Tips to consider before heading to car lot

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PHOENIX - Car shopping, whether it's for a new or used car, can be downright draining. In order to be prepared before you make a purchase you'll later regret, be sure to do the following.

First of all, if you're buying from a car lot or a car dealer make sure to not only bring some patience but also be prepared to walk away. The last thing you want to do is get involved in something that you just can't afford.

Secondly, make you sure you know what you want. In other words, do you want an SUV or a something smaller to get to work in? Make up your mind before you walk on the lot and you'll save yourself problems.
  
Also, if you're trading in your car, make sure you know it's value. You can do that by going to Kelly Blue Book or try Edmunds.com, another popular website.

Next, be sure to get prior financing from your own bank or credit union. That way, you'll already know how much you can afford and you'll know your monthly payment. Many consumers finance through the dealer and then get called from the dealer a week later claiming they were approved for a much higher interest rate than they thought. Unfortunately, you're usually stuck paying the higher rate.

Checking out the vehicle is also very important. If it's a used car, you can investigate the car's history by going to CarFax.com to see how many people have owned it before and whether the car was in a collision.
  
Finally, beware of "extras." Consumer advocates have been saying for years that those extended warranties and other things pushed at the end just aren't worth it.

Most importantly, I always tell people to make a deal and then sleep on it. If you wake up the next day and you're satisfied with the deal, go for it. However, if you rush into signing paperwork, you may wake up with buyer's remorse.