Buying a vehicle can be a fun experience, especially the part when you get to drive the one you want off the lot. Millions of people buy new and used vehicles every year, ranging from compact cars to trucks, SUV’s and luxury brands.

While you don’t necessarily have to become an expert before buying a new or used vehicle, it helps to keep certain things in mind. Try to remember the following seven things before you go car shopping next:

1. Make sure you have a few hours

While most dealers will try to get your transaction handled as quickly and painlessly as possible, you should still plan to be at the dealership for a few hours to handle picking out a vehicle, going on a test drive, and handling financing and paperwork. Unfortunately, buying a vehicle is never a five minute purchase.

2. Trade-in value estimations are only a guide

It can certainly help to look up your vehicle’s trade-in value online, but keep in mind that online value estimator tools only serve as guides. The actual trade-in value will depend on your car’s condition, the market demands of the area you’re in, and whether or not the dealer thinks it can resell the vehicle.

3. Your credit will be a factor

If you’re planning on financing or leasing a vehicle, remember that your credit and income will play a major factor in determining your payments and whether you can qualify. If you have pristine credit, then you have nothing to worry about, but a spotty history might take a little more effort to get approved. In either case, your salesperson will work with you to help you through the process.  

4. Bring your paperwork

In order to save time and make the process go smoothly, you should have all of the necessary paperwork ready and bring it with you when you go car shopping. Make sure to bring your vehicle title, and bring your most recent loan statement if you are making payments on a car you’re trading in. Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license with you, and your insurance information so that you can call to switch your insurance over to your new vehicle.

5. Be prepared to test drive

Buying a vehicle without taking it for a test drive isn’t recommended. Always plan to take the vehicle you’re interested in out for a drive and try to get an idea of how it feels in various conditions, whether it’s in traffic or on the highway.

6. Have fun

Too many people forget that shopping for a car should be a fun experience. You work hard for your money so you should enjoy the process of spending it. Remember, you’re in the driver’s seat (literally), so try to have a good time making your next big purchase. 

7. Give me a call

Ok, this one might be a bit self-promotional, but before you go car shopping, you should give me a call. I’d love to answer your questions and help you with your vehicle needs. I take great pride in what I do and want to be a trusted resource for all of my customers. And even if we don’t have anything that’s perfect for you, I’d be happy to steer you in the right direction.