So you’re looking to buy a new car and you either have a small idea or no idea on what to do. You’ve also got bad credit? That’s ok. This is not a “How to Buy a New Car with Bad Credit” book; however, here are a few key things that are necessary to keep in mind.

Time

Marriages, buying a house, having a baby, etc, are all big decisions. Who likes to be rushed when making a big decision? No one does. Buying a car is a big decision. Give yourself some time to: Do your research, visit a few dealerships, pick out a few cars that suit your interest, etc. Dealers will try to pigeonhole you into making a quick decision. If you have carved out a block of time, this won’t happen. You will remain calm and in control of your decision process. After all, you will be responsible for the car, not the dealer.

Research/Homework

Check the safety, fuel economy, reliability, and the pricing of the models you are considering. As well as the incentives and rebates that are available and know how much you want to spend on a new car. This gives you the upper hand. By that I mean you will have already made a preliminary decision, and you’re going in to qualify the dealer and the car. Without this, the car dealer has the upper hand as well as total control. Do you want to have control of the situation? Well then, do your homework. Nobody likes the feeling of being ripped off. Do not walk into a dealership without first doing your research.

Financing

Go to several banks, credit unions or loan establishments to know what interest rates you qualify for before checking the dealer’s rate. If you are pre-approved by one of the organizations mentioned above, you can keep financing out of the equation. Also, determine the monthly payment for the car you want to buy.

Prices

So you see a lot full of cars and what is on them? Price stickers! They’re everywhere. Do not be overwhelmed or fooled. Those “sticker prices” are usually not the “actual price” of the car. Those prices are not what the dealer paid so always keep in mind that they are negotiable. The dealer invoice prices are commonly available on websites or in pricing guides. My recommendation is to get quotes from several dealers then contact the other dealers and see if they will match another dealer’s quote.

Negotiations

Make it clear that you want the lowest possible markup over you starting price, and that you intend to visit other dealerships selling the same vehicle. And will buy from the dealer with the best price. If you have already done your research, you can allude to a price that has been offered to you; if that price is lower. Do not rush through this step. Sales people will try to bundle everything together and paint a good picture for you. Do not agree to anything you do not need. Dealers will try to sell you extras such as paint protection or fabric protection. These are not necessary. Get a copy of each dealer’s worksheet, go home, review and compare before making your decision.

Decision Time

Check the dealer’s worksheet over with the contract. Make sure all numbers match up. Again, put a line through the things you do not need. After you’ve received a price you are comfortable with, inspect your car; check for dents, scratches, etc. If you’re paying for floor mats, make sure they’re added to the car. Once satisfied, take your keys. You are ready for the road in your brand new car, even though you’re buying a car with bad credit.

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