Today we’re talking about what not to do if you go to the dealership, and how to not get taken advantage of. We talk to a lot of people, and a lot of them are afraid to go to car dealerships because they might get taken advantage of. Bonnie and I thought it would be useful and interesting to give you these 5 tips.


The number one thing that a person should be aware of if they go to a dealership is to know your credit score. You need to know what your credit score is! You don’t want a dealership telling you what you qualify for. You’ve worked hard to keep your credit score high, and you pay your bills on time. You don’t want to qualify for three percent and have the dealer tell you that you qualify for eight percent. If you don’t know where your credit score is, then anybody can tell you what you qualify for.


If you don’t know how much you want to spend, and you’re not clear on what your budget is… it’s pretty easy for somebody to talk you into something more than you really are wanting to pay for. We often hear people say that they “can’t afford more car payment”, or “I don’t know why my car payment is so much”. They made the decision to buy, processed what that should be over time, and realized they had more month left than they did money.


People don’t always think about this, but read your paperwork! A lot of times when people buy a house or they buy a car there’s a lot of paperwork and they don’t read it. Most of the time that’s alright, but sometimes things slip through that maybe you didn’t want to really sign. For example, we had somebody come in who had bought a car with a salvage title and she didn’t know it was a salvage title. They hadn’t read the paperwork and the place that she bought it from did not tell her. The car looked really good, she signed all the paperwork, found out later that she had signed for a salvage title.


When you’re going to go and buy a car and you know what kind of car you want, find out what those cars are selling for. The reason this is important is because sometimes people buy a car and they owe more money on it than it was ever worth. Clearly somebody sold them the car for more than than they should have. BUT if you look up on the public data like the NADA website what the car is worth then you know if you’re getting a fair deal or not.

If it were me, I would find out what budget I’m looking at and know what these cars are going to cost before I go test drive them. You don’t want to test drive a car that costs $50,000 when your budget is $30,000.


A lot of people don’t realize that you can go to your bank and you can get a loan from them. You don’t have to borrow the money from the dealership. Your bank is going to run your credit and they’re going to give you a rate based on whatever their going rates are at the time. You can take that and you can go to the dealership and see what rate they will give you. If you’ve already been to your bank and you know what rate they’re going to give you, then it’s going to be obvious which loan you should go with. If you haven’t gone to the bank, and you don’t ask what rate they’re giving you, you might never know which one is right.

So you could qualify for 3%, but when you come sign for your loan it’s at 6%. Even if you’re going to use the dealer’s financing you should find out what you qualify for without a dealer, that way you can trust but verify. You’ll be able to know that these numbers are in the realm of what you were expecting to pay. If it’s double what you were expecting to pay, don’t do the deal.

Know your credit, know your budget, read the paperwork, know what your desired vehicle is selling for, and know what rate you qualify for. A lot of this we can help walk you through. We can help you understand how much you’re really paying. We can help you know what your desired vehicle is selling for, and you can buy or lease that vehicle from us. Save yourself the trouble of going to a dealership. BUT if you’re not going to work with us, then please follow these steps so you don’t get taken advantage of.