Fall marks the unofficial start to the car-buying season as dealers roll out 2019 models. If you plan to seize the moment, here’s how to walk away with the car you want without regrets.
Go prepared: “Find out everything about the vehicle in advance. Know what you want. The salesman will have you test drive a fully loaded car. If you're not looking for extras, don't pony up for higher-end packages,” says Joshua Zimmelman, president of Westwood Tax & Consulting in Rockville Centre.
Get online quotes. Call multiple dealerships. Ask what’s the best price on a particular car and if it’s in stock. “If yes, have them email a signed statement that it’s available. Compare prices from several dealerships and choose the lowest one. Make the dealers compete for your business and not the other way around,” says Alvin Reyes, associate editor of Automoblog.net.
Get your financing first. “Relying on the dealership can cost you thousands of dollars in fees and markups,” says Sonia Steinway, co-founder of Outside Financial in La Jolla, California.
Don’t be tempted by low- or zero-down deals: A low- or zero-money-down offer sounds enticing, but think big picture. “Those low-down and low-monthly plans come with higher interest rates. You’ll pay more money at the end of the loan agreement. Save thousands by simply making a substantial down payment,” Reyes says.
Make the first offer: It's best to "anchor" the parameters of the negotiation by making the first offer. Says Phoenix attorney James Goodnow, “Don’t be afraid to put in an offer at or below the dealer invoice price.”