To say car shopping isn’t for the faint of heart can seem like an understatement. Between the endless makes and models, options to choose from, financing and lease rates, and the sticker price, it can all seem a bit much. So what happens if you’re dealing with all of these factors on top of a tight budget? The majority of people out there don’t have the luxury of just walking into a car dealership and purchasing the first vehicle that catches their eye, so the sticker price tends to be a real driving force of the decision-making process.
With that in mind, we’ve gone ahead and put together a number of tips that can help you find the best deal when it comes to buying a car – both brand new and pre-owned.
Differentiate Between Your Wants and Needs
A great place to start the process is by creating a list of wants and then needs. The needs should be the priority, whereas the wants are more like an added bonus. When you start shopping it is the needs list that you need to be mindful of. As long as all of those are covered, and you are still under budget, then you can start looking for some of those wants.
Consider a Pre-Owned Vehicle
Another tip is to look into pre-owned vehicles. That doesn’t mean the car has to be really old, even something that is a year or two old will save you money. Look for something that still has warranty left and that will help cover any potential issues down the road. If you do decide to go the route of a pre-owned vehicle it’s also wise to get it inspected by a trusted mechanic before you make any sort of decision. At the very least it’s important you check it over yourself for any red flags.
Don't Be Afraid to Negotiate
If you're the type that looks at the sticker price on a vehicle as a firm price, it's time to think again. Consider it more of a starting point, and give your negotiating skills a workout. Just make sure that you are prepared to be firm and walk away if necessary, you don’t want to seem like you’re willing to crack.
Do Some Comparison Shopping
It's awfully difficult to know if you're getting a good deal without doing a little comparison shopping. Check out the various pricing for the cars you have your eyes on, and make sure that you aren't getting ripped off.
Research Makes and Models
To ensure that you don’t end up making a purchase you regret, it’s also wise to look at reviews from other drivers, and professionals. Learn about the pros and cons of the various models you have been eyeing, such as how they handle, their fuel efficiency, the average cost of repairs, the safety rating, etc. At the same time, you can look into what cars are in demand, and which aren't selling well. If the car isn't in demand, you'll have much more leverage when it comes to negotiating a great deal.
What Happens if You Have Bad Credit?
Budget aside, if you happen to have bad credit this throws a whole other wrench in the process. Bad credit can make it very difficult for you to be approved for a car loan by the dealership, or other big lending institutions. So what can you do?
The Crediful site takes a look at this issue in a blog they have posted about CarsDirect. CarsDirect acts as a liaison when it comes to finding a lender. It asks for some details from you and then is able to provide a list of lenders with the lowest rates. It also finds lenders who are willing to work with those who have bad or poor credit. It can save you a lot of time and hassle from having to do all the legwork yourself.
Now keep in mind that even though a service like this can help you find a lender, you should prepare for the fact that you will end up paying more in interest. Bad or poor credit will have you classified as a higher risk, so the lender will charge you more to borrow money.
A Deal That You Can Feel Happy With
By following these tips and steps you’ll be able to find a deal that you are not only happy with but feel confident in. There’s absolutely no reason that a tight budget should stop you from finding a great car.