But you need to do everything right from the start.
The secret? The Bear Necessities.
- First, decide on the right vehicle for you.
- Get three (or more) drive-away price quotes.
- Don’t forget the VIN.
- Know when to buy.
- Don’t haggle.
- Keep it separate. And simple.
- Trade-in tips, taxes, and an instant cash offer!
- Bring the Bear (and your loan).
- Borrow for as few months as you can afford.
- Protection products are valuable – when they’re fairly priced.
The Bear Necessities: Know before you go.
Whether or not you choose Outside Financial for your car loan, we’ll help you save time, hassle, and $1,000 in dealer fees and markups.
A quick summary: the dealership is the wrong place to choose your car, negotiate the price, and arrange your loan. Do it all before you go – on your time, in your place, at your pace. Online auto loans are the start.
If you’re a first time car buyer or you’ve done this before, you may be confused about auto finance companies and car financial services generally. Never fear. Here’s how to car shop, and get an auto loan, like a pro
1. First, decide on the right vehicle for you.
Do your research and decide which vehicle best fits your needs before you go into a dealership. Then you can compare apples to apples, for the best price. Be as specific as you can: knowing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is ideal, but it’s important to get down to at least trim level.
2. Get three (or more) drive-away price quotes.
Our Shopping Tools make it easy. Our email and phone scripts help you use the right lingo – like a “buyer’s purchase order” (for new cars) or “book-out sheet” (used cars). This means you don’t have to decode MSRP, invoice price, or haggle against a professional. And our tracker helps you keep yourself organized, so you can compare bottom-line prices without worrying about those extra fees that never line up. We don’t sell cars, but we want you to buy yours right.
3. Don’t forget the VIN.
Be sure each quote includes the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This ensures the quote is for a specific car, one the dealer actually has on the lot. Rebates and incentives can also be different even for two cars with the same year, make, model, and trim.
4. Know when to buy.
Going to the dealership at peak times can mean less attention -- and less incentive for the dealer to give you a good offer. Generally, the best times to shop are toward the end of the month, weekdays, and the fall (spring and summer tend to be busier). And no matter when you go, make sure you’re well-fed and well-rested.
5. Don’t haggle.
Salespeople spend their days selling. Chances are you won’t be as good at getting them to give you a great deal as they are at getting you to buy. So focus on what you can do: force dealers to compete against each other by sending you their best drive-away offers before you go to the dealership. Our Car Shopping Tools help you organize and optimize your car price negotiations.
6. Keep it separate. And simple.
Don’t combine your loan, car purchase price, and trade-in into one transaction. You save the most money by getting the best deal on each. If the salesperson asks you about financing or trade-ins while you’re discussing price, just tell them you want to focus on one issue at a time. (Check out #7 below for more tips on trade-ins).
7. Trade-in tips, taxes, and an instant cash offer!
Trading in? In 42 states, you only pay tax on the difference between your new car price and your trade-in value – which means you could save hundreds of dollars by selling your old car to the dealer. This is tax savings you won’t get if you sell the car in a separate transaction. For maximum leverage, get an appraisal and written offer from several dealers (or Carvana) beforehand – that way, you’ll know what your trade-in is worth.
* Carvana pays us a fee if you sell your vehicle to them after you click on the link. But we only recommend their process because it is the best we’ve found.
8. Bring the Bear (and your loan).
This is the key to saving $1,000 or more that you didn’t know you were going to spend. You need to know your options and arrange your loan package before you go to the dealership. That’s why we’re here. Outside Financial will help you find the right loan package from one of our trusted partner auto finance companies.
9. Borrow for as few months as you can afford.
Low monthly payments are nice – as long as they don’t last forever. The best of both worlds? A low interest rate and a shorter loan term. When you apply for a loan through Outside Financial, you can customize your offers based on what’s most important to you.
10. Protection products are valuable – when they’re fairly priced.
Vehicle Service Contracts (VSCs, aka extended warranties) and GAP Waivers can protect your car and your pocketbook from expensive surprises. Arrange a loan which includes protection products from outside the dealership for the highest quality, maximum flexibility, and lowest pricing. See Four to Get, Five to Forget to learn more.