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Financial Advice

Buy & Own a Car


Buying a Car: Step by Step

Bill Berglund, UFCU Lending Manager, visits KXAN's Studio 512 to break down the car buying process.

If you’re in the market for a new ride this spring, make sure there won’t be any bumps in the road before you start shopping. Our goal is to help you buy wisely and save money, not simply to sell you a loan. A seller’s objective is to maximize profit.

Step 1: Get preapproved with your financial institution before even thinking of shopping

  • You need to be comfortable with the monthly payment (we recommend no more than 15% of your gross monthly pay – $2,000 a month = $300)
  • Let your budget, not your emotions, drive the process

Step 2: Do your homework

  • If shopping for a new vehicle, find out what the invoice price is; if shopping for a used vehicle find out what the Kelly Blue Book or NADA value is
  • Find out if there are any rebates
  • Is it safe?
  • Is it reliable?
  • Does it have good resale?
  • Does it have damage?
  • Has it had a recall?

Step 3: Keep the transactions separate

  • If you have a trade keep that transaction separate – Why should the purchase price of the car your buying have any effect on what they will give you for your trade
  • Negotiate the selling price (out of the door cash price excluding rebates, incentives or trade-ins – this price should include ALL dealer fees)
  • Never negotiate the price of the vehicle based on the monthly payment
  • If you are buying any additional products (Vehicle Service Contracts, Debt Protection, Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)) compare coverage and pricing

Step 4: Slow Down and be prepared to walk away

  • Compare offers
  • Don’t be rushed