If you’ve found out a lot about a new car, you want to act fast. However, it is important that you are prepared, so you should know what to take when buying a car. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of time.
In this guide, we break down all the possessions you should have with you when you visit. We also discuss additional items you should have when trading in a car.
Items to take when buying a car
You will need your driver’s license and proof of residency. To prove your income and credit score, you will also need pay stubs, references, a credit report, and loan pre-approval documents. You must also bring your car insurance card, the bonuses to which you are entitled, and the payment for the vehicle.
1. Driving license
Before you can go out in a vehicle for a test drive, the dealership will copy your license. However, this photo ID is also required for the purchase or rental contract.
You want to double-check your license to make sure it is still valid and contains the correct address. Otherwise, you must arrange it before your appointment.
2. Car insurance
You must have proof of insurance before purchasing a car from a dealership. Although you can start the process while you are the distributor, it is time-consuming.
Instead, call your agent ahead of time and put the car on your policy. Don’t forget to bring your cards to the appointment.
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If you apply for a loan, you must prove your income. It is best to bring several weeks’ worth of pay stubs to the appointment.
You can also bring last year’s tax return to check for consistency. If necessary, the distributor can request permission to contact their employer.
4. Proof of residence
If you have recently moved, you are required to provide proof of your place of residence. It’s easy to prove if you have utility bills in your name with the correct address.
They must be recent. You will also want the account number to be visible so the dealer can confirm the information with the utility company if necessary.
5. Credit history
The dealership will pull your credit history during the appointment. However, it is useful to have this information on hand during the negotiation process because you already know what you are entitled to.
If there are any problems with your credit report, it is best to fix them before applying for a loan. Otherwise, you could pay more than necessary.
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6. Loan pre-approval
If you plan to finance the vehicle from an outside source, please have this information with you for the appointment. Sometimes it’s best to go to your credit union or bank to get a better rate.
This process may take a little longer, but with a pre-approval letter, the dealership will be better able to work with you. Plus, you have the confidence of knowing what budget you’re working with.
There are many discounts you may be eligible for. Do a preliminary search on the manufacturer’s website to see what you qualify for, whether you’re a recent graduate or a veteran.
You want to take this information with you because it could determine the car you choose. Additionally, it is important to read all the fine print to avoid getting into trouble.
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If you are trying to get a loan with little or no credit, you will have to work a little harder. It is important to provide the dealer with a list of references who are not family members. In fact, they should be professional contacts.
You may also need a co-signer. If so, bring that person with you, along with all your documents.
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There are several ways to pay for your new car, but you must bring it with you. A handful of people choose to buy their car with cash or check. If this is your case, make sure you have the money with you or in your bank account, ready to use.
If you are applying for a loan or leasing a car, you will need a little more time at the dealership to complete the paperwork. You’ll also want to make a down payment on the car to reduce monthly expenses and qualify for special rates.
If you prefer, you can also use your credit card. This is useful if your credit card has a low-interest rate or if you get special benefits for using it. However, you want to call the dealership ahead of time to make sure it’s an option. Since the dealer has to pay trading fees, some of them limit the transaction amount. They only want credit cards to be used for deposits, so you may run into problems. If you still want to pay by credit card, you may be able to enter into an agreement where you pay their merchant fees, usually around 3%.
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Items to take when changing a car
If you trade in a car, you must have the title with you. If you don’t have it, call your local DMV first to obtain a duplicate for an additional fee.
The dealer needs you to transfer this title to them when you deliver the vehicle. However, your lender may have the title, but the dealer will handle this transaction when they pay off the loan for you.
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2. Car Registration
You must have current registration for the car you are trading in. Otherwise, you would not have been legally allowed to drive it to the dealership.
If registration needs to be renewed, it must be done in advance. If you don’t, the dealer may pay you money on the trade-in value.
READ MORE: Can you sell a car whose registration has expired?
3. Clean car
It doesn’t take long to take the vehicle to a car wash and detail the interior. This small step can make a big difference in the amount of money you receive from trading.
Additionally, it is important that you remove all your belongings from the vehicle before driving it. If you don’t, you could easily forget to take out something important in the middle of the transaction.
4. All keys
Replacing keys is very expensive. This is why the dealer will want you to bring all the keys you have with you.
If you don’t have the transponder, the dealer may charge you the cost of replacing it. You should also have the owner’s manual with the car hidden in the glove compartment.
5. Service logs
If you have meticulously maintained your vehicle, it is important to have all of these records with you. The more you can show that you took care of it, the better the prize you will receive.
Get a folder with all your service logs. You will also want receipts for any repairs that were made, especially if they were major.