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What to know before visiting a car dealer

Posted at 1:50 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 17:10:10-04

Financial expert, Rachel Langlois with Cyprus Credit Union stopped by the studio today to share some tips you need to know before visiting a car dealer. For more information about Cyprus Credit Union, click here.

The Four Things I Wish I Did Before Visiting the Dealer Lot:

  1. Give yourself time to prepare so you don't make it a compulsive or emotional buy.a. Start preparing before you "need" the car, if possible. Or consider renting or sharing a car if you are suddenly without a vehicle; taking a few days to make a decision may save you thousands in the long run.
  2.  Crunch the numbers.a. Look at your budget and determine what you want to pay not only monthly, but overall. This is important because dealerships may be able to meet your monthly budget but not your overall budget by extending your payment length, which could also increase your interest cost.

    b. Determine what amount you can contribute to a down payment.

    c. Work into your budget any potential increases in additional cost, such as higher insurance premiums or the need to use higher quality gas.

  3. Get pre-approved by your credit union.a. By understanding what rates you qualify for, you can be empowered to secure similar rates with your dealer. Financing through your dealer can also provide you with increased discounts.

    b. Before you do this, order one of your three free yearly credit reports from to make sure your report is accurate.

  4. Know what you want.a. Determine what features are deal breakers. Talk to others about what features they have used the most or those they regret paying for.

    b. Use online search tools to find car models that meet your criteria and fit within your price range.