Buying a car is a big investment, so you’ll want to find one that fits your lifestyle and budget. There are plenty of ways to drive home a bargain, especially with dealer incentives, factory rebates, cash-back offers and special financing. There are even incentives for certified pre-owned vehicles.
Is the Price Right?
By using online resources, it’s easy to compare vehicles, settle on the car you like, add in all the options you want, see what others have paid for it, and find dealerships that will match those prices. Websites such as TrueCar.com, Edmunds.com, Cars.com and Kelly Blue Book offer up-to-date information so you can find and price your vehicle, and calculate your monthly payments.
Rebates and Incentives
If you’ve selected a model and figured out what you hope to pay, next search for rebates and special incentives. Today’s car sites aggregate all this information for you. Most experts suggest if you plan to purchase a car, negotiate the sales price first, and then discuss the rebate, so you will get a true discount on your vehicle.
If you’re a qualified buyer, you may be able to get special financing terms with no or low-interest rates, but keep your options open. If you are prequalified for an auto loan, you have negotiating power. For instance, SchoolsFirst FCU offer loans with Auto Convenience Checks, so you can shop like a cash buyer.1 You don’t have to rely on a dealer’s financing options, if it isn’t competitive enough. You can also take advantage of our FastTrack program, which lets you apply for SchoolsFirst FCU financing in over 400 Southern California dealerships.
Zero percent financing deals can be enticing, but come with certain restrictions. For instance, if the dealer is working with an outside lender to fund loans, the vehicle’s price may actually be higher than other dealerships. You’ll also need an excellent credit score and may be required to pay off the loan in a shorter period of time, which means your monthly payments will be higher. For more insights, read Zero Percent Auto Financing Can Cost You.
Leasing Versus Buying
With more incentives crowding the marketplace, car leases are popular again because they usually come with lower down payments and monthly payments. Many financial experts think that leasing can be a financial drain, because after the lease is up, you don’t own the car. However, if you trade in a car every few years, or don’t drive that much, it’s something to consider. But just like buying a new car, it’s all about reading the fine print.
Don’t Want the Hassle? Skip the Negotiations
If you don’t relish negotiating your deal, SchoolsFirst FCU offers car-buying services that do the legwork for you.
- Autoland: A consultant help you find and finance your car and even delivers it to your closest branch.
- Our Car Buying Service, powered by True Car: Shop online, see what others have paid for the car you’re shopping for and enjoy negotiation-free guaranteed savings on new cars as well as used car discounts. Offers are available exclusively for Members not available through TrueCar’s website.
- Enterprise Car Sales: Get a no-haggle price on used cars. An ASE-Certified Technician rigorously inspects each car.
- FastTrack Auto Dealers: Choose your car from a network of more than 400 CUDL-affiliated dealerships where you can apply for SchoolsFirst FCU immediate financing onsite.
- All loans are subject to approval.
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Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or BALANCE counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.
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