3 Things to Do Before Buying a Car

Buying a car is a big decision, and it's important to be prepared before you go to the dealership. To ensure you get the best quality vehicle at the lowest price, here are 10 tips and strategies to consider. First, decide if you want to buy a new or used car, or if you would like to buy or lease. Research cars that might interest you before going to the dealership, instead of going unawares.

Use resources like US News Best Cars and Autotrader to search for new and used cars in your area by make, model, price, body style, and more. When you're ready to buy a used car, it's always a good idea to get pre-approved for financing before going to the dealership. Pre-approval allows you to compare any offer from the dealer's financing division to that of your financial institution, so you can leave knowing that you got the best offer no matter which option you choose. When determining what type of car you want, consider the Top 5 Worst Mistakes When Buying a Car.

If you are planning to finance, enter the APR offered by your lending institution and decide on the term you want; it can be 4 years, 5 years, or some other loan duration. Be sure to deduct the trade-in value if you have a current vehicle. A better way to do this is a five-year loan for a new car, and with a used car you should finance it only for three years. When buying (owning), you fund the total cost of the vehicle, regardless of how long you plan to use it or how many miles it covers.

If you are planning to expand your family next year and think you may find yourself looking for a larger car, it may be worth opting to buy rather than lease. At the dealership, start with the price of the vehicle you're buying. Verify your credit rating if you are financing. While vehicle history reports are available for purchase, the truth is that you shouldn't have to pay for one if you buy from a used car dealership.

Don't be afraid to leave or buy the car at a good price without the exchange if you feel that the dealership is lowering the price of your old car. In addition, do additional research on the history of each used car you consider to make sure you're not buying a lemon. When determining what to look for when buying a used car, remember that average resale value is a key metric. Vehicles with low resale values may seem like a great deal for used car buyers, but cheap used cars often start to have problems just as they reach full depreciation and the warranty runs out.When buying a car, remember that it may be worth doing your homework and being prepared before going to the dealership.

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