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After a home mortgage, a car is likely to be one of the biggest purchases of your life. It’s an expense worth preparing for.

The average price of a light vehicle fresh off the lot is $33,666, according to a recent Kelley Blue Book report. Here are four ways to drop that price:

Research first
Before even considering going to a dealership or negotiating a price, do your homework online first and research everything you can about the car you want. This includes knowing exactly what features you want in a car and what the prices for it are in your area and online.

Money shop
Go to the manufacturer’s website to see if it’s offering zero-percent financing or cash back incentives.

Next, check into the dealer’s other finance options. If you have excellent credit, you may qualify for a low loan rate that can beat a bank loan.

But don’t forget to shop for a car loan at your bank, credit union or online to compare fees and see where you can get the best financing.

Call, don’t visit in person
Eventually, you’ll want to visit a car dealership to look at cars. But if you already know which car you want, call local dealerships and ask for their lowest price on the car you want with the options you want.

Their price quote over the phone should include all taxes and fees so that you’re not surprised when you arrive. Give them a deadline, such as 5 p.m. today, to call you with their best price.

Focus on price, not loan length
Whether negotiating in person, online or over the phone, don’t focus on how low the monthly payments can be if you finance the purchase through the dealer. Instead, bargain based on the overall price of the car.

The finance specialist at the dealership may try to extend the monthly payments for five years so that the payments are low. But that can increase the final price of the car. Don’t answer when they ask what monthly payment you’re looking for.

Be prepared to walk
If you do visit a dealership and fall in love with a car, be prepared to walk away if it’s not for the price you want. There are plenty of other places to buy cars, and plenty of other cars to choose from, and a salesperson knows that if you leave they may not get another chance to get you as a customer.

I hope you found this information helpful. Contact me for your real estate needs today!