Time Saving Quick Guide


Some of you may already know what vehicle you want and are here for “Just the basics for buying a new car.” If so you can follow the simple steps outlined below for the quick version of our car buying guide:

  1. Have your credit scores in hand before you negotiate:
  2. You need to know your credit score and what’s on your credit report before you even start this process, most people have an inaccurate idea of where they stand in terms of their score. If your score is low you should work on increasing it before you apply for loans as getting rejected will lower it even further. Make sure you get your Free FICO Credit Score check your Experian score: Free Credit Score! and get your score from Equifax: “Equifax Credit Report and Score . There’s no way of knowing which bureau a lender is going to pull for approval so make sure you check all your scores (checking your own scores does not lower them any). If there are inaccuracies on your report lowering your score, you need to make sure they get cleared up so you are getting the loan rate you really qualify for.

  3. Arrange your own financing beforehand even if you end up choosing to to use financing through the dealership
  4. Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of the dealer to provide financing for you. They often will mark up the rate they offer to you when you actually qualify for a better one. Even if there’s special financing from the factory available, you’re better off having your own lined up as well. If you have good credit, check with Up2Drive.com and Carsdirect.com. For less than stellar credit, check with MyAutoLoan.com and Carsdirect.com. When you come into the dealer with your loan already approved you leave your options open and can often make out like a bandit with cash incentives in lieu of their financing.

  5. Get quotes from a large number of sources and use them to shop the best price
  6. Don’t just end up with a couple quotes to work with, filling out all the quote request forms with maximize the number of quotes you get and dramatically increase your success in getting a good price. get quotes from Edmunds.com, Yahoo! Autos and Autos.comYou will find dealers initial offers will vary greatly but if you shop some of the best offers around you can wind up with the best deal possible. We’ve found that making dealers bid against each other often results in the best possible deal. Use your real contact information for the quotes or the dealers can’t contact you, we suggest asking to be contacted by email. When they do, don’t engage in final negotiations at this time, don’t discuss trade ins, financing or anything else. Just say you’re shopping around and want to know their best ‘out the door’ price on the car you’re interested in.

    Price out your car on Edmunds.com to get the True Market Value in your area of the car you’re interested in, Edmunds price is often a little high but its a good reference point.

  7. Figure out what your current car is worth
  8. Use Kelly Blue Book to determine the trade in cost of your car. If you’re up for selling it on your own, so much the better, you’re almost guaranteed to get more for your car if you sell it yourself. However, many people don’t feel comfortable dealing with selling a car on their own and if you’re planning to trade in you need to be prepared.

  9. Negotiate a final price on the new car
  10. Send out the lowest quote you got to all the dealers who responded, ask them if they can beat that price. Go with whoever comes back with the lowest counter offer or if you have a dealer you would prefer to work with, show them the lowest offer and ask if they would be willing to match it. Make an appointment to go in to the dealership to finish the purchase.
    Important: finish your final negotiations on the new car before you talk about your trade in at all (if you have one) .

  11. Trade in:
  12. They will ask (probably a number of times) if you have a car to trade in, tell them you’re planning to sell it on your own. Once you have a final price agreed apon (in writing, always get the price in writing) then you can bring up the subject of the trade in. Have your print out of the Kelly Blue Book trade in value with you. Tell them you know what your car is worth and unless they can give you a fair value for it, walk.


    We suggest before you close the deal, you take a look at our full guide to make sure you haven’t missed anything but even if you don’t you should be able to get a great price on any new car or truck you choose.