CHAROTTE, N.C., March 27, 2007 – Getting ready to purchase a car? A little planning and know-how can help you find savings when you shop.
Here are some tips, brought to you by LendingTree.com, to make sure you save money on your new (or new-to-you) car.
Check your credit report - Your credit score is a major factor in determining what interest rate you get on an auto loan. The first thing to do is to get a copy of your credit report and look for any inaccuracies or mistakes. If you do find a mistake, you can dispute the inaccurate information free of charge. A lower credit score will increase your interest rate and the total amount you spend for a car, which could also increase your monthly payment.
Do your homework – Before you head to the dealership, check the Internet. Know in advance what make, model and year car you are interested in. Many dealerships offer an online search of their inventory so you’ll know what cars they have on the lot before you get there. Sometimes they even post special deals. It’s also a good idea to research current interest rates and loan terms (how many months you’ll be paying on the loan). Using that information, you can calculate how much monthly payment you can afford before you even set foot on the dealership lot.
It’s all about timing – If you don’t need a car right away, consider waiting until late summer or early fall to shop, just prior to the next model year arrives on the lots. Dealers anxious to move inventory to make space will often sell this year’s models at a discount. If your need is more urgent, wait until the end of the month, or even the end of the week, when the dealer may be trying to reach its sales quotas.
Bargain smart – A common tactic of car salesmen is to figure out what monthly payment you can afford before quoting you a price. This tactic may get you into that new car you thought was beyond your means, but it ignores the true cost to own the car: factors like interest rate and loan term (making payments for five years vs two or three). If you’re buying a new car, it’s a good idea to research the invoice price – the price the dealership pays the manufacturer for a new car. If you’re buying a previously owned car, check the Blue Book value. In both cases you’ll know how much room you have to bargain with the dealer. Also, be prepared to walk away if the salesman (or woman) won’t give you what you want.
Consider buying previously owned/new-to-you – A new car can lose up to 20% of its value the minute you drive it off the lot. Forgo the new car smell and get a nearly new car instead. If you go for a car that’s older than five years or has more than 60,000 miles on the odometer, be sure and get the maintenance history, so you don’t get hit with big bills for major repairs and parts.
About LendingTree, LLC
LendingTree, LLC is the nation’s number one online lending exchange, providing a marketplace that connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business. Since inception, LendingTree has facilitated more than 20 million loan requests and $152 billion in closed loan transactions. LendingTree provides access to mortgages and refinance loans, home equity loans/lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, credit cards and high-yield savings accounts via www.lendingtree.com and 800-555-TREE.
Launched in 1998 with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, LendingTree, LLC is part of IAC Financial Services and Real Estate, an operating company of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI), which also owns or operates LendingTree Loans sm, LendingTree Settlement Services, LLC, GetSmart®, RealEstate.comsm, Domania®, and iNest Realty, Inc.