Buying a Car - What to look out for | NatWest


Buying your car

When am I committed to buying the car?

To commit to buying a car from a dealer, you have to sign a formal contract of sale. This is an official document with detailed terms and conditions, and once you sign it you are legally committing yourslef to buying a car (Signing a quote is not legally binding for you or the dealership).

If you sign it on the dealer’s premises, there is no cooling-off period if you change your mind. If you sign it away from the premises, you have 14 days after taking delivery of the car to change your mind and get your money back.

What should I look for in a finance quote?

When you are talking to a lender about finance, they should be able to give you a detailed written quotation with all the information you need to know.

A formal quotation will show you:

  • Exactly how much you are borrowing
  • How long the term is
  • What the monthly payment is
  • What the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is
  • Any balloon payment at the end of the agreement
  • What fees are payable and when
  • How much you will pay in total interest and fees
  • What the total amount payable is
  • How long the quote is valid for (usually 14 days)

Fees and interest

Interest is a cost that is spread across all of your monthly payments, whereas a fee is paid in one lump sum. So although £1,000 in interest will cost you the same as £1,000 in fees, they will affect your cashflow very differently.

The APR is a key number, as it shows the overall cost of borrowing (your total interest and fees payable over the whole agreement). Lenders might try to talk about a ‘flat rate’, which is the interest but excluding the fees. Don’t be fooled, and insist on talking about APR.

Mileage allowance

Some agreements (such as a lease or Personal Contract Purchase) have a limit on how many miles you can drive over the course of the agreement. Make sure this limit is an accurate reflection of what you expect to cover.

How can I negotiate the best deal on a car?

Firstly, get finance pre-approved from a bank before you go to a dealership. That way, you know how much you can borrow and what your payments will be and can negotiate from a position of strength.

Secondly, look at what deals are on offer and what price similar cars are selling for. If you can show a dealer that another car elsewhere is available for a better price, they are more likely to reduce their price to match.

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