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5 Things To Do Before Visiting The Dealership

5 Things To Do Before Visiting The Dealership

With car dealerships offering specials and promotions on the previous year’s models, it may be one of the best times to buy a car. But, before you take the plunge and head off to your local dealership, there’s some things you should do beforehand.

Verify Your Credit Score

Monitoring your credit score regularly allows you to know where you stand and how financial decisions will affect your credit. Determining where your credit score falls will give you a better idea of what to expect when exploring special offers and financing options. Most of the specials that dealerships offer are for “well-qualifying borrowers”, meaning you need to have a very high credit score. When researching the promotions, make sure your credit score falls within the outlined parameters. Having a good idea of your standing and the interest rates available can act as an excellent negotiating tool.

Know How Much You Can Afford

It’s important to calculate your estimated monthly payment, for the vehicle you’ve had your eyes on before you get talked into making the purchase. Using an auto loan calculator will give you a realistic picture of how much you can afford, by entering the cost of the vehicle, the range your credit score falls into, and your term. If the monthly payment or interest rate isn’t what you were looking for, putting money down up-front or trading in your old car can help stretch your budget.

Trade In

When dealerships extend an offer for your trade-in they have to take into consideration the vehicle’s popularity. If your vehicle isn’t what the dealerships’ clientele is looking for they may not give you the best price, because they need to ensure their return on investment. To maximize your profit gains and stretch your budget as far as possible, you may want to consider selling the trade-in via a private sale. If you have a trade-in, research what it’s worth ahead of time on a site like, Kelley Blue Book, to decide if you want to bring your old vehicle with you to the dealership.

Research Vehicles and Compare Prices

Knowing the vehicle and options you want beforehand helps you stay focused when shopping at car dealerships. Compare features and reviews of various vehicles and see what others paid for the vehicle you want.

Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved lets you know your interest rate, monthly payment and the total amount you can spend before ever arriving at a dealership. Pre-approved financing also allows you to be in a stronger position to negotiate, by letting the dealership know you’re serious. When researching various lenders to get your pre-approval, compare rates and terms and make sure they stay within your budget. Too many credit inquiries can lower your credit score. If applying with various lenders to shop for your best financing option, make sure you do so within a reasonably short period of time. This will lessen the effect on your credit score. Also, only inquire about credit for one type of product during this time frame. For example, don’t shop for auto loans and credit cards at the same time.

Researching your financial standing, lending options, and the dealership itself can help you avoid a stressful time when purchasing your vehicle. Position yourself as a well-educated shopper and save time and money.


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