Process of Buying a Car

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    Make a List

    • There are several things you need to look at before you purchase a new car. Since you will be spending thousands of dollars and will have this vehicle for five to seven years, it is important that you have all the knowledge you need to make a good selection. The first step is to simply make a list of every vehicle you would like to own. This list is for no one but you, and the sky is the limit as to what car you want. You will probably not test drive all of these vehicles (especially if there is something like a Ferrari on the list), but this will give you a good starting point. Take a look at your lifestyle and what activities you enjoy. This will help you pare down your list to something a bit more manageable as you choose vehicles that fit your daily life.

    Do Your Homework

    • Gather information on the cars you have chosen. This information is easily available online at such reputable sites as Edmunds.com and Cars.com (see Resources). Do not go into a dealership yet as the sales people may try to get you to buy before you are ready. Get the pricing information if you can, including the MSRP and dealer invoice price. The MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) is the price that the car makers suggest the dealers sell the cars at, and the dealer's invoice price is the price the dealer pays for the car. The key to finding a good price is to pay somewhere between these two prices.
      Look for any special deals which dealerships around you may be having. You can usually look at your local newspaper for sales and bargains. Finally, make sure your credit history is up to date and you don't have any outstanding delinquencies or late payments. Try to get approved for a car loan, if you can. This way, you will have options when it comes to financing.

    Buy the Car

    • Now is the time to visit the dealerships. Start out by test-driving the cars you like. Do not let the sales people push you into vehicles which are not on your list or are out of your price range. Get a feel for each car and decide on the one that fits you the best. Once you have decided, it is time to begin negotiations. If you have done your homework, the negotiating should be easy. Your knowledge about price and what other dealers are doing should make the negotiations go in your favor. The more you know, the better off you will and the better price you will get. Be prepared to wait as long as you have to and to walk away if you are getting nowhere.

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