Buying a new car can sometimes feel like a hostage negotiation. You don't want to give up too much, and all it takes is one wrong word to give the upper hand to the other side.
If you're stressing about haggling with a professional car salesperson, though, don't worry about it. All you need to do are keep the following tips in mind, and you'll be able to drive away with your head held high.
Tip #1: Stay Focused on The Overall Price (Not Your Monthly Payment)
One of the most common sales tricks is to get you focused on what you'll be paying per month for your car, rather than on what the overall price for your vehicle is going to be when all is said and done. Do not fall for this.
What makes this trick so insidious is that it's possible to have a really low monthly rate, while still paying thousands over your budget for the car overall. The more monthly payments you have to make, and the longer it takes you to pay off your car, the less advantageous this deal is for you, according to US News.
Tip #2: Know What The Car You're Looking At Is Worth
In the past, finding out the real value of a car was an endeavor that took a lot of time and effort if you weren't already plugged-in to the sales game. These days, though, all it takes is a brief search on the Internet to get a ballpark value for any given vehicle for any given year. One of the best things you can do, according to Cheat Sheet, is to use that power.
Whether you're sitting in your home office before you go down to the lot, or you pull out your smartphone in order to check the facts and figures on a given car, you have the information in the palm of your hand. Don't be afraid to use it to bring your dealer's price down!
Tip #3: Have Offers From Other Dealers
When dealers compete, it can do nothing but help you. If you travel to other dealerships, and you get written/printed offers from them for a particular vehicle, that can act as a serious bargaining chip when you have a salesman who really wants to move inventory. If you're on their lot and willing to buy, they don't want you to leave when there's someone offering a better deal, so they may be willing to meet (or even exceed) the offer that's been made by a competitor for your business.
Tip #4: Get A Pre-Approved Financing Offer
One way the dealer makes an additional profit is by giving you financing options for buying their cars. That is precisely why you should go to a bank a credit union, or another lender and get a pre-approved financing offer from them before you come to a car dealer.
If you walk onto the lot with a financing offer in hand, then the dealer has a motivation to offer you a better deal in order to get you to finance with them instead of your local lender. And even if the dealer can't offer you better terms, this ensures you have all your numbers in place before you agree to the terms of a sale.
Tip #5: Beware The Trade-In
Lots of people will try to trade their existing car in as a way to get a better deal with a salesman... however, this can backfire. When you trade in a car, it's now easier for the dealer to use that as a smoke screen to either increase the cost of the car you're buying (effectively low-balling you on your trade-in value), or to give you less value for that trade in than it's worth to maximize their profit on the sale.
Shop around for trade-in value, and make sure you're getting the best possible value on that old car. Even if it means making an extra trip, the savings is totally worth it.