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How to Negotiate as a Cash Buyer (When You Don't Have Cash)

Buying a car with cash

If you want to buy with cash when you’re on the search for a new car (and you have the cash on hand to do so), that’s great! However, a lot of people don’t have enough money or liquidity to go into a dealership and buy with cash. But there are options available through credit unions and lenders so it’s like you’re buying with cash.

If that sounds a bit complex—don’t worry—it’s not as confusing as it may sound. Negotiations with a dealer on the financing of the car will only get you so far. Much like a blank check auto loan, which gives you a maximum loan amount that covers the cost of the car, the title, and all the fees, an express auto loan can do the same thing, and it’s quick, like using cash.

Rivermark Community Credit Union offers an express auto loan that may be perfect for you as you embark on your car search. Check with us today to learn about the rates and offers for which you qualify.

What Is an Express Auto Loan?

An express auto loan at Rivermark is a quick way to get the “blank check” approval in your hands. The goal of this type of loan is to make buying a car easy. With a preapproval, you’ll be able to know how much you can spend and use that knowledge to negotiate confidently with the dealer. Once you have the financial details agreed upon, you can write in the total amount and be on your way.

Most express auto loans have a simple step process for you to follow:

  1. Apply for the loan. You can do this online or at the brick-and-mortar location. You’ll receive a preapproval and will know how much you can afford.
  2. Receive the express “check. It is valid up to the maximum amount at a licensed dealer.
  3. Do the leg work. Most lenders offer you a bit of time so you can decide on a vehicle and do some shopping around. Thirty days is about the amount of time you have to select a vehicle and use the express “blank check.” Your loan starts only once you’ve found your perfect vehicle.
  4. Can I get your John Hancock? With the perfect car in your sights, now you sign the check and drive your new car home. The check is valid for any amount up to the maximum loan amount. Enjoy your new car!

Why Negotiations as a Cash Buyer Can Help You Save Money

Let’s be honest: salespeople negotiate and talk numbers for a living. They do the same sort of things day in and day out. That doesn’t have to mean they’re going to try to take you for a metaphorical spin in the financing department, but that is another way dealers make money. They make a profit from selling the car, and they often make a profit when getting individuals to finance the vehicle through them.

When you’re empowered to negotiate like a cash buyer (meaning you know how much you have to spend) and you’ve done your research, there’s more will to get the price down to the right place. In addition to being able to walk away with a great new vehicle, you’re likely going to have a loan with a much lower and more competitive interest rate.

Tips for How to Tactfully Negotiate with Sales Professionals

Research the car you want.

Knowing the market value of the car is a huge benefit in the first place. There’s no he-said, she-said, they-said, just you with the knowledge of what the car’s worth. You can strengthen your negotiating power by reading everything you can about how much the average car of this make and model sells for.

Keep to discussing the car.

That doesn’t mean you have to be gruff, but by keeping emotions out of the buying process, you’re able to keep a level head and focus on the objective. You’ll know if you feel good about the deal you reached as you walk (or drive) off the lot. By staying on task, you won’t risk a slipup that could unnecessarily cost you more.

Negotiate one thing at a time.

Dealers can sometimes want to focus on the whole transaction instead of breaking it down into separate components. It’s in your best interest to insist on the latter. Negotiate the price of the car. Then move on to anything else like a trade-in or any extras to add on.

Stay focused on the total price of the car. This is much easier since you already have a figure in mind as a maximum. It may be best to not initially tell the dealer how you’re planning to pay, so stay focused on the numbers before informing them you’re paying in full.

If the dealer isn’t listening to the way you want to discuss the terms of the agreement, be polite and firmly tell them what makes you comfortable. If they still are insistent on “their way,” find a dealer who will work with you.

Focus on the final price.

It’s called different things, such as an “out-the-door” or “drive-away” price. Whatever the name, it’s the final amount of money that will be spent on the car. Assertively tell the dealer that you want to only work with your number, and it should include all the taxes, fees, and other costs due at the time of signing. If they try to change the numbers as you’re completing the deal, it’s worth walking away from it and finding a dealership with more integrity.

Questions About Auto Loans?

Our auto loan resources page can help you make informed decisions as you prepare to shop for a car or apply for an auto loan. And, as always, you can call Rivermark and speak directly to a lending expert by calling 503.626.6600.

Auto Loan Resources