Searching for the perfect car can be extremely challenging, but landing a deal is possible if you come prepared.
Know what you are looking for, how much you are willing to pay, and what other options are available. If you are looking to save money, try being open to buying an older car with higher mileage. There are plenty of dealers that may sell certified pre-owned vehicles within your budget.
When looking at used cars, it’s a great idea to speak with your local mechanic to get their feedback. You should also look at Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, or the Long-Term Quality Index to double check the quality of specific car models. Knowing what you can afford with a pre-approved loan can also help you narrow down which cars you should be looking at.
Now that you have a plan in place, it’s time for the next step: Negotiation. Landing a great deal might be easier if you walk into the dealership with a pre-approved loan. And since you’ve done your research, you’ll know exactly what the car is worth. This preparation can allow you to control the conversation, as well as the potential pricing.
With a pre-approved loan, you’re essentially shopping for a vehicle as a cash buyer. This removes the opportunity for the seller to “play around” with the numbers and get more money out of you with an “appealing” monthly payment. The dealership won’t have as much wiggle room to take advantage of you.
When you get pre-approved for a loan, you can focus on finding the vehicle that’s right for you! Don’t show all of your cards up-front though; the dealer may still try to sway you into financing through their bank. But listen to their offer. They might surprise you with a high-quality deal. Remember, getting pre-approved for a loan costs you nothing. It’s free, and there is no obligation.
At the end of the day, both you and the dealer are trying to get a deal done. They’re just trying to not lose money on their car, and you’re trying to pay as little as possible. Going into the dealership with a plan, and having your financing in place are great steps towards helping you and the dealer reach an agreement.