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Today you can buy just about anything online with the tap of a finger or the click of a mouse. That goes for cars, too. Whether you’re buying a new or used vehicle, you can do everything from researching cars to requesting price quotes, wherever you use your devices.

Create a budget

Before you start searching for cars for sale online, decide how much you want to spend. This may help you determine if a new or used car is in your future. Use an online vehicle affordability calculator to help you figure out what you might be able to afford based on your budget. You can also calculate a car payment based on your budget. After your budget is in place, create a list of the features you want to help you refine your search.

Find your best auto loan option

Next, secure your auto financing. While a dealership is more than happy to lend you money, the terms will likely benefit their bottom line more than yours. Do your research ahead of time. Apply for a new auto loan or used auto loan with the best interest rate and terms before you head to the dealer website. If approved, this puts you in a better position to negotiate your loan rate and purchase price.

Check websites to find and buy your car

There are a number of websites offering everything from car-buying reviews from customers to negotiating tactics to help you get the best deal. You can also find new or used car values online. If you feel comfortable, use the links from any of these sites to visit dealer websites.

Once online, you can request free quotes on your preferred vehicle from dealers. Compare the quotes from car value sites against free online quotes you request from dealers to get the best pricing on your preferred vehicle.

The more quotes you get, the greater your chances may be of finding your car at the lowest possible price. When you speak or chat online with a salesperson, be upfront about your plans to get multiple quotes. This is a negotiating tactic you can use to request the bottom-line price, including any dealer fees.

The salesperson will want to know if you have a trade-in and may ask what you want the monthly payment to be. Don’t negotiate a purchase price based on a monthly payment. This is also not the time to talk about financing. Be firm. You want a price —the rest doesn’t matter at that moment.

Let someone else do the work

No time or interest in negotiating a price with new car dealers? An online car buying service allows you to choose the features you want, buy your car online and have it delivered. You can even arrange for a trade-in online, if you need to.

Make sure any car you’re thinking about buying from an online source is a good fit, since you’ll probably be in it for a few years.

The advice provided is for informational purposes only. Contact a financial advisor for additional guidance. 

Used Auto Loan is subject to approval. APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Vehicles may not be older than 10 years or have mileage in excess of 150,000 at time of loan origination. Loan terms up to 72 months are available for used vehicles 5 years of age or less with mileage less than 100,000. Loan terms are limited to a maximum of 48 months for vehicle models between 6 and 10 years old, or with mileage that exceeds 100,000 up to maximum of 150,000. LGFCU will finance 100% of the NADA value, plus an additional 10% to cover purchase-related expenses such as tax, tags and extended warranties. Cash-out is not permitted on purchase transactions and cash-out refinance transactions are limited to a maximum Loan to Value of 100%. Lending is limited to residents of NC, SC, GA, TN and VA. No pre-payment penalties. Vehicles with branded (flooded, salvaged or reconstructed) titles or motorcycles, boats, RVs and commercial vehicles are not acceptable collateral. Product availability and current rates may be changed at any time at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Borrower must maintain collision and comprehensive insurance protection with a maximum deductible of $1,000 for the life of the loan. Must be age 18 or older to qualify for lending services.

New Auto Loan is subject to approval. APR = Annual Percentage Rate. A new vehicle is defined as current, prior or upcoming model year with 10,000 miles or less. LGFCU will finance 100% of the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), plus an additional 10% to cover purchase-related expenses such as tax, tags and extended warranties. Cash-out is not permitted on purchase transactions and cash-out refinance transactions are limited to a maximum Loan to Value of 100%. Lending is limited to residents in NC, SC, GA, TN and VA. No pre-payment penalties. Vehicles with branded (flooded, salvaged or reconstructed) titles or motorcycles, boats, RVs and commercial vehicles are not acceptable collateral. Product availability and current rates may be changed at any time at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Borrower must maintain collision and comprehensive insurance protection with a maximum deductible of $1,000 for the life of the loan. Must be age 18 or older to qualify for lending services.

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