Buying a New Car-How to Get a Great Deal



Thinking of buying a new car but dreading negotiating with the salesperson? In this first of a 3-part series, I’ll give you the step-by-step process for getting the best deal on your next new car purchase.


Step 1. Review your credit history. Assuming you plan on financing your purchase, your first step should be to check your credit report. This is available for free at Your main concern is to check for inaccurate information and correct the inaccuracy before you apply for credit.


Step 2. Know what you want. Before you begin your negotiations, you need to know exactly what car you want to buy including all of the optional equipment. This is the most fun part of the process and there are a number of websites that can help you including or It’s a good idea to have a full list of the options and their costs for the car you are purchasing since the car you find at your local dealer may have some different options than the car you had in mind.


Step 3. Determine factory rebates. Many manufacturers offer rebates and incentives. Go to the Research section of to determine if there are rebates available on your dream car or call a local dealer.


Step 4. Pay no more than invoice (dealer’s cost) less any rebates. Your goal is to pay invoice or less. Current employee pricing deals at Ford, GM, and Chrysler mean this won’t be difficult, but this should be your goal whether purchasing a domestic or foreign car. This may not be possible on certain ‘high demand’ cars. If a dealer sells you a car at their invoice price, they will still make money based on ‘dealer holdbacks’…essentially additional rebates from the manufacturer to the dealer. Complete your new car price negotiations before negotiating trade-in or financing. I always check multiple places before I commit to financing. One of the places I always check with first because I have always had a great experience with them.


Step 5. Keep trade-in negotiations separate. You will get the most for your car by selling it yourself. If you do decide to trade, keep these negotiations separate from the new car purchase price. Go to to determine the trade-in value of your car. Be prepared to walk away from the deal if the dealer doesn’t give you a fair price for trade-in or be prepared to sell your car yourself.