An Advisor's Tips for Buying a Car

27

At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity that will help you decide with confidence. Many or all the products featured listed here are from our partners. Here’s the way we earn money.

Learn much more about Roslyn?on NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor?

It’s easy to spend more than you planned when purchasing a car. The nicer, more costly cars are generally parked prominently on the showroom floor, as the average, less expensive cars are less visible. Once you discover those shiny cars, it’s not hard to become so excited that you simply forget your financial allowance.

But spending too much on a car creates unnecessary financial stress. Despite the flashy rides and too-good-to-be-true deals you may see, there are some things you can do to stay in your financial lane when buying a car.

Set a budget

To manage your money properly and stop buyer’s remorse, make a monthly budget to find out how much you can comfortably afford for any car. Deduct your monthly expenses, including the amount you’ve allotted for savings, out of your monthly take-home income. You should use the rest of the amount for?your car payment, insurance and car expenses.

Do your research

Before you go to a dealership, research what car you want to buy. There are lots of?online learning resources for car buying, including?Edmunds and Prizes, where you can check out performance reviews, car values and more. Should you go to the dealership without having done your homework, you might pay more for a car because you’ll be unfamiliar with it is true value and then any consumer complaints that could influence your selection or assist you to negotiate a good price.

Get preapproved for a loan

Monthly payments are determined not just by the cost of the car but additionally by the rate of interest on the loan. A lesser rate of interest means a lesser monthly payment. In order to save just as much money as possible, compare the eye rates provided by your bank or credit union and other auto loan providers to obtain the most reasonable rate. Get preapproved for the amount you can afford before you visit the dealership to negotiate the acquisition. Remember, when determining the monthly amount you can afford, give yourself some padding for car insurance along with other expenses.

Get an automobile report

Viewing a used car’s?vehicle history report can help strengthen your bargaining position or be sure that the car is in good shape. You can observe if the service records correlate with the car’s mileage records or maybe there are any problems you might not happen to be conscious of. Understanding the history of a car may also help you avoid investing in future repairs. To be able to obtain the report, you’ll need the car’s vehicle identification number. The VIN might be indexed by online advertisements, or you can contact the dealership directly. Many dealerships will provide these reports free of charge should you ask. If you’re?buying a used car from a private party, you can buy an automobile history report from CarFax or AutoCheck.

Get an inspection

If you’re buying a used car, get it inspected by a completely independent mechanic. The inspection should cost?under?$100. This is a small amount to cover the peace of mind of understanding the car is reliable. If you discover an issue, you can ask the dealership to help make the repair or negotiate a lower price. Both options will reduce your total cost. If possible, obtain a complimentary warranty of at least Thirty days, that provides some protection when the car has problems immediately after you buy it.

Be a smart negotiator

If you don’t?have approved financing, never tell the salesperson the payment per month amount you can afford. Should you divulge this information, the dealership only will adjust the terms or length of the financing arrangement to fit that payment amount. Your payments may still be within your budget, but overall you may be paying a lot more?because you’d?be paying a bit longer.?Instead, you should negotiate directly on the price of the vehicle. Before agreeing to the offer, request the entire price, plus a breakdown of the required taxes and fees.?This is whats called the “out the door” cost.

Be ready to walk away

When you’re negotiating the price, if you cannot come to an agreement, leave the dealership. You are the one that will be responsible for those payments, not the salesperson. So save yourself some cash, reduce the frustration of haggling, leave and take your cash with you. There are other cars and money to become saved at other dealerships.

Roslyn Lash, AFC,?is really a financial educator and coach at?Youth Smart Financial Education Services?in Winston-Salem, New york.

This article also appears on Nasdaq.