Buying a car is a major investment, especially in the current market. You want to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal so that you’re not spending an exorbitant amount just to be able to get places. But while many will haggle to get the best possible deal, there is an art to it. If you’re in the market for a new or used vehicle, here are five financial tips for receiving a fair offer when buying a car.

1. Do Your Research

It’s hard to determine whether or not you’re getting a fair offer if you don’t know what a fair offer looks like to begin with. Take your time to conduct research to learn more about which cars appeal most to you and how much those models traditionally go for. Make sure to compare prices at different car dealerships to see what they’re charging in your area as well.

2. Start Lower Than What Your Ideal Offer Is

While you should aim to have a dealer make the first move, you can prompt them to begin the negotiations by offering a number that’s lower than what you would consider acceptable. Then, when you start negotiating, you can act as though raising that number is offering them more of a deal and paying exactly what you expected to in the first place.

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3. Get Preapproved for an Auto Loan

Getting preapproved for a car loan is good for two reasons. First, it shows you how much you can actually afford to spend on a car so you are able to narrow your options when you’re conducting research. That being said, it can also help the dealer understand that you have a strict budget and aren’t going to be negotiated beyond what your car loan is. This can be used as leverage.

4. Consider All of the Other Fees Involved

A lower price on a car can seem like a win, but there are a ton of hidden costs that dealers might not tell you about. Make sure to factor these in when you’re calculating what a reasonable offer might be. Some of the hidden fees that you should keep in mind include VIN etching fees, documentation processing, conveyance fees, and more.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around

It’s important that you don’t feel backed into a corner when you’re trying to negotiate with dealers. If you’re not getting the deal that you believe you deserve, you can always consider what they’re offering and shop elsewhere to see if you can score a better deal there. No matter what it is you’re looking for, someone out there is likely willing to go in the ballpark of what you’re asking.

Shopping for a car is something that many prepare for because they know how easy it is to get talked into a deal that isn’t actually a deal. If you’re in the market for a car, use these tips to make sure you get a fair offer on your next vehicle.

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