Shopping for a new car needn’t be stressful if you’re organized and do your homework. Take a positive approach to the process and focus on the excitement of the experience, rather than the stress of negotiating the deal. Here are some tips to help you get started – our simple 12 steps to buying the right car for your needs at the best possible price.
Step 1: Determine What You Can Afford.
If you’re fortunate enough to be paying cash for a new car you may already have answered this question. If you’ll be financing the purchase, the first step is to determine the amount of your down payment. Consider the available cash in your bank account earmarked for this purpose, plus the value of your trade-in, if you have one, and any cash rebates that may apply. Next, contact one or more banks (or, if you’re a member, your credit union) to find out how large a loan you qualify for based on your down payment, income and credit rating. Be aware that this figure might vary among lenders, depending on a number of factors, including current loan rates and programs and their willingness to make higher loan-to-down-payment-ratio loans or to those who have less-than-pristine credit histories.