With all the sales events going on this month I thought I’d take a moment to discuss a few car buying rules. It’s easy to get carried away by a good deal, or worse, a bad deal in holiday gift wrap. The thing is the deals are out there, but you have to keep your head straight. Here are a few of our industry insiders’ top tips for car buyers.
Do shop around. Find overstock offers, year-end clearance sales and dealer liquidations. Don’t fall in love. Expand your options to a few different makes and models, test drive them and compare prices.
Do research loan options. Know your credit score, if it’s better than 720 you’re likely to qualify for $0 down deals and a 6% interest rate bank loan.
Don’t take a long loan. Yes, the monthly payments sound awesome, but the longer you pay the more of your payment goes to interest.
Do lease. Many used 2009 models are back on dealer lots and leasing at the best values on the market.
Don’t lease. I know, contradicting myself here, but due to depreciating car values lease interest rates for new cars are often equal to loan payments.
Do read the business section. With many car manufactures in limbo it’s vital to understand who’s likely to climb their way out, dead brand vehicles are expected to depreciate faster than normal.
Don’t negotiate in person. Take advantage of email and telephone to communicate with dealers, this keeps YOU in YOUR comfort zone and will allow you to think through any deal on your own time.
To sum it all up, do your research and choose a car based on what is right for you. Don’t let a dealer, lender or commercial make your decision for you. Please post your "do’s and don’ts" in the comments, we’re all here to learn from each other.