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3 Simple Steps to Buying a Car

The traditional car buying process, in which shoppers search for a car and then haggle over financing with a dealer, often puts buyers at a significant disadvantage. When you obtain financing from a dealer, you may not end up getting the best rate possible, and the rate you receive may exceed what you had budgeted for. Following these steps to buying a car can help eliminate the uncertainties of financing and help save you money on your next vehicle purchase.


There are the fun parts of buying a car: the picking out, looking at options, test-driving, and then there are the not-so-fun parts: like haggling and time spent getting financing. Nationwide wants to introduce you to a new way to buy a car - a way that puts you ahead of the game and makes all of those annoying parts of the car-buying process a little less frustrating.

You know how car buying usually goes: you go into the dealership, pick out a car, and then you spend most of your visit negotiating and haggling over financing. Wouldn’t it be great if you could go in and already have that part of the process settled? When you go with Nationwide, that dream is a reality. You can get pre-approved for your loan before you walk into a dealership, even before you’ve decided on a car, so that you’re in the driver’s seat from the beginning.

Why get pre-approved?

It’s fun finding a car, but let’s be honest, we sometimes gravitate towards cars that might be a little out of our reach financially, and when you’re deep into the car-buying process, it’s easy to rationalize overspending. Securing your financing before you’ve decided on a car is a great way to stick to your budget while researching what car is going to be best for you. If you know you’ve been approved for $25,000, it makes it easier to stick to that number. That way, you avoid being enticed by a car that’s beyond your budget while you're on the lot.

You wouldn’t go to a restaurant without money, so why go into a car dealership without financing? Having your financing in-hand before you’ve started talking price is invaluable in giving you a leg up during negotiations. Dealers and sellers are looking to get as much as possible from you, and you’re looking for the best deal. You’ll often be offered incentives like an MSRP discount or a lower monthly payment that both sound good. While these perks might be enticing, when you do the math they may not be as great as you thought, especially if the dealer offers a higher-than-average interest rate on your financing. By getting your pre-approval from Nationwide, you can go into negotiations knowing that you’re going to get a great deal based on your credit-worthiness, not on how you haggle with the seller.

Find a car

Once you’ve set your budget and received your financing, it’s time to shop. Use online and traditional resources to research cars that suit your budget and lifestyle. You can also refer to our library of useful articles on finding a car to inform your car search.

Buy a car

When you’re buying from a dealer, negotiating will have a significant impact on the price you pay. Being prepared with research and negotiation tactics will be essential to negotiating effectively. You’ll also have to consider whether you want to include a car warranty, and you’ll need to decide if you should trade your current vehicle in or sell it privately. Refer to our article series on buying a car when considering these and other steps concerning the purchasing portion of the car buying process.

Get pre-approved today

Read more about pre-approved auto loans, and get your loan pre-approval today.

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