April 15, 2021

How to Buy a Car Like a Pro

Don’t let car buying scare you. Here’s how to buy a car like a pro.


Buying a car can be overwhelming. It’s something most of us only do once every three to five years, and in many cases even longer. Cars today are lasting longer and it’s becoming commonplace to see vehicles with 200k+ miles running fine with just routine maintenance.

It makes sense that we don’t feel comfortable with the process. Dealerships, on the other hand, deal with these transactions multiple times every day. They train for it. And they are good at it.

We at Kelly Community are here to offer some tips on how to buy a car like a pro and ease the anxiety for your next purchase.


#1: Show No Emotion

Most importantly, show no emotion and do not walk into a car dealership unless you are willing to walk out.

#2: Go Into a Dealership Pre-Approved

It’s best to go into the dealership pre-approved with a great rate from your local credit union. Dealerships work within rate spreads, meaning you may be approved at one of their preferred lenders at 3%, but your final rate may be 5%. The dealership retains the other 2%.

Kelly Community and other credit unions do not use rate spreads and will always give you the best rate available. Kelly Community also offers what we call the Pre-approved Draft. It is pre-filled with your pre-approval limits so that all you have to do is choose the vehicle you want, negotiate the best price, and hand the draft over to the dealer to fill out the vehicle information.

#3: Know the Car and Trade-In Value

A typical car deal can be broken down into four main negotiations: sales price, trade-in, down payment, and monthly payment. If you go into the dealership pre-approved, you should not have to negotiate based on payment at all since you already know your amount and monthly payment with your credit union. Getting pre-approved takes away the dealership’s greatest tool since they want the discussion based entirely on payment.

Websites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds make it easy to know how much you should pay for the car you want, and your current vehicle’s trade in value. You should know these values before walking in.

Once you have the price negotiated to what you think is fair, it’s time to negotiate the price of your trade in. The dealership will try to devalue it, but since you already know the trade in value, you can negotiate.

#4: Save the Down Payment for the End

Finally, once everything is negotiated, mention your down payment. You’ve kept it secret up until this point right? The easiest way to lose $2,000 is to walk into a car dealership and say you have $2,000. They will find a way to make it disappear. Save this information for the very end, when you have already locked in sales price, and trade.

Buying a car does not have to be a daunting, overwhelming task. You can buy a car like a pro! When you’re ready to go upgrade your wheels, we’d love to help you.Don’t let car buying scare you. Here’s how to buy a car like a pro.

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