How To Buy A New Car From A Dealership
But many Americans make big mistakes buying cars. Take new car purchases with a trade-in. A third of buyers roll over an average of $5,000 in debt from their last car into their new loan. They're paying for a car they don't drive anymore. Ouch! That is not a winning personal finance strategy.
how to buy a new car from a dealership
"The single best advice I can give to people is to get preapproved for a car loan from your bank, a credit union or an online lender," says Philip Reed. He's the autos editor at the personal finance site NerdWallet. He also worked undercover at an auto dealership to learn the secrets of the business when he worked for the car-buying site Edmunds.com. So Reed is going to pull back the curtain on the car-buying game.
For one thing, he says, getting a loan from a lender outside the car dealership prompts buyers to think about a crucial question. "How much car can I afford? You want to do that before a salesperson has you falling in love with the limited model with the sunroof and leather seats. "
Van Alst says many people don't realize it, but the dealership is allowed to jack up the rate it offers you above what you actually qualify for. So with your credit score, "you might qualify for an interest rate of 6%," says Van Alst. But, he says, the dealership might not tell you that and offer you a 9% rate. If you take that bad deal, you could pay thousands of dollars more in interest. Van Alst says the dealership and its finance company, "they'll split that extra money."
So at the dealership, Reed and Van Alst both say, the first step is to start with the price of the vehicle you are buying. The salesperson at the dealership will often want to know if you're planning to trade in another car and whether you're also looking to get a loan through the dealership. Reed says don't answer those questions! That makes the game too complicated, and you're playing against pros. If you negotiate a really good purchase price on the car, they might jack up the interest rate to make extra money on you that way or lowball you on your trade-in. They can juggle all those factors in their head at once. You don't want to. Keep it simple. One thing at a time.
Once you settle on a price, then you can talk about a trade-in if you have one. But Reed and Van Alst say to do your homework there too. A little research online can tell you what your trade is worth in ballpark terms. Reed suggests looking at the free pricing guides at Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book and NADA. On Autotrader, you can also see what people in your area are asking for your car model. And he says, "You can get an actual offer from Carvana.com and also by taking the car to a CarMax, where they will write you a check on the spot."
So he and Van Alst say don't be afraid to walk away or buy the car at a good price without the trade-in if you feel the dealership is lowballing you on your old car. You have plenty of other good options these days.
"You're led to this back office. They'll often refer to it as the box," says Van Alst. This is where the dealership will try to sell you extended warranties, tire protection plans, paint protection plans, something called gap insurance. Dealerships make a lot of money on this stuff. And Van Alst says it's often very overpriced and most people have no idea how to figure out a fair price.
"Concerning the extended factory warranty, you can always buy it later," says Reed. "So if you're buying a new car, you can buy it in three years from now, just before it goes out of warranty." At that point, if you want the extended warranty, he says, you should call several dealerships and ask for the best price each can offer. That way, he says, you're not rolling the cost into your car loan and paying interest on a service you wouldn't even use for three years because you're still covered by the new car's warranty.
Reed says a colleague at NerdWallet actually bought a minivan recently and "when she got home, she looked at the contract." She had asked for a five-year loan but said the dealership instead stuck her with a seven-year loan. "And they included a factory warranty which she didn't request and she didn't want." Reed says she was able to cancel the entire contract, remove the extended warranty and get a rebate on it.
NPR has a personal finance Facebook group called Your Money and Your Life. And we asked group members about car buying. Many said they were shocked by how much money some other people in the group said they were spending on cars. Patricia and Dean Raeker from Minneapolis wrote, "40 years of owning vehicles and our total transportation purchases don't even add up to the cost of one of the financed ones these folks are talking about."
As a result, car shoppers today face a limited selection and price hikes from either dealer-added (often non-negotiable) accessories or "market adjustments." Discounts of any sort are scarcer than the cars themselves, leaving buyers with no negotiating power. If you don't like the price of a car, the dealership is betting the next person will. This leads to a greater sense of urgency to make a quick decision on a deal since the car may not be there if you go home to think about it.
These are far from normal times in terms of both the selection of cars available and the lack of discounts you may encounter. If you need a new vehicle today, we suggest starting your shopping process sooner rather than later, as analysts predict that the chipset shortage will likely affect pricing and inventory through this year and into 2023.
A preapproved auto loan starts you out on the right foot. You get an idea of how much you can afford, and you'll have an interest rate that you can then compare to the dealership's financing, which might actually offer the lowest annual percentage rate. Look for a loan application on the mobile web pages of your bank, credit union, or other lenders such as Capital One or Nationwide. It's a good idea to do your own research on which lender will work best for you.
There's a faster alternative to trading in a car or selling it yourself: Get an instant offer from Edmunds. The offer is good for seven days, at which point you can ask your local dealership to beat that price or you can sell your car to one of our participating dealerships.
By now, you've settled on a few car candidates. You should see them in person before making a decision. Hundreds of car dealerships throughout the country list their car inventories on Edmunds. And in many cases, you can sort by color, trim level and features. It's a better way to shop than configuring a car on the automaker's website and hoping you will find one with that set of options in the real world. All the listings you'll find on Edmunds pages are real cars with a variety of options. Most will have an Edmunds suggested price that should be comparable to what others are paying.
If you follow the steps below with Edmunds, a salesperson from the dealership will contact you to schedule a test drive. If you found the vehicle on another site, call the dealership's internet sales department to request more information. In either case, keep these do's and don'ts in mind:
Call, text or email the internet sales department of three dealerships that have the car you want. Ask each for the total selling price, including any additional accessories that may have already been installed on the car. The best price will be obvious. You also can take that quote and ask the other dealerships to beat it. If you plan on leasing, this is the way to go.
You can save time and trouble by using Edmunds' new inventory tool, to get a locked-in price that's designed to be comparable to the average price that others are paying in your area. We even label which prices are better than others. Make sure you ask the salesperson to email or text you a breakdown of the "out-the-door price," with all the taxes and fees factored in. That lets you see the total amount you'll be spending.
Here's how you do it: Call the dealership finance manager and ask about these products and services. They may be of value to you, but just know that the price is often something you can negotiate. And you don't have to buy them when you buy the car unless you intend to fold their price into the purchase contract.
Now that you have a price quote for the car, your big question is probably whether it's competitive. We have an Edmunds price checker tool on each piece of inventory that allows you to size up the dealership's price for a specific car you're about to purchase. This will give you some perspective and peace of mind on the price you're paying. In the past, we called it "Edmunds TMV" or "Average Price Paid." It's the amount that others are paying in your area for a similarly equipped car.
Keep in mind that a fair price is exactly that. Some people have paid more and others paid less. Some shoppers are only happy if they negotiate their way to a rock-bottom price. But for most shoppers, that usually isn't worth the hassle and frustration. And if your price quote is above the average, it's not necessarily a reason to walk away from a deal. Here's why:
A car's price isn't the only factor that determines a good car deal. You also should look at the interest rate, the loan term, and the value of your trade-in if that's part of your deal. There are even some intangibles, such as how the salesperson and the dealership treat you and the time you save in the shopping process. Those are all factors in a good deal. In fact, at this point in the process, you may be able to improve parts of it.
To see if that's possible, let the dealership run a credit report and assess your interest rate. Or if you know your credit score, tell the finance manager what it is and the rate for which you'd qualify. You can give your information to the finance manager over the phone. Some dealerships have credit applications on their websites, and you can fill one out. If the interest rate is lower than the one in your preapproved loan, go for it. If not, you already have a good loan locked in. 041b061a72