Car shopping can be exciting. As you begin to focus on various car-shopping websites for the best deal, you might find yourself exposed to a wider variety of options. While everyone would like all the bells and whistles that a new or new-to-you car can provide, do you really need them? More importantly, what are the final costs for these bright and shiny new objects? Can you afford it?
Dealerships are great at convincing you that you need the top of the line model with all the added finishes and luxury touches. And, it’s easy to fall into the trap when you see just how great those added touches are. However, these temptations might push you to buy a car that may not be within your budget.
Here’s what you need to know to help you to avoid buying too much car.
1. Each Car Make and Model has Different Finishes — But What Do They Mean?
You may notice an extension like “L”, “LT”, or “LTZ” after the make and model of the car. These extensions designate what level of bells and whistles come equipped with the vehicle.
The first one is the basic model with no real bells and whistles. This “finish” may not even include the most advanced safety features and other elements the vehicle is famous for having.
The next is an upgraded model. It has a few added quality, safety, and security features. It makes the car drive a little better, gives you greater peace of mind, and comes with a somewhat elevated price tag. It may even offer a few nice touches like an upgraded sound system, comfortable seating, and a few additional color choices.
The third model is the high-end or luxury model. This one has all the bells and whistles. It’ll likely come with a sunroof, leather seating, heated seating, automated side mirror warnings, and a bevy of advanced safety features. One thing to note is this model not only has a higher price tag, but it will likely cost more to insure as well.
2. Learn to Resist The Upsell
When car shopping, your goal may be to find the best deal possible, whereas car dealerships’ goal is to sell the most cars while making the most money. With this in mind, the dealer might try to upsell the car to you by offering add-on features like sunroofs, heated seats or tinted windows. The sky’s the limit!
When buying a $30,000 vehicle, a package costing $500 doesn’t look like much when added to the total price, especially when it only affects your monthly payment by a few dollars - right? That is why salespeople will often wait until you’re in the finance office after you committed to buying the vehicle, to spring the extras on you.
It takes a strong-willed person to walk out of a car dealership without spending a penny more than they intended to. However, it is important to go in knowing the exact amount you want to pay. If saying no to the add-ons is difficult, go prepared with a pre-approval. Which brings us to our next point.
3. Get Pre-Approved BEFORE Stepping Foot on a Dealership Lot
During the pre-approval process, we’ll review your finances and help you understand how much car you can afford to buy without jeopardizing your financial situation. This pre-approval gives you the upper hand at the dealership.
A pre-approval lets the dealership know precisely what you can afford to spend and prevents them from trying to sell you a vehicle outside your budget. If a dealership tries to get you to finance elsewhere, then it might be a good sign they are trying to sell you more than you can comfortably afford.
Falling into the trap of buying more car than you can afford is extremely easy. Arm yourself with a pre-approval from the Credit Union. You’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend and have the upper hand when it comes to price negotiations.
To begin the pre-approval process, simply stop by your branch location or give us a call at 248-322-9800 x5.
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