Holiday Car sales events have started their annual advertising campaigns, and here are my Top 10 Tips and Tricks to keep from spending days on the car lots and hours haggling.
- Get your car loan payoff or lease buyout/residual BEFORE you leave home.
- Find your title and lien-release paperwork BEFORE you leave home.
- Contact your credit union or bank to get a pre-approval amount, interest rate and term, BEFORE you leave home. Knowing your credit score and banks interest rate will shorten the process 30-40 min. Be ready for the score vs. interest rate values and what that means to your budget.
- LEASES require over 700 AUTO credit scores. Many advertised lease programs require minimum 720+ AUTO credit scores.
- 700+ gets you the special 0%-4.9% for 72 months most car companies are offering. Although 0% is usually for 36 months only. (Come back here tomorrow for a complete list of all the major car companies special holiday offers and list of available inventories.
- 680-700 Auto Credit scores get you a 4.95-7.99% rate depending on if you are buying a NEW or USED CAR. If your score is under 680 be prepared to pay over 8% and as you slide down the scale it goes up into the 20% range before you hit 600. This is stuff the car dealerships don’t want you to know! CLICK HERE FOR PRE-APPROVAL:
- Visit KBB.com and NADA.com to get an idea of your trade-in value, so you are NOT surprised by the dealer’s offer. (Whatever the value is for good-to-fair, take $1000.00 off for dealer reconditioning).
- Make a list of features you MUST have, and things that are “optional”. Ask yourself what 3 colors you would consider and what interior colors you prefer. Knowing this ahead of time limits the confusion or “falling in LOVE” factor.
- Consider your TIME schedule. It takes an hour to properly test-drive and have the dealership appraise your trade-in, NOT COUNTING the process of credit application etc. Don’t bring your kids to the dealership, the distraction can cost you money.
- When looking at the MSRP window sticker, consider that cars under $20,000 have an average of $80-$1000.00 mark-up and you will need rebates to help off-set any negative balance from your trade-in. Cars from $20k-$30k have maybe $1500-$1800.00 tops and you will likely have to figure 2-3% or at least $300.00-$500.00 profit for the dealer in today’s marketplace or you won’t get the car. New and USED car inventory is just that limited, especially less expensive, “cheap” used cars for sale, the nicer the car, clean, one owner, low miles, the more you will pay.
Come back tomorrow for the next part in this series on Holiday Car sales, new and used cars for sale this holiday weekend and how you can score the best deal on the nicest car. If you have questions please submit them in the form below and I will include the answers in the next article.