Evaluate your purchase incentive options.

Dealers will usually offer a choice between a cash rebate or a discounted financing rate, but not both. You may come out ahead by selecting the rebate and applying it to your purchase price, then using your own low interest rate loan (instead of taking the dealer’s rate offer). Bring a calculator of laptop to the dealer to see what option is best for you.

Approach your purchase as three different transactions.

Treat the car-buying process as three separate transactions: 1) financing; 2) vehicle price; and 3) trade-in value. This strategy will maximize your negotiating opportunities and simplify the transaction by breaking the process into three manageable parts.

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