The Real Insider’s Guide to Buying a Car

And by insiders, we mean us. Financing rides is a Grow specialty, and we work with reputable dealerships all across the Southeast. Yes, they want to sell you a car, but not defraud you. Sad to say, most bad deals are because the buyer wasn’t prepared or felt pressured. Here’s how you really can get a good deal:

  1. Know What Can You Afford. Do the math: monthly payment + insurance + maintenance + all your regular bills = BIG $$$$. And can you dip into savings for a down payment? More cash up front means lower monthly payments.
  2. Pre-Shop cars online and compare dealer prices against the NADA value to get an idea of a fair price. On pre-owned vehicles, get a CARFAX®.
  3. Check Your Credit Score and get a free copy of your credit report at, so you have an idea of what financing to expect.
  4. Detail Your Old Car. Make it presentable and more valuable as a trade-in, and look up the estimated value. You probably won’t get the full value on your trade but knowing what it’s worth can give you a little more leverage, especially if it’s well maintained.
  5. Read Dealer Reviews on Dealer Rater, and the user reviews on dealer sites. Don’t see a lot of happy customers? Don’t go there.
  6. Plan Your Visit. Make an appointment at the dealership and expect to spend at least 3-4 hours there. Leave the kids at home if you can. You’re making a big decision – distractions are the last thing you need.
  7. Read All the Paperwork. The dealer will walk you through the sales contract and if something isn’t clear, ask. Understand the details before signing.
  8. You’re in Charge. Forget about playing hardball. Just remember this – it’s your money. Not happy with the offer? Ask for a better one, and if doesn’t work out, walk away. Buy when the deal feels right.

Oh, and did you Grow also offers our members good cars at good prices? Check out CU AutoBranch, where qualified buyers can get financing as low as 0.0% APR1 on Grow pre-owned vehicles. Just one last tip, worth considering.

Membership required—subject to eligibility.
Subject to credit approval.
1Fixed rates for pre-owned vehicles owned by Grow range between 0% APR to 5.00% APR. The rate you receive is determined by your credit history, year of the vehicle, and term of the loan. This special financing rate only applies to Grow Financial pre-owned vehicles sold through CU Auto Branch. Some restrictions apply. CU Auto Branch is not an affiliate of Grow Financial Federal Credit Union. The rates quoted are effective 9/28/2018 and are subject to change. Subject to credit approval.

filed under: general education

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