Did you just graduate from high school? Are you trying to figure out what your next steps in life will be? Whatever your situation, you most likely will need a car. So to help all you recent high school (or college) graduates out there, here are 10 tips for car buying that you can use before you show up at the car dealership.
1. Have someone with a good credit history co-sign the loan with you to help you get a better interest rate, which will in turn lower your monthly payments.
2. Shop your price range. Stick to what you can afford and that will help with you with your payments.
3. Buy during the last five days of the month, when the dealer will have more incentive to negotiate with you to get the car off of the lot.
4. Do your research. If you’re buying a used car, check the CarFax and make sure the vehicle hasn’t been owned by more than one person.
5. Research the dealerships in your area. Go to different websites and see which dealerships have good recommendations from previous customers and which ones do not. Having the right dealer can make all the difference in whether your car-buying experience is positive or negative.
6. Research lenders. Some lenders may offer programs for first-time buyers which in turn can help you get a better rate on your car loan.
7. Understand the concept of simple interest. Late payments will result in the loan accruing more interest, thus applying more of your payments to interest instead of principal.
8. Pay on time. No one wants to have a loan dragged out more than it has to be. Make sure when you sign for a loan you will be able to make your payments on or before they are due. This will make your life a lot easier and will have positive effects on your credit score.
9. Be firm with what you want to pay. No dealer wants to see a customer walk out empty handed when trying to sell a car, so most of the time the dealer will negotiate with you to find the best possible rate for you.
10. Be prepared. This means on every facet of buying a car. Have a price ready, be ready to negotiate, have a lender in mind, and test-drive the car. All of these things will help give you leverage so that you can get the best deal possible on your car.