Buying a new car can be fun and exciting, but it can also be very stressful. After all, it is a very big decision. If you are organized, armed with knowledge, and understand the game, you’ll find the experience a lot more enjoyable so here are some tips for buying a new car.

Start with the basics. Decide what type, size, and price range meets your needs; then move on to the details of the deal.

The invoice price is what the dealer paid for the car, not including any incentives from the vehicle manufacturer. The sticker price is the price the dealer wants you to pay for that car, including any optional packages that may be on that particular vehicle. 

Find out the invoice cost of the car. This is the key to what type of deal you can get. Once you know what the dealer paid, you can better negotiate with the dealer. The dealer typically isn’t going to give you this information, so you’ll have to play detective and round it up yourself.

You can easily get this information by spending less than $20 and calling the Consumer Reports New Car Price Service. It’s a good investment because it usually results in about a $1,200 savings.

Now it’s time to get ready to bargain. Ask the salesperson to deal on their base markup over cost. Never bargain off the sticker price. You’ve got the invoice price and that’s what you bargain off of. What type of deal you can get depends a lot on supply and demand. 

If the car you are looking at is in high demand, but there aren’t a lot of them available you could end up paying the full sticker price. On other models, you could land up paying just $500 over invoice and that would be a good deal!

Be wary of the “for just a few” game. It’s a game of up-selling for services and items you often don’t need – undercoating, fabric protection, rust proofing, windshield etching, extra warranties, etc. Some of these services are nice; but most aren’t needed. Be careful because they can very quickly add a couple thousand dollars to your costs. So don’t get caught up in the “for just a few dollars more you can have…”

If you have a vehicle you are going to trade in, don’t disclose this information to the salesperson until the price of the new car has been established and agreed upon. That way the price you are given for your trade is the true amount that is being offered rather than some inflated figure on paper. Then you can decide if you really want to trade your vehicle in. Often, selling privately is a better choice.

Keep your stress down by knowing what you want before you begin. When it comes time to get your financing in place know what size payment you are comfortable with and then work your terms to meet that payment size. Again, don’t get caught in the up-sell game. 

These tips for buying a new car will have you smiling and relaxed through the entire buying process.