When you’re ready to buy a new car, you’ll most likely go to Kelley Blue Book to make sure you’re getting the best possible price. But did you know that there are other sites that can give you the same information? Here are three alternative sites that can help you get the best car price—or at least help you avoid bad deals when buying your next vehicle.
5 Steps to Buying a Used Car
It’s easy to get carried away when shopping for a used car. Kelley Blue Book suggests that buyers consider three main factors before making an offer: condition, price and financing. And it doesn’t hurt to have a fourth in mind: depreciation. Kelley says consumers should know what percentage of depreciation they can afford as well as how much they’re willing to pay up front, knowing their total payment will be lower overall if they opt for a low-interest loan over cash.
Step 1: Research Your Cars Online
This is an important step that many car buyers overlook. Kelley Blue Book compiles car pricing data from a wide variety of sellers in your area, so it’s a great place to start. You can research prices for both new and used cars and narrow down your list of prospective vehicles by year, make, model, mileage, color, features (heated seats!), and accessories (Sunroof? DVD player? Navigation?). Once you’ve found a few possibilities that fit your needs and preferences (and price range), it’s time to move on to step 2.
Step 2: Build Out List of Cars
Before you head to a dealership, you’ll want to have a good idea of what kind of car you want. Decide whether it will be new or used and then make a list of all models that match your specifications. When you do go to dealerships, having your list will help narrow down your options based on make, model and year. It can also help you shop in an organized way by focusing on certain brands, prices or styles before moving on.
Step 3: Go See The Cars in Person
This step is optional and dependent on your situation. If you’re buying from a private seller, or from a new-car dealership that doesn’t have cars sitting out on lot, then you may be able to skip to Step 4. However, if you’re looking at used cars and shopping at a dealership, then visiting each of your finalist vehicles in person is an important step that will help you make sure each vehicle has all of its features. You’ll also be able to narrow down which car looks best for you—and not just by color!
Step 4: Make An Offer, Get it Accepted, and Close the Deal
Once you’ve found a car you like, your next step is to make an offer. This is tricky and definitely has its hiccups, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Here are some strategies for making that first offer stick: If possible, ask if you can take the car to have a mechanic look at it before making an offer.
Step 5: Do This Before Signing Anything!
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is one of many online resources that help people determine a vehicle’s fair market value. Similar to pricing at a dealership, KBB uses factors such as supply and demand to give you an idea of what similar vehicles have been selling for on dealer lots. Unlike other resources, KBB provides data based on more than 800 vehicle sales reports so you know you’re getting information from multiple sales locations instead of just one or two. Even if you don’t plan on selling your car in a few years, knowing its current market value will come in handy when planning for a car down payment or making sure it’s worth it to buy extended auto warranty coverage.
Negotiating and evaluating a car purchase can be a time-consuming process. The good news is that having Kelley Blue Book at your side can save you time, money and headaches. It takes some work up front to make sure you know what model, options and price to negotiate for but once you’ve done that research, use it—Kelley Blue Book is free and one of several tools that will help take some of stress out of car shopping. Remember: always leave room for a little wiggle in negotiations!