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Car Buying Made Easy

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Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:34 am, Sun Apr 27, 2014.

(Family Features) Buying a car may be one of the biggest purchases you make in a lifetime. When searching for the perfect car to fit your personal needs, there are many things to consider before hitting the sales lot and filling out the paperwork.

Here are some tips to simplify the car buying process and improve the overall shopping experience.

Determine Budget: Before getting your heart set on a car that could break the bank, you need to calculate your estimated price range. To avoid getting in over your head, follow the general rule of thumb that payments shouldn't exceed more than 20 percent of your monthly take-home pay.

Do Your Research: Start your search on sites that allow you to browse and compare vehicles from various automakers side by side, so you can learn how they stack up. One of the leading sites, Edmunds.com, has been a trusted and reliable online shopping resource for 20 years and offers tools that will make your car shopping journey much easier.

Decide What Is Right For You: The type of car you choose should reflect your lifestyle. Narrow your options by considering how you'll use the car on a daily basis. Ask yourself questions, like how many passengers you'll need to accommodate; whether you typically drive on the highway, in the city or off-road; and how much cargo space you'll need. If you want someone to help walk you through all the considerations, which can be overwhelming, check out Edmunds.com's Live Advice. Through this free service, a real person on the other end of a phone, email or online chat will answer your questions with unbiased expertise and will help you through the entire journey, from research to purchase.

Browse Inventory Online: Before heading out the door, review a listing of the available cars in your area from the comfort of your own home. Search Edmunds.com to view local cars for sale, find car reviews and view dealer ratings.

Secure the Price: Once you've found the car you would like to purchase, the next step is to obtain price quotes from a few different dealers and compare them with the market value. You can bypass the negotiation process and secure a fair price upfront by getting an Edmunds Price Promise certificate, which is a dealer guaranteed, vehicle specific price quote. Take the price certificate along with you to the dealer to simplify the purchasing process.

Once you have the car in mind and a price in hand, arrange for a test drive and move forward with the purchase. By following these tips before you step foot on the sales lot, the entire car buying process should be a more enjoyable experience.

For more helpful car buying tips or to find cars for sale near you, visit www.Edmunds.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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