If you are interested in Used Car, see our used car buying advice and money saving tips here


Step 1: Check your Buying Power and Get Pre-Approval

We love a new car…who doesn’t? It is as much an exciting process as it is time consuming. Before you invest time into researching cars and visiting dealerships, knowing your buying power will help you save a lot of time. Once you know your buying power, you can focus on just the cars that are in your price range and get the best deal for that car

How? You can visit your credit union or your bank website to look for their car loan offers and apply. But…. that will immediately result in a hard inquiry on your credit record. If you are a savvy customer like most of our customers, then you should check out your eligible auto loan offers on creditsnap.com and then apply for the one that you like so that you get your Pre-Approval. See additional money saving tips in the Pro Tips section

Step 2: Research and select the car that you want to buy

Once you know your borrowing power, it is easy to know which cars will fit into your budget. But it is equally important to decide which “type of car” you want to buy – SUV, Sedan, Small Car, Minivan, truck? We advise you to consider the size of your family, the type of activities you engage in and the distances you travel before deciding on this. Obviously budget also plays a role. Once you determine what type of car, then budget will dictate what brands and models you can purchase.

How? First make a listing of cars that are within your budget. You can use Price and Car Type filters on Edmunds.com to get to create your initial wish list. Then you can use new car ratings and reviews at Edmunds.com and Consumerreports.com to narrow down your list to one or two.

Step 3: Find out the best deal in the market

Manufacturer website, dealer website and online car buying sites – they all allow you to submit a request for quote. Do not waste your time taking appointments at the dealerships yet, just sit back and ask for online quotes. You will be surprised that different dealers have different offers, and almost all dealers have better ONLINE offers than dealership walk-in offers.

How? Look for “Request a Quote” links on manufacturer and dealership sites. Do not hesitate to ask quote for two different models. Do not forget to get quote from online car buying websites – truecar.com is a great place to start and carsdirect.com is also a great resource

Step 4: Now time to walk into the dealership and do a test ride

Call the dealership and set up an appointment if possible so that you do not have to wait. Make it clear that you want to test drive just the car you want. Also make it clear that you already have a pre-approval for your car of choice. Do the test ride and make your choices

How? Call the dealership that gave you the best price, and set up an appointment. If you got the best price from an online website, you can still go to the dealership, do the test ride and then ask them to price match. Make sure to keep your pre-approval information handy. If you do not have it yet, visit creditsnap.com from your phone and instantly get pre-approval while you are at the dealership

Step 5: Close the deal

Almost all pre-approvals will send you the check, and all you have to do is take your down payment and that check to close the deal. Finance Manager at the dealership will try to win your loan business by offering a lower monthly payments but the catch is that it will inevitably come with a longer loan term and higher interest. Most dealers mark up car loans by an average 2%

Congratulations on reading this and taking the first step towards your car purchase. See our Pro Tips below for additional money saving tactics.

Pro Tips: 

Often times, the salesman at the dealership opens the conversation with “How much is your monthly car payment?”. Do not give up the negotiating power by letting the salesman dictate what you can afford. Having the pre-approval in your back pocket, you drive the negotiation. Even more importantly, you can keep the negotiation to the car price and not on the monthly payment. Savvy customers know that for the same payment, the salesman can hook you up with a more expensive car – by mereling extending the loan term. Get your approval now by selecting from your eligible offers

With CreditSnap, you choose your best offer from a wide selection. So our customers save big on interest rates which can be as much as $60 to $200 on their monthly car payments depending on the loan amount and loan term

With CreditSnap, you avoid a hard inquiry until you apply for the pre-aualified offer that meets your needs

And the best part – with CreditSnap, you have much better odds at getting approved than other loan portals, banks or credit unions.

  • Banks and Credit Unions have unique wn criteria and will only approve the type of customers they want to add. So if you do not fall into their segment, then you will get declined – can be as much as 50% or more declines
  • Online loan portals show you eligible loan offers based on your vantage score but the real lenders (banks) eventually look at your FICO score, and since the two scores are not one and the same, you run 50% odds of getting declined.
  • CreditSnap, on the other hand, gives your offers based on your FICO score PLUS we only show you offers that you are already pre-qualified for – all of this without hard inquiry impact to your credit profile. So you significantly increase yours odds of approval

Know that dealerships have more profitability in their accessory sales and add-ons. So be wary of signing up for them. You always have the choice to sign up for them after you do your own price shopping. Focus on just the car since that is what you researched