Buying a car for the first time can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Here is some advice if it's your first time in the market! 

  • High Pressure Selling, Not Meeting Your Needs. Beware the salesperson who just wants to make the sale rather than taking the time to get to know your needs and preferences. A genuine salesperson will listen to what you have to say and explain the process each step of the way. Remember, there's no rush! You have the right to set the pace that is comfortable for you! As soon as the salesperson starts to feel pushy, just walk out the door.
  • Stressful Negotiations and Haggling. One thing that can put any car buyer on edge before they visit a dealership is the thought of trying to negotiate or haggle over prices. Some salespeople take advantage of most people’s aversion to negotiating and get buyers to pay way more than they should have. An easy way to avoid this one entirely is to shop at a dealership that uses firm, up-front pricing where you never have to haggle or negotiate.
  • Emphasizing Monthly Payment Over Purchase Price. Another red flag first-time car buyers should watch out for is when salespeople only talk in terms of what kind of monthly payment would work for you. When they focus your attention on that instead of the price of the vehicle, you can bet that they’re going to stick you with a financing deal spread out over many years to give you that monthly payment you want even though you’ll wind up paying way more for the vehicle than you should over the length of the loan. Keep the price of the vehicle in mind first, then if you need financing your focus can be on getting good terms that will work for you.
  • Misdirection and Misinformation. If you’re looking at a car and notice something about it, such as a potential problem or sign that the car might have been in an accident, how does the salesperson respond? If they brush it off with something like, “Oh, we’ll take care of that for you,” don’t just take their word for it. You need the real details about this car and any potential problems it might have. First-time car buyers should do their homework and know how to evaluate any car they’re looking at. And also take it to a trusted mechanic for a thorough inspection before buying it.
  • End-of-Deal FeesIt’s always disappointing when first-time car buyers find a vehicle they like at a decent price, but when they sit down to do the paperwork, they find out there are hundreds of dollars in processing fees, title and registration fees, licensing fees, and who knows what else. These are ways that dealerships mask what the true final cost of the vehicle is going to be until the very end of the process when you’re ready to close the deal and get the car. Yes, dealerships do have a lot of overhead expenses they need to cover, but some charge a lot more in these quasi-hidden fees than others, so don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t like what you’re seeing.