately the person in control of the situation and that you can walk away whenever you like. You don’t need to reveal information about trade-ins or promotions early on, which can let you leverage that information later. Find the price you want and stick to it so that you can ensure that you’re getting the car you want at a price that won’t cause problems for you later down the road.