Car shopping has a reputation for being tricky and confusing. Here are five tips to use at the dealership to help make your car buying experience a simple one.
- 1. Know what you should pay. An educated consumer generally gets the best deal. Cars are commonly sold below the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price or “MSRP.” A good starting point is the dealer’s invoice price which you can find on an auto website like Kelley Blue Book. The dealer’s invoice price can be a good target in your negotiations. Getting a price lower than invoice is difficult.
2. Negotiate the best price for the car you want to buy first. Don’t talk about your trade-in, cash deposits, down payments or financing options. Save those details for later. Also, don’t start negotiating until you’re ready to buy. Serious buyers get the most attention and the best deals.
3. Be professional, level headed and informed. You want to know you’re getting a good deal. Just like at a job, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and take notes. Write down any details or special offers the salesperson or manager has offered you to avoid bait and switch or confusion tactics.
4. Know when to be flexible. If getting the best deal is your goal, you may have to be flexible with on-site inventory like color and options.
5. Know when to walk away. You’re still the customer and if things aren’t going your way, it’s okay to take your business somewhere else. Don’t get flustered, angry or emotional. Let them know you need more time to make a decision and politely walk out. Try again at another time, another dealership or with another salesperson.
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