Buying a car is an experience you will most likely repeat several times during your life. While it can be a fun time, it can also be overwhelming if you don't know what you want or how much you can comfortably afford. To avoid car buyer's remorse, let us help you get organized for your car buying experience.
The first thing you'll want to do is your homework. There is a lot of information available online and on mobile apps, and both new and seasoned car buyers can benefit from all the information. Use that information to get prepared and know what you want before going to the dealership. If it helps you, make a list of the features you want, what you can do without, and what features are a must-have.
Also, consider your trade-in if you have one and research what your vehicle is worth. "You can use apps like Kelly Blue Book, Cars.com, and TrueCar.com to help you determine how much your trade-in is worth, adjusting for its age, condition, and mileage," said Tracy, our centralized lending manager.
"When considering your loan term, you'll want to know how much you can comfortably afford with your monthly payments and the length of your loan term," said Tracy.
Next, if you plan to finance your car, you'll want to get pre-approved by your financial institution. It's always a good idea to have your financing lined up before you visit a dealership because it puts you in a better position to control your negotiating power. Salespeople are eager to sell you a car. Don't let the salesperson know right away if you are planning on trading in your vehicle. It's to your advantage to wait until you are satisfied with the price you'll be paying for your new car, then you can ask for a fair price on the trade-in.
Make sure you know the terms of your loan and how much you can afford. "When considering your loan term, you'll want to know how much you can comfortably afford with your monthly payments and the length of your loan term. With a longer-term, your monthly payments could be lower compared to a shorter loan term. However, having a shorter loan term, allows you to pay your car off early and you could possibly save on the total amount of interest you'll pay over the life of the loan," said Tracy.
For example, a monthly payment for an auto loan of $25,000 for 75 months at 2.99% APR could be as low as $366.1
Check out our 100% financing and low fixed rates with loan terms ranging from 48 months up to 84 months.2
Next, visit a car dealer and test drive the car, and make sure you feel good about it. From the moment you open the driver's side door, start getting a feel for the vehicle. Did you find it easy to get into the car? How does the steering wheel feel in your hands, and did you like driving the car? Does the size and style of the vehicle fit your needs and lifestyle? Also, consider things like gas mileage and maintenance costs. After your test drive, decide what make, model of vehicle you would like.
Need a car dealership where you can test drive and finance your vehicle in one place? Check out our Auto Dealership Locator to find one near you.
"When you're ready to seal the deal, we can help make the car buying process simple and easy," said Tracy.
If you can get a couple of quotes before you buy, it may help you get an idea of the right price for the vehicle. Don't be afraid to let dealers know you are working with another dealer, as this may help you get a better price. Don't make an offer right away. If possible, wait until the end of the month to close the deal on a new vehicle. The end of the month is usually a good time because each dealership has a quota to meet, and you may be able to work that in your favor. "When you're ready to seal the deal, we can help make the car buying process simple and easy. You can apply online through our secure loan application, or if you prefer, you can visit any of our locations," said Tracy.
Buying a car doesn’t have to be overwhelming and stressful. With research and thoughtful planning, you can make car buying a breeze. If you want to learn more about financing a car, check out our blog, "Ask the Expert: Common Questions about Car Financing."
Meet Tracy, our Centralized Lending Manager. He has been with us for 11 years. Tracy provides assistance to our members on lending products to include auto loans, unsecured installment loans, and lines of credit.
1Loan rates and terms based on creditworthiness and qualifying purchases.
2 APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Minimum loan amount of $5,000. Rate determined by creditworthiness, term of the loan, and loan to value (LTV). Payment is an example only and is based on a 2017 model vehicle or newer. Loan rates and terms based on creditworthiness and qualifying purchase, so your rate may differ. Rates quoted assume excellent borrower credit history. Not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. AllSouth does not permit internal refinances of an existing AllSouth auto loan.