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How to buy a car the smart way

We all know “that guy” who got a fantastic deal on his new car. But how did he manage to do it when mere mortals like us always seem to wind up paying the full price?

Well, as with most things like this, it doesn’t come down to a single strategy. Several factors come into play when determining how much you’ll pay as a regular customer.

Get your loan pre-approved

Time is money. And the principle applies whether you’re an accountant or a car dealership. The more time it’s going to take to make a sale, the less lucrative it is.

Think about it this way: if you were selling cars, which would you prefer? Would you rather have a string of customers needing finance walking into your office? Or would you like people with wads of cash bulging out of their trouser pockets? Most dealers would prefer the latter.

But here’s the thing: you don’t actually need to have the cash from your own savings. From the dealer’s perspective, it doesn’t matter if you just withdrew your deposit or received a loan. To them, cash is cash. So walking in with a pre-approved loan is usually all the incentive they need to provide you with a great deal.

Negotiate the price first

Here’s another trick you can use: negotiate the price first before talking about anything else, like the fact that you want to sell a car. Professional negotiators will often use your vehicle as leverage to bring down the price on the new vehicle you want, helping them to make a bigger profit in the first place.

Experts advise that you avoid conversations like this. Instead, focus solely on the price they’re willing to sell the vehicle to you for. Then, once you have that established, you can introduce new complications, like the fact you have a car you want to trade-in.

View multiple vehicles

When choosing a car, it makes sense to view multiple vehicles. Look at a variety of used cars for sale before coming to a decision about which you want. While you might have seen a particular model you love online, it might not live up to your expectations when you interact with it in person.

Choose brands that offer quality and low cost

In the automotive worlds, there’s usually a trade-off between the driver experience of a vehicle and the cost of ownership. If you want a luxury experience, you can pay extra to get it, but you’ll always have higher ongoing costs. Similarly, you can accept a lower performance vehicle with lower running costs, but the experience of driving it won’t be as good.

Interestingly, though, there are exceptions to this rule. Some brands offer both low cost of ownership and exceptional performance. Certain Japanese automakers, for instance, are famous for giving their customers both incredible driving experiences and vehicles that will run for hundreds of thousands of miles.

When choosing a second-hand car, it is worth bearing this idea in mind.

** This is a collaborative post

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