Getting Your First Car? How To Prepare For Your Visit To The Dealership

It's very exciting to explore dealerships for a car of your own! However, since car ownership is a big responsibility, you should do some things before your heart gets set on one type of vehicle. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a visit to the car dealership.

Research Beforehand and Mentally Prepare Yourself

While you may have one kind of car in mind, it's good to have a few options as backups. Before you go to the dealership, check out cars you are interested in in the Kelley Blue Book. The Kelley Blue Book is a research company that has valuation data on all sorts of vehicles. If you know what a car is worth in the Kelley Blue Book, then you can negotiate a vehicle's price tag down at the car lot. Besides researching different car valuations, get quotes from many different dealerships.

Once you are ready to go to the dealership, make sure that you seperate yourself emotionally from the purchase. While it is exciting to get a new car, you don't want to get buyer's remorse from an over-eager purchase. Know exactly what you are willing to pay, and be strong enough to leave if you can't negotiate within your budget.

Get Approved for a Car Loan

You'll be in a better negotiating position if you get approved for a car loan. When you have a pre-approved coupon or check, a dealership may be more willing to beat the interest rate. This is because some dealerships have "captive lenders." These lenders are run by car companies and provide people — especially those with strong credit scores — loans. Dealerships are eager to make a sale, so they will try their best to help you with the loan process.

Even if you have bad credit, make sure that you talk with a bank or credit union for a loan. These loans are easier to secure than other loans, and again, they will make the negotiating process easier.

Keep Your Mind Open to Used Cars or Leases

It's important to keep your mind open to many scenarios when going to a dealership. If buying a brand-new vehicle isn't working for your budget, why not consider buying a used car or leasing one? Car leases are great because you can make a small down payment — followed by monthly payments — that are much less than when purchasing. When the lease is up, you could just return the vehicle and apply for a new car lease.

A used car can also be a good option. Used cars depreciate a lot more slowly, and you'll pay less in registration fees and state sales taxes. Some used cars have really fun additions, like high-tech GPS, moonroofs, chic upholstery, etc. However, these add-ons aren't nearly as expensive as they would be if the car was brand new.

Contact a car dealership for more options.