When it comes to buying a car in 2024, there are three things to know to spend less, and avoid overpaying. To navigate this evolving market, we sought the expert advice of CarEdge Co-Founder Ray Shefska, who shared his top insights for those looking to purchase a new or used vehicle this year. Here are three crucial points to consider before making your decision.
1. Negotiate Aging Inventory
The first key point is the potential for negotiation due to aging inventory. Remember this: the average new car sells for nearly $50,000 these days, but you DON’T have to spend that much. Lot inventory has risen substantially over recent months, especially with new cars. Use this to your advantage!
Auto industry veteran Ray Shefska emphasizes the importance of doing your research before talking to ANY salesperson. “With the cost of carrying on hand inventory higher than it has been in over a decade, how many days a vehicle has been in the dealer’s inventory is extremely important.” Ray is referring to sky-high floorplanning costs. High interest rates don’t just hit buyers; car dealers are impacted too.
Ray advises asking the salesperson or Sales Manager about the oldest vehicles in terms of inventory days, especially those that match your preferences in trim and color. Better yet, use tools like CarEdge Data to find particularly negotiable new or used car inventory in your area.
As Shefska points out, aging inventory is perfectly ripe for negotiating a sweet deal. “The longer any vehicle sits, the greater the carrying costs are, and the greater the impact is on the profitability of the vehicle sale.” This situation presents a unique opportunity for buyers to put car buying skills to work, saving thousands of dollars along the way.
2. Understand Your Credit and Buying Power BEFORE Shopping
The second critical thing to know before buying any car in 2024 is your credit situation. Knowing your credit score is always a good thing, but with auto loan rates averaging north of 10% APR, it matters now more than ever before.
It’s painful to say, but the average new car APR is now 9.95%. Used car prices may be lower, but be prepared to pay more in loan interest. Today, the average used car rate is almost 14% APR. Ray stresses the importance of getting pre-approved and knowing your budget limits. “If you’re open to APR offers below 5%, the opportunities are nearly endless as automakers increase incentives to sell excess inventory,” he adds, highlighting the importance of shopping around.
Remember, before committing to a car purchase, it’s crucial to know where your credit score stands and what monthly payment you can comfortably afford.
There are plenty of free car payment calculators available online, such as this calculator from NerdWallet. Be sure to enter an APR that you’re likely to qualify for! Not sure? Perhaps a good first step would be to speak with your local credit union.
3. Factor in the Rising Cost of Auto Insurance
Wouldn’t it be nice if loan payments were all you had to plan for? Your monthly car bill is just the beginning. There’s also gas money, the possibility of repairs or routine maintenance, and of course car insurance. And that’s aside from worsening depreciation in 2024.
A recent analysis by Insurify shows that auto insurance premiums increased by 24% in 2023 and are likely to climb an additional 7% in 2024. This makes it essential to get an insurance quote before finalizing your vehicle purchase. As Ray warns, “Many people are shocked when they find out how much their insurance premium will increase because of the vehicle that they just purchased.” Understanding this expense is crucial for maintaining a manageable monthly budget. Learn more about auto insurance rates in 2024.
Preparation Sums It All Up
These insights offer a clear roadmap for new and used car buyers in 2024. By focusing on these key areas – negotiating on aging inventory, understanding your financial capacity, and considering rising ownership costs like insurance and maintenance – you can make a well-informed and financially sound decision when purchasing your next vehicle. Remember, preparation and knowledge are your best tools in the current automotive market.
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