Used car prices are on their way up, especially with brands traditionally associated with reliability and economy. These high prices are shifting the balance for many car buyers, even those who previously preferred to save some money by buying a pre-owned vehicle. Great deals on new cars may be yet another reason to shift away from the used market.
However, wading into the new car market for the first time might seem intimidating, particularly if you're used to kicking the tires on used vehicles. Fortunately, there's no reason to be anxious about the new car buying process. These three tips will help you get into a new car with a minimum amount of hassle, letting you drive off the lot with some brand-new wheels for a great price.
1. Research in Advance
One of the many advantages of purchasing new is that you don't have to deal with many variables. Used cars can vary in condition and maintenance history, and you may find a radically different driving experience between two otherwise identical vehicles. On the other hand, two identical new cars should drive and feel just about the same.
You can use this to your advantage by spending a bit more time researching before you arrive at the lot. Professional reviews and driving tests can help you narrow down your options and let you focus on the type of vehicle you want. You'll still want to test drive your top prospects, but you can avoid wasting time with cars that don't fit your needs or budget.
2. Understand Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval
You can take two financing steps before you sign on the dotted line for a new car: pre-qualification and pre-approval. Pre-qualification can give you a rough idea of your financing options without impacting your credit score, although it doesn't guarantee financing. You can usually seek pre-qualification with banks, credit unions, and some dealerships.
Pre-approval is, in most cases, a more formal and rigorous process that likely involves a hard credit check. You should only consider pre-approval when you're relatively sure that you're ready to buy. It's also essential to realize that the meaning of these terms can vary, so be sure to speak with your lender about how exactly they'll impact your financing options.
3. Schedule Your Test Drive
If you have a specific model you want to buy, consider calling ahead and scheduling a test drive. Some dealerships following COVID-19 protocols still require appointments, but it's a good idea even when this isn't the case. By booking your test drive, you'll get to spend more time with the car you want to buy and less time waiting around at the dealership.
Buying a new car doesn't need to be challenging. Still, it's a significant investment and a process that you should always take seriously. Spending a little time researching and planning before you arrive at the dealership can help make your purchase a smooth and enjoyable one. For more information about new vehicles, contact a local dealer.