Getting ready to buy a car

Woman buying a car

Buying a vehicle is more than just showing up at a dealership and driving away in your new car. For the best car-buying experience, planning ahead is key.

“Before you go car-shopping, it’s key to know whether you’re looking to buy a new or used vehicle, the price point you’re looking to purchase at and whether you’re financing or paying cash. If you are financing, you need to know what your financing rate is,” says Scott Warren, Personal Banking Advisor at Cambrian Credit Union. Warren recommends getting pre-approved for financing before you even step foot in a dealership. “A pre-approval is based on your income and personal financial situation and gives you the knowledge of what price-point you can afford,” he says. Speaking with an advisor before you visit a dealership will also give you a chance to talk about your decisions and get a sense of the pros and cons of the decisions you’re looking to make.

Deciding whether you want a new vehicle or a used one is another major decision. Warren says there are advantages to buying a used vehicle. “Buying a vehicle that’s even just a year old has the depreciation roll off the dealership or whoever the previous owner was,” Warren says. He also points out that when you buy new your amortization is a lot shorter in order to get a 0% financing rate, which means your payments are usually higher. Buying a new vehicle does give you an absolute warranty and provides you with a vehicle that shouldn’t have any mechanical issues, which many people or families find ideal.

When you’re heading out to the dealership, Warren urges you to keep your goals in mind. “Remember what you’re looking for and don’t allow yourself to be persuaded into buying something that won’t meet your needs or is more than you’re willing to spend,” Warren says. He encourages you to shop around to see what is available and find the best deal. “Do your research because if you have all of the answers before you go, then you will know what a fair price is for the vehicle you’re looking at,” he says.

Make an appointment to speak with an advisor.