When you buy a new vehicle, you’re likely making one of the most significant purchases of your life. Typically, this comes with a five to six-year loan, adding further stress.
Fortunately, you can take steps to make the entire process more enjoyable and eliminate the stress. Here are three tips to follow for a stress-free car buying experience.
1. Research Before You Drive
Research is one of the best ways to ensure a stress-free car buying experience. While it can be tempting to go to the dealership and “window shop” for a vehicle, this is almost always a mistake. If you don’t have a vehicle in mind yet, you run the risk of being smooth-talked into a car that is more expensive than you can afford or one that doesn’t fit your needs.
You can avoid this by researching before you ever go near the car dealership. Make a list of everything you want in a vehicle. Do you prefer an SUV or a sedan? Is all-wheel drive important to you? How important is the fuel economy? Write these all down. Use your list to compare some vehicles that fit your criteria.
2. Get Pre-Qualified for Financing
Car dealerships have a list of banks they typically work with for financing, and they will submit all the necessary paperwork to secure your loan. This is great! However, another way to ensure a stress-free car buying experience is to get pre-qualified with a lender before going to the dealership.
When you pre-qualify for financing, you gain a lot of crucial information. You’ll find out how large of a loan you can qualify for and the estimated terms of that loan. Why is this helpful?
Imagine you’ve done your research, and you found the car of your dreams is going to cost you $38,000. You go down to the dealership to buy the car and learn that a lender isn’t willing to provide financing beyond $30,000! Unless you have $8,000 for a down payment, you’re out of luck. This can be incredibly frustrating.
However, had you already pre-qualified for financing up to $38,000 first, you could walk into the dealership stress-free.
3. Make Your Test Drive Count
There is more to a vehicle than the appearance and the spec sheet. A car should feel comfortable for you to drive daily. It’s always important to test drive a vehicle before you buy it. And it helps make for a stress-free car buying experience.
Furthermore, your test drive should be relevant to your actual driving habits. If you do a lot of interstate driving, don’t keep your test drive confined to city streets. Test drive the vehicle the way you intend to drive it during a typical day. This is the best way to determine if the car you’ve chosen is a good fit.
If you live in a state with a harsh winter climate, you can even try to plan your test drive when there’s snow in the forecast. This will give you a feel for how the vehicle handles in less than ideal conditions.
The fear of buyer’s remorse can be powerful. The test drive should give you the confidence that you are making the correct decision.
Final Car-buying Thoughts
Purchasing a new vehicle can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. The stress level is directly linked to your level of preparedness and the firmness of your decision. If you research vehicles and get pre-qualified for financing before going to the dealership, you’ve eliminated much of the anxiety. Before making the final decision, a well-planned test drive should confirm your choice.
We hope these tips on creating a stress-free car buying experience makes the experience exciting. It should be!