Lately, buyers consider themselves lucky if they can find a car worth haggling over.
High demand, manufacturing slowdowns and supply chain hiccups have resulted in limited supply and soaring prices. New car buyers can expect sticker shock—with the average price of a new car in America going for $48,0001—the highest figure on record according to Kelly Blue Book. These days paying the sticker price is considered a “good deal.”
The used car market is not much better. Many new car shoppers turned to the used market for a better selection and price which resulted in a shortage and record-high prices there as well. Experts don’t expect pre-pandemic prices or inventory to return until at least 2023.
Here are some tips to help you get the car and price you want…or at least a vehicle you can live with.
Narrow your list of “must have” features and be willing to compromise on options that are more about comfort or style. Once you figure out what kind of car you want, consider having a few backup options. Expand your search to areas farther away. If your neighborhood dealership has a mostly empty lot, you may have to go 50 to even 100 miles away to find a vehicle you want. Consider a car buying service like TrueCar® which gives you access to price reports, research tools, savings and a hassle-free car buying experience when you work with a TrueCar® certified dealer.
Be Ready to Act
You may be a great negotiator, but buying a car in this market—whether it’s new, used or high-end—is considered a luxury. Sales and incentives tied to major holidays are less common now. Dealers know if you don’t pay the asking price for a vehicle, another customer will. J.D. Power reports that at the end of 2021, the average car was in the dealer’s possession for only 17 days before it was sold.
Part of being prepared, is having financing lined up. Getting pre-approved for financing lets you shop with confidence that the car you want is within your budget. Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union offers great low rates and flexible terms, and you can apply for a pre-approval and take up to sixty days to find a vehicle.
Maximize your asset
The best bargaining chip you have is your current vehicle—whether you’re selling it outright or trading it in. Before agreeing to a trade-in offer, do your research to ensure you are getting a fair price—it may be worth more than you think! Ask some local used car lots to make you offers as well. In some cases, selling the vehicle outright could result in lot more money in your pocket, especially for in-demand vehicles. For example, electric cars and pick-up trucks in great condition are in high demand.
Drive away in a car you love
Don’t let the confusing car buying process or pressure from a dealer cause you to overpay for a vehicle that is impractical, uncomfortable or does not meet your needs. Take a step back and consider ordering the exact model and features you want. It’s one way to avoid the markups and dealer add-ons. It requires patience—many buyers are waiting six to eight weeks for special orders to be fulfilled. However you choose to buy a vehicle, it’s an investment that you’ll want to be happy with.
Baltimore County Employees Federal Credit Union is here to help you get in the driver’s seat. Visit www.bcefcu.com to get started on your pre-approved auto loan or contact a Loan Counselor at 410-828-4730 or [email protected].