Washington is 18th on Bankrate.com’s list of the most expensive states to own a car. While owning a car in Seattle is not as costly as owning a car in any city in Georgia (the number one state on the list), Seattle residents should still strive to reduce their ownership costs. One of the most effective ways to do this is to utilize the wealth of resources available on the Internet when car shopping. Here are some things you should do online to save money on a new car purchase:
Research invoice prices
If you want to determine a vehicle’s fair price, you need to know its invoice price. Also known as dealer cost, the invoice price is roughly the amount the dealer pays the manufacturer to get the vehicle. It is given that name because the price is found on the invoice the automaker sends the dealer when a vehicle is delivered to the dealership from the factory. Many suggest starting negotiations on the invoice price.
You can check out invoice prices at Edmunds.com, or visit fightingchance.com to order The Fighting Chance information package for $39.95. The package contains invoice pricing information, among many other important details.
Find the best price
Once you have an estimated fair price on the car you want, get different quotes online. Only when you compare quotes will you find the best price for your chosen vehicle. You have the option to contact the respective Internet departments of your local dealers individually. However, if you want to get multiple quotes faster, submit quote requests to websites that will do the work for you. Edmunds.com, truecar.com, carsdirect.com and autos.com are just some of the websites that can get you different quotes from different dealers.
Prepare to finance
If you will be financing the car, make sure to know your credit prior to loan shopping. You can shop smarter if you know what you qualify for based on your credit. Get a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com—you are entitled to one free copy from each credit bureau every 12 months. As for your credit score, obtain it from FICO.com or freecreditreport.com.
Determine a fair and reasonable trade-in amount
Get a realistic price for your current car by consulting the Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com), which lists down estimated trade-in and private resale values. Know that you can sell the car yourself and use the money for down payment.
Closing the Deal
How do the aforementioned steps help you save money? When you comparison shop, you are more likely to get a good price. So call all the dealers you got quotes from and pit them against each other. See if they can beat the lowest price you got. Once the dealers’ prices cannot go any lower, close the deal with the dealer that offered the lowest price. If you opt for dealer lending, you can start negotiating the financing only after you have sold your current car or you and the dealer have settled on a fair trade-in value. If you decide on direct lending, compare rates and see which lender offers the best rate for your credit standing.
You can save a substantial sum in your purchase with a trade-in. The trade-in value will be subtracted from the new car’s purchase price, and the sales tax you will pay is only for the difference. Therefore, it is important to get the most out of your trade-in.