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Money Matters Blog

Monday, September 23, 2013

Helpful Hints Before Buying a Car

A car, especially a new one, is typically a consumer’s most expensive purchase besides a home.  The sticker on the car window displays the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), a number that virtually no one expects to pay but where do you go from there?  Preparing yourself with a good base of information will help you negotiate.

AARP (American Association of Retired Person) suggests that buyers consider what is important to them before shopping in-person: safety features, performance, mileage, electronic and communication devices etc.  The cost of a car should be 8 to 10 percent of a buyer’s monthly income, according to AARP.

Explore online resources before visiting a dealership.  Major car manufacturers provide extensive pricing information online and some websites, like Community Financial’s Auto Resource Center, even allow you to create a personalized car with your preferred features and price.  Special promotions including rebates and financing deals may also be listed for particular models.

Visit Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com) for comparative cost data or order a detailed New Car Pricing Report from Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.com) for $14.  These resources will provide the MSRP, the dealer’s invoice price and other information for the cars and packages that interest you.

For most people, financing is an important factor to consider.  Some car manufacturers have their own financing affiliate or their dealers may have arrangements with local financial institutions, but dealer or manufacturer financing may not be the best option for you.  It pays to compare these rates with those of your own financial institution.

Community Financial offers a range of financing options and through CarQuotes.com you can research any vehicle and obtain current rebate and comparative pricing information at no cost.  Visit the Auto Resource Center at www.cfcu.org/autocenter to become an informed buyer and calculate sample rates and payments for different loan terms.  Community Financial is here to help you buy the new or used car of your choice.

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