It’s just transportation.
How often do you hear that? It might even be your own attitude about owning a car.If you’re not a car marketer’s stereotypical American, the one “in love” with anything on wheels, transportation still is important because it accounts for a big chunk of your budget. Here are some guidelines for finding the right car:
Decide how much you can afford—This is a decision for you and your family to make, not the dealer. The dealer sells cars every day, while you rarely buy a car. So the dealer is a lot more skilled at this transaction than you are.
Talk to a loan officer at Pioneer Federal Credit Union for help with this step. You can prequalify for a loan at the same time; this puts you in an excellent position to negotiate for the car at the dealership, since you’re effectively paying cash.
Settle on what kind of vehicle fits your needs—Once you know how much you’ll be able to spend, identify a few models in that price range that will work for you. If you haul a lot of stuff, you’ll need a car or truck that does that well. If you often transport a lot of kids, that calls for something else. If fuel efficiency is your top priority, that steers your choice another direction.
Use Consumer Reports magazine and the websites Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) and Edmunds (edmunds.com) to help you sort out features, including safety and reliability, that are important to you.
Be prepared to take your time—Your practical side wants to get a good deal and that calls for an investment of time; be assured it will pay off. Visit a few dealers offering the cars you’ve identified and take a few test drives. Some cars will drop off your list right away in this process, while others climb to higher positions on your list. Now it’s time to go home and do the rest of your shopping from your kitchen table or computer desk.
Call or email each dealership and ask what their best offer is for the car/s you’re interested in. Keep comparisons apples-to-apples by including the same features in each request.
Keep the three elements of the transaction separate— Financing, trade-in, and price negotiation are different transactions.
You’ll be really glad now that you already arranged financing at the credit union. If you want some feedback about the sales contract, before you sign it ask the dealer for a copy to bring to the credit union for review. One of our lenders can look it over and answer your questions and perhaps point out caution points.
Your practical side is a great fit with the car loan options you can find at Pioneer Federal Credit Union. We can be your best partner when it comes to driving the best car bargain.
Even if it’s just transportation.