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Buying a New Car - 5 Easy Steps

1. Determine what characteristics the car must possess to suit your purpose: good gas mileage, performance, passenger space, towing capacity, style, etc. After considering these factors, you will need to decide whether your needs will be met by an SUV, sedan, coupe, station wagon, truck, luxury car, or minivan. You probably have a favorite car manufacturer. Visit their web-site and see what they have to offer in the category of your choice.
2. Once you have selected several specific vehicles and you have compared their features, you will need to find out how much they cost. The easiest price to find is MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price), but that is merely a guidelines for dealers to use. What you really need to know is the invoice price and sometimes other hidden incentives available to dealers from the car manufacturer. You can follow "Research" link to check the invoice and retail prices. Remember also to check the price on options that may interest you, such as a navigation system, premium package and etc. Many times you will be able to find "manufacturer to dealer" incentives online, but in many cases it is well-guarded secret. Don't be shy to ask your dealer if there are manufacturer incentives on the model you are interested in.
3. By now you know approximately what the vehicle will cost you. Let's find out if the loan payments fit your budget. You have several ways to go here - financing, leasing, or cash. If you have planned to pay for the car in full at the time of the purchase (this is known as paying "cash" even if you don't use actual cash), consider that your local sales tax and registration fees will be added to the selling price. And if there is special finance rates available, sometimes as low as 0.0% APR, you should consider taking that loan and depositing the money planed for the car to where it can earn interest.
The advantages of leasing are that you may be able to expense your lease payments if you are self-employed or running a home-based business (please consult a tax professional). Also, if you like to have a new car every 2-4 years and you drive it less than 10,000-15,000 miles per year, a lease is easier because you do not have to sell the car after the lease is over. Monthly payments during a lease are smaller then those during regular financing, and you pay the taxes monthly rather than as a lump sum at the beginning like you do with regular financing. The advantages of regular financing are that you have the satisfaction of ownership, and that in the long run you will most probably save money because the overall interest you pay turns out to be less.
4. To make sure you are staying within your car budget, don't forget to check with your insurance company. Many times people underestimate what insurance policy will cost, especially when getting a high performance sports car. When requesting a quote, try to get insurance pricing for all the cars you are considering. This is also the good time to check with several different insurance companies or an insurance broker, to make sure that you get competitive pricing.
5. Now that you are armed with all the information, it is time to start working with local dealers. At this point you should know exactly what you want: Make, Model, Trim Level, Optional Packages and Color(s). Submit online "Purchase Request" and in a short time you will receive a price qoute (usually via e-mail) from one or several local dealerships. The quote is provided by Internet/Fleet Managers and usually is very competetive, but you don't have to agree to it right away - make a counter offer. Try to negotiate via e-mail, as this will give you a little more control because they cannot badger you in person. Once you are satisfied with the price, it is time to schedule a visit to the dealership, finish all needed paperwork, and drive off in your new car.

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