Featured Image Gain negotiating power Getting pre-approved for a car loan before you walk into a dealership helps put you in the driver’s seat during the car buying process. With your pre-approval, you’re transformed into a “cash buyer" and you’re in a much stronger negotiating position. Dealers often focus on the monthly payment, that way they can fiddle with other parts of the deal to turn a profit. When you go in with a pre-approved car loan, you don't need to discuss the monthly payment with the dealer, so there are no games to play. You and your lender have already agreed to the financing and the dealer just needs to decide if your offer to buy is high enough for them to let go of the car. Negotiate a fair price without a pre-approval Be aware that some car dealers or car buying services offer "no-haggle" pricing and don't negotiate on price. However, here are some tips for talking to dealers who will negotiate. Start low with your first offer, usually at the invoice price. Respond to counter offers by raising your offer slowly in increments. Decide at what price you will not go any higher prior to negotiation. If the salesperson tells you he can't go any lower, you can either accept his offer or thank him for his time and leave. Also check with several dealerships within a reasonable driving distance and tell them about the car you plan to purchase and the invoice price. Let them make you their best offer, then take the offers back to your local dealer and ask him to match or beat the best offer you received. If he doesn't, you may want to consider buying from the out-of-town dealership. Talk about your trade-in AFTER you've agreed on a price. The dealer will probably offer you less for your trade-in than you would get by selling it yourself. Find out your car's retail and wholesale value. If you decide to sell your car yourself, be prepared to put in extra time and effort. Also, be careful. Have a friend or relative ride along with you when test driving the car with a potential buyer. Or, hold the buyer's keys if they will be taking your car out alone. Before signing on the dotted line... Make sure you read all contracts carefully and don't allow yourself to be rushed Make sure all the blanks are filled in before you sign Don't accept a deal if there are added fees that you don't agree with. Ask for a new contract to be prepared and check that one too. If at any time you don't like the deal, just walk away. If you don't, you may be paying for that mistake for years. If you financed your purchase with another lender and later discover you could have gotten a lower rate at Virginia Credit Union, simply call us. If you qualify, we'll help you move your loan over to your credit union!