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Buying A Car? Here Are 5 Ways To Get The Best Value

Before you decide on your next car you need to get up to speed on your finance options, writes Geraldine Herbert.

1. Know your finance options

Finance has never been cheaper but to get the best deal do shop around. There are a range of options, including personal loans, hire purchase (HP) and personal contract purchase (PCP). Loans are offered by banks, building societies and credit card organisations so compare interest rates, terms and conditions. With HP you repay, by instalments, the total cost of the car, plus interest. At the end of the contract the car is yours. In contrast, a PCP has lower monthly repayments because you are not paying off the full value of the car you are essentially leasing the car for three years. At the end of the contract you have the option of returning the keys, buying the car outright or negotiating another PCP.

2. Haggle

Don’t be afraid to haggle before making any car purchase and agreeing on a finance deal. Obviously the more money you are spending on the car the greater the scope for manoeuvring but regardless of the price it is always worth trying to negotiate. If you can’t get secure a discount then don’t under estimate the value of some optional extras instead.

3. Take the long view

When it comes to buying always negotiate the total cost rather than a monthly repayment. Often monthly or weekly repayments can conceal an expensive deal. Also you’ll need to factor in running costs, insurance cover, warranties and breakdown cover – so don’t overstretch yourself and ask the dealer about any hidden fees or costs.

4. Do the maths

Compare loans and finance by APR – this essentially is the real cost of borrowing money because it includes interest and charges. The lower the APR, the better the finance deal. Remember a longer repayment period reduces the monthly payment, but it will also drive up your total cost so negotiate for the highest monthly payment you can comfortably afford as higher monthly payment will get you out of debt faster.

5. Know when to buy

Sometimes getting a good deal simply depends on the what time of the year you are buying, Convertibles tend to be more expensive during the summer months but it’s a great time to get a bargain 4 x4. This time of the year is the very best time to secure a good deal on a new car, as this period just before the new 171 registration plates and it is also the quietest time in dealerships.

Do you have any tips to add? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Geraldine Herbert has been a motoring journalist for over fifteen years and is Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent, Irish Country Magazine and editor of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the Women’s World Car of the Year Geraldine is also a contributor to Good Housekeeping magazine and a regular commentator on consumer and motoring matters on RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio.

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