A new year is here, and you’ve decided one of the first things you’re going to do is buy a car. To better ensure you don’t regret how much you paid for your new wheels in the coming months, you need to learn how to negotiate. You likely aren’t used to haggling or negotiating, which is what some dealerships count on. Armed with the right tips and knowledge, you can drive away a winner and a saver.

Do Some Deep Research

You can’t properly negotiate if you don’t even know how much the vehicle you’re eyeing is actually worth. Do some online searching on official sites to learn how much value your dream car currently holds. Take this a step further and find out what you can expect to pay for a specific model, trim, features, package and the like. Compare what you find to what’s available at the dealership.

Secure Outside Financing

Do yourself a favor and get pre-approved for financing before heading to the dealership to get help finding a new vehicle. Having to negotiate price and have the dealership handle your financing can complicate matters. If you like, you can see if the dealership can offer better financing than what you’ve secured on your own.

Shop at Multiple Dealerships

While you may not feel up the task of driving around to several different dealerships, doing so can save you a lot more than what you spend in gas money. By limiting yourself to just one dealership, you could be missing out on finding a salesperson willing to meet your negotiating terms. Even better is the fact that you may not have to drive to a single dealership. You can message the dealership’s online sales department to see what’s what. No matter how many dealerships you reach out to, let them know you’re exploring your options. When they learn there’s competition for your business (and money), they may be more a bit more willing to bend.

Focus on Price Rather Than Payment

Of course, the price of the vehicle impacts how much you can expect in regards to monthly car payments. That said, you want to concentrate on the upfront cost of the car rather than your installment payment. This is because financing can be stretched out to several years to make your monthly payments smaller. It’s great to have a low payment, but you may find yourself upside down on your loan. This means you owe more on the vehicle than it’s currently worth.

Let the Salesperson Go First

So, you’ve found the car you like, have taken it for a test drive and expressed your interest. Now it’s time to talk price. The salesperson needs the sale more than you do, mainly because you can likely head elsewhere for the same car. Let the salesperson make the opening offer. This is because when it comes to negotiating, once you name your initial price, you can’t go lower without coming off as suspicious.

When you do make your offer, drop the number and say nothing else. The salesperson is likely to grow unsettled by the silence and want to fill it with something you want to hear, like a better offer. Don’t be afraid to let your face show your displeasure. The salesperson will probably want to change things around so that you’re all smiles. Even if you agree with the proposed amount, it never hurts to see just how low you can go!

Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away

Again, you hold all the cards here. If a car salesperson isn’t willing to meet your price, don’t hesitate to walk away. Just like you shouldn’t be afraid to walk away from a bad relationship, you shouldn’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal.

Hopefully, these tips will prove useful for your upcoming trip to the dealership. Start the new year off with a new car and healthy finances.