The average cost of a new vehicle today is around $30,000. Whether you desire the shiny, brand new car or if you are content with a reliable used ride, you want to get the most for your money. The actual process of finding, researching, financing and buying that car doesn’t need to be scary or intimidating. In fact, the process can be broken down into a simple acronym: RAIN.

After you have met with Mid Oregon Credit Union and have your financing secured, you are now ready for the RAIN technique, an effective acronym for making a wise purchase.

What is RAIN?

R stands for research.

A means ask questions.

I stands for investigate or inspect.

N is for negotiate.

Doing Your Homework

Research – In this step you will use information from publications like Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book and other sources to make sure the vehicle you are looking at is a wise choice. You want to check out the reliability of the vehicle to make sure it is wise investment. You also need to use the buyer’s guide to find out pricing of the vehicles you are looking at. It’s easy to find the sticker or retail price, but your goal should be to find out the wholesale price. That means the price the dealership paid minus any rebates, hold-backs or incentives. That is the price you will use to negotiate when the time is right.

Ask – You want to contact the insurance company and find out the rates you can expect with the vehicle you are looking at. You’ll also want to ask the dealership for information about the average cost of upkeep. This information is critical as you examine the overall costs of the purchase you are going to make. There are a lot of costs associated with vehicle ownership–insurance is a major one. Ask your agent for a quote so there are no surprises later.

Shopping for New or Used?

Investigate or inspect – If you are considering a brand new car, you will go to the dealership and investigate it. Be sure the salesperson knows that on this trip you will be test driving only and not looking to make a deal quite yet. This is your opportunity to get a feel for the car. Is it the one that is going to meet your needs? How does it handle? Will you be happy with it for years to come?

If you are in search of a used vehicle, the inspection process is very important. Even if you have limited knowledge of automobiles, everyone can conduct a basic inspection. Check out the exterior and interior. Take it for a test drive and see how it handles, how it accelerates and how it brakes. When this inspection process is complete and if this is a car you are serious about, take it to a certified mechanic for a full diagnostic check. It may cost you $100 but not only will you get a detailed report of the condition, most will provide you with a list of problem areas and the cost to fix them. This will be helpful for your last step.

Negotiate – For many the negotiation process is one that is intimidating. Everyone wants to get the best deal and there are salespeople that are seeking to make the most money possible. Pick out two to three dealerships to visit. Since you already have done your test drive, you are ready to make the deal.

A good way to take the pressure off of you is to tell the salesperson that you have other dealerships you will be visiting and the one that offers the best deal will be getting your business, so, “What is the lowest price you can offer on this vehicle?” Take that number and visit your other dealerships. See which offer comes in the best. If you still aren’t happy with the offers, you may share what you think is fair based on the research you have done. If they say no, move on.

Buying a Car a Big Decision

Purchasing a vehicle is probably going to be the second largest expenditure in your life. Your key to getting the best deal should be your goal to be prepared. Following these steps will help you tremendously. Always remember, Mid Oregon Credit Union can provide not only the best financial deal for you, but they are also there for support, guidance and education.