Most car salesmen are good at their job. So what is their job? To give you as little as possible for your money, and upsell to high heaven. They are masters of their craft in more ways than one, so don’t think for a second that you will outsmart them. Driving a car is more fun than buying one, so take matters into your own hands. Walk onto a car lot with the right attitude and drive out of it with exactly what you want. This isn’t hard to achieve, even for first time car buyers. The mutual respect you get from an experienced car salesman will be more than worth the learning curve.
When you look at cars that have giant stickers with the words “Final”, “New Low Price” and “Last In Stock”, ignore them. Use the numbers listed as a starting point for negotiations. All of the giants signs put on a car are there to get your attention. If you’re leasing a car, monthly payments can always be negotiated. Check the Kelley Blue Book value of cars you are interested in to make sure everything is fair. Sometimes vehicles are overpriced so that you can haggle them down to their original price. Remember, you are trying to get a deal, not pay retail. How many people do you think walk into a car lot and drive off without seriously discussing the price?
Lots have sales all the time. These special sales are different than the typical ones, and can be broken down into three distinct periods of the year; Labor Day sales, the month of September and tax season. Tax season in particular is when you can get a generous deal, as lots are overstocked in preparation for the millions of people that want to throw money at them. Visiting the local rent-a-car place year round is also a good stop to make when looking for a car. They often sell cars at a discount that is half of what you would pay from a car lot. Be aware of timing when buying a car, since it could make a huge difference in your wallet.
Something that is overlooked when leasing a car is its residual value after the lease ends. The best way to describe this is the percentage of the full value of the vehicle you are leasing. It changes how your monthly payment is structured during the leasing of the car. Buyers that plan to purchase the car at the end of the lease will want a higher residual value since the buyout price will be less. It makes the difference in a car being worth $17,000 or $12,000 at the end of the lease. You “use up” value during the lease, so a high residual value will net you the lower buyout price. Unfortunately, this is the one thing that can’t be negotiated when buying a car. Take note of the down payment and verify the buyout is to your liking before leasing the car.
Never give up in negotiations with a car salesman. The worst they can say is no, and it is your money. Credit scores may limit your buying choices, but it doesn’t stop you from getting the best deal possible. If they give you three cars to choose on the lot, then negotiate deals for all three of those cars. And if something doesn’t sit right, then walk away and find another car to buy. There are no shortage of professionals that want to sell you the car of your dreams.