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5 Tips for Car Shopping Without the Stress

  • November 20, 2017
  • By Erin Palmer, Content Marketing Specialist

    Erin Palmer

    Content Marketing Specialist

    Erin Palmer is a content marketing specialist for Suncoast Credit Union. She has written articles for numerous publications and websites, including the Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post. Erin is happiest when curled up with a book, trying a new restaurant or playing with her dogs.

    We’d love to hear your thoughts about the blog! Email us and share what you think.

  • Category: BUY & BORROW
  • Car Loans, Car Shopping, Pre-approved Loans, Negotiation

Let’s be honest, most people aren’t fond of car shopping. Even the most positive people can find themselves drained by the car shopping experience.

But there is good news! Car shopping doesn’t have to be stressful. There are simple ways to make it easier to find, finance and drive away in a vehicle that meets your needs and budget.

Here are some tips for stress-free car shopping:

Get Pre-approved

People often go to a car dealership, find a car and then let the dealership assist them with finding lending. While this method works, it often takes longer and makes the entire process more complicated.

Pre-approval is the secret weapon of savvy car buyers. It makes car shopping easier and lets you have more power during the price negotiation process.

Thank you for a hassle-free experience
One Suncoast member reached out to tell us he had “the most enjoyable, hassle-free experience” in car buying due to pre-approval. He thanked us for giving him so much bargaining power. That’s what we love to hear!

When your loan is pre-approved, you can shop with a check in hand for the amount you have to spend. This lets you have control over the financial institution you work with and lets you figure out how much you can use for a down payment and what your monthly payments will be.

Use a pre-approved loan so you and the salesperson don’t have to go back and forth about lender options or monthly payment amounts. The whole negotiation can focus on the price of the car to help you get a better deal.

Save Time and Money with a Car Buying Resource

Time and money are the major reasons that people dislike car shopping. Sitting in a dealership all day and spending more than you planned could make anyone moody!

That’s why car buying resources have become popular for many shoppers. If you’re looking for a specific make and model, a car buying resource like TrueCar can help you find a dealership that has what you want.

Instead of driving from one dealership to the next, you can search online to see available vehicles, read reviews and see what other people in your area paid for the car you want.

When you get pre-approved first, then use a car buying resource, you can skip the tedious parts of car buying and get your car faster. Plus you can save money, so it’s a win-win!

Make Informed Decisions about Pre-owned Vehicles

Pre-owned vehicles can help you save money since a new car’s value depreciates over time. But some people worry about what they are getting into with a pre-owned car.

There are plenty of safe and reliable pre-owned vehicles out there. Put your mind at ease and shop for a pre-owned car somewhere that gives you the safety information you need without charging you for it.

Look for a place that offers a free certified clean CARFAX report so you have peace of mind knowing that the vehicle has gone through a safety inspection.

Look for Service that Meets Your Needs

Every shopper is different. Shop somewhere that prioritizes the things that are most important to you.

If your biggest concern is overspending, get pre-approved to give you more buying power. Use TrueCar’s tools to see what others paid for the car you’re interested in. If you hate negotiating, look for service with no-haggle pricing.

Don’t Get Distracted by Flashy Deals

Car dealerships have all sorts of deals to attract buyers. Some of these deals are good, but others may not be as beneficial as they seem.

Don’t choose a car dealership just because you can get a free flat screen TV with your purchase. Those extra perks can be an added bonus to buying a car, but they should not drive your decision.

Look for long-term value over short-term incentives. If the deal is good in the long run and it also rewards you with a cool prize, that’s great. But make sure that your needs are met first and that the incentive is just an extra bonus to an already good deal.

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