Many drivers looking to buy a new car are intimidated by the idea of visiting a car dealership. Negotiating can be an uncomfortable process, especially for beginners. In addition, you’re up against a trained salesperson who negotiates as part of their job. If you want a good deal and a smooth negotiation process, it’s important to prepare before hitting the dealership. Try these tips and tricks to negotiate a new car price with your salesperson.
What to Research Before You Visit the Dealership
Doing a little research before you visit the dealer is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Find the Right Car for You
With so much information at our fingertips, there’s no shortage of websites you can visit to research your future car. Brainstorm the type of car you want to purchase and start researching what make and model are best suited to your needs and budget.
The next step is to research the current market value of the car and how much it typically costs. Using a car appraisal tool is a good way to see the value of the car by area. Once you’ve done your research, you can arrive at a price range to present to your car salesman.
See What Incentives Are Available
Many manufacturers offer customers incentives for purchasing a specific car, especially if it’s an older model they’re looking to move off the lot. Research these incentives so you can ask your salesperson to include them in your deal. If you’re financing or leasing a vehicle, check to see if the automaker offers any low interest rates on your specific car model. If you get approved for a special rate, it might be cheaper than a loan from your bank.
Learn Your Credit Score
Your credit score can play a large role in deciding what loans you qualify for and your interest rate. Learning your credit score can help you set a budget and give you a rough idea of how much your financing will cost. If your credit score qualifies you for a better financing deal than the one your dealer makes, you can use it as a leveraging tool to secure something better. You don’t want to be surprised with any credit problems while you’re mid negotiation, so learn your score ahead of time.
Explore Your Financing Options
Research a few different car loan options before you visit the dealership so you can compare and find the best price. Some sites let you get multiple financing offers via one application. If you bring a few offers to the dealership, you can set a limit on how much you’re willing to spend on financing. The dealership may offer you a better loan after all, and they’ll be more incentivized to do so if you present them with your other options.
Find the Right Dealership
Not all dealerships are created equal, so peruse online reviews to find one in your area that has positive ratings.
How to Negotiate Efficiently
Now that you know what to research before your visit, keep these tips in mind while you’re negotiating.
Be Willing to Walk Away
The purpose of negotiating is to get the best deal possible. Negotiating for a new car can make you feel nervous but keeping a level head and being professional will help your interaction go smoothly. Try to look at it as a business transaction—avoid bringing emotion into it. You might feel attached to the car or the deal you’ve been negotiating, but don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t feel like you’re getting a fair price.
Negotiate Each Part Separately
Your salesperson might try to negotiate the entire transaction at one time or ask how much you’re willing to pay per month. Try to avoid negotiating this way as it allows dealers to offer you a low monthly payment while stretching your loan or making money in another area. Ask to negotiate each part of the car individually, including the car price, trade-in value, financing, and add-ons. You can also ask for the “drive-away” or “out-the-door” price of the vehicle you’re interested in, which usually costs more than the sticker price.
If in-person negotiating makes you uncomfortable, try getting quoted from a few different dealerships via email. Using email leaves a paper trail and allows you to compare quotes from multiple dealerships to help you get the best price. Since email interactions are virtual, it helps keep emotion out of the picture.
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