There is nothing quite like buying a new car or van. Not only does buying a new car give you the freedom to be on the road, but there are so many ways you can save money on it through a great car deal.
You can search for months for the perfect van for your business or for your family, but if you don’t know how to get the best car deal you’re going to end up paying the sticker cost. No one wants to pay sticker cost, not when you can negotiate and get something better! Some people choose to lease their vehicles to save some money, but others like to buy theirs outright and know that they own the van or car at the end.
You may already know that you can save money simply by waiting for the right time of year to buy a van in the first place. Leasing a van is different from buying one, as you can do it any time of year and still get the price you want (view source here for more information).
The most important thing here is that you need to look at as many tricks and tips as possible to get the best deal on your next purchase. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together nine of those epic van-buying tips to ensure that you get the best possible deal.
Know Your Budget
Before you buy any big purchase, this is the first thing that you should consider. You may have your heart set on a particular vehicle, but if you can’t afford it outright, you need to come up with ways you can make it fit your budget. You can’t take a car or van home unless you have a way of affording it, but the way to consider your budget depends on your income.
You shouldn’t spend more than a quarter of your monthly income on your car purchase/lease. Any more than that, and you are going to tighten your belt far too much. There are plenty of online calculators to figure out what you can afford, so check there first. Next, choose whether you can afford a brand new car or you can only afford a used one.
Narrow Down Your Choices
Now that you know what you can afford, and you know if you can buy new or used, you can start to narrow down what you want. You need to look at more than one website/car dealership if possible, but before you rush off to test drive it, remember that you need to assess the features that you are looking for as well as the recommended manufacturer’s retail prices. Once you know those, you can find the best options out there!
Work Out The Cost Of Ownership
Car costs don’t just end at the purchase you make. You need to know the average gas costs, repairs, insurance, maintenance, etc. There are so many websites that can give you a breakdown of what it costs to own a van.
Even when you lease a van, you need to make sure that you can afford the ongoing maintenance and insurance costs. Only you know how many miles you drive every day, so you can work out the average cost of the gas you’re going to use for the year and divide it to find the amount of money you’re going to spend.
Get Financing Sorted
Before you skip to the dealer to test drive your new van, get your finance sorted out. It’s going to be far easier on you if you have your money in place before you go.
Dealers want to do more than sell you a car. They want to help you with a loan for the vehicle. It’s why people like to lease a car: they’re dealing with a company that knows what they’re talking about!
The interest rates out there are always increasing, so it can help you to have an expert in the field who can find you the best deals on your car purchase. You can often find cars and vans with super low interest rates, but you have to ask about it to get the deal you want.
Shop Around For Finance
While you can get a great deal on finance at a dealership, you should shop around. You wouldn’t buy the first car you see, so you shouldn’t agree to finance if the interest is going to be more than the cost of the car. It might be tempting to go with a dealer because their offer looks really great, but if you don’t shop around you could be stung. Don’t forget: a dealer is trained to charm you into a sale!
Ask Questions On Pricing
Remember earlier where we said to research everything to do with finance and the car type you want? Well, you need to look at both the invoice price for new cars and the wholesale price for used ones. You should then compare this figure with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price and then with the dealer’s asking price.
The pricing online isn’t always accurate, which is why research is absolutely important. It’s a great jump-off point, but you need to get your negotiation skills out of the bag. When you do speak to a dealer, ask for a detailed quote, and ask questions about any points you’re concerned with. If there are any prices that don’t look familiar to you, you can ask questions about it and get a detailed breakdown.
You should understand what you’re paying for before you pay for it. You should see costs on sales tax and registration fees, documentation fees, too. Understanding these is vital to a successful purchase.
Find & Understand Discounts
When you head to a dealership, you should check out their possible discounts on offer. Some dealerships like to promote great cash-back deals, and this is something that should be worked down AFTER you’ve negotiated the price. If you’re a student, a member of the military, a member of a credit union, and more, you should be able to get a discount. If you’re not sure, you should ask!
There is no harm in trying to talk your way into a deal: it’s how car dealers do business! Think about the time of year you are planning to buy, too. There are always sales events, and even seasonal differences in costs, too.
The end of the year is when you can find the biggest discounts, as dealers are trying to get rid of their stock. If you wait to buy, they are going to be able to shave the cost right down and save you some cash. Outgoing models are those that will be the best for you, especially if you are looking to save money!
The test drive is one of the most important elements of your purchase. You need to know that the car/van runs in the way that will be safe and you should reach out for a test drive. You don’t want to be bullied into a deal, especially when you haven’t even tried out the car first. If you do buy after you test drive the car, it will be because you’re confident about it.
Do your own research and find opinions on certain models before you go and test drive it – you can’t always rely on the opinions of salespeople when you know that they are trying to sell you something! There is every chance that you’ll be keeping this car for five years or more, and that means that you need to make sure you love it. This is not a small purchase, so experiment with the controls and figure out whether you and your passengers would be comfortable.
Check out the features on offer and work out if you can pack the car properly, too. You need to be sure before you part with your cash.
It’s expected that you should barter for a new car; dealerships are expecting you to try to haggle down the price. You will fare better if you negotiate the sale price of your new car before you figure out what the value of your old car is for trade-in. You should aim to get a fair price on the trade-in as much as the car price itself. Take the time to sit down and make sure that you are savvy on pricing and see if other dealerships are offering discounts. If they are you can often barter based on that!
Don’t sign any contracts for a new car until you have gone over every single detail. You need to also get everything that has been agreed verbally in writing – you don’t want to be stung by a “but you said…” situation. If it isn’t in writing, then it’s not real. From leasing to purchasing, you deserve the best possible offer you can get. Shop around and get that great deal you’ve been looking for.