Purchasing a vehicle is an important life decision. Slow down, take your time, and do it right. You don't want to have buyer's remorse over any part of the transaction: the vehicle, the financing, or the process.
1. Do your research before visiting the dealer. Find out which kind of vehicle you want, determine your budget, and read up on customers’ reviews of your chosen car. If you walk in knowing nothing, the dealer will quickly take advantage of your naivety.
2. Be ambiguous. Don’t give the impression that you’re definitely buying through this dealer or they won’t be trying their hardest to give you the best deal. You can even drop hints that you’ve already found several vehicles that you are seriously considering.
3. Don’t agree to any “extras” for protection. Etching, rustproofing and paint-and-fabric protection aren’t worth much – and they definitely aren’t worth what they charge you for it!
4. If you have excellent credit, and you're buying a newer vehicle, expect an interest rate below 5%. Don’t fall for anything higher or it means the dealer is just hiking up the rate at your expense.
5. Don’t automatically agree to all damage waivers you’re offered. Many are unnecessary and provide insufficient coverage. Do careful research on each service before signing up for it.
6. Visit Towpath Credit Union for a pre-approval, no matter how good a deal may sound. We can pre-approve you for a purchase with no impact to your credit*.
*Credit Score/Hard Inquiry disclosure: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, we conduct a soft credit pull that does not affect your credit score. However, if you choose one of our offered loan terms and continue your application, we will request your full credit report which will be considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score.
Director of Member Development, Everyday Finance Contributor