Your parents always said you need to wait until the end of the year to get the best deal on a new car.

Your neighbor, who used to work at a local dealership, says the salespeople are desperate on the last day of the month. Wait until then to buy a new car.

A guy you work with got a great deal on his car in December because sales were slow. He says you’ll get the best deal if you buy a new car in December.

The best time to buy is really…

When you are ready.

Your finances, the state of your current automobile, and big life changes don’t follow the well-intentioned advice of your friends and loved ones.

The smartest thing you can do when contemplating a new car purchase is consider your personal circumstances, first. Let your individual situation weigh heavily in your final decision.

This type of thinking will give you the car-buying experience you want and ultimately put you in the vehicle that’s right for you.

But what about the end-of-the-year Blowout Sale?

For consumers, timing isn’t everything when it comes to purchasing a new car. While the idea that waiting until December to buy a new car may be popular, the luxury car market set records during January, 2017. Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Jaguar, Audi, and Porsche all had strong sales months.

Consumers aren’t sticking to the old-school rules of new car buying, nor has their appetite for new-car luxury dampened.

In 2016, unheard of number of Canadian car buyers were ready for a new ride. With 1.95 million vehicles sold, dealerships are still celebrating their successes far and wide. Those record-setting sales numbers are holding steady in early 2017.

Car prices don’t fluctuate throughout the year

Many people interpret ever-changing financing and marketing offers to mean that the prices on a dealership’s inventory may be lower at certain times.

Truthfully, while you may be able to get 0% financing for 84 months during certain events and promotions, at other times you may get a regular interest rate combined with a cash-back offer from the manufacturer that cancels out the interest you’ll pay over time. Either way, the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket for the car is the same.

Again, what really matters is choosing the financing option that is right for your specific situation.

Do you have cash parked in a bank account, getting a paltry 1% annual rate of return? Then paying cash while enjoying the offered manufacturer rebate may be the right choice.

When buying a car for cash, be sure to take a close look at how the price breaks down at the dealership. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they came to your trade-in value number. Tell your salesperson that you want to see a complete explanation of the “all in” price of the vehicles you are considering.

Do you have great credit and are in the process of building your cash reserves? A 0% financing offer may be perfect for your financial situation.

In this case, you’ll also want a complete break down of how the dealership calculates the vehicle price, including the monthly payment you can expect and when payments will begin.

Be aware that one dealer may offer you more money for your trade-in vehicle than the next, but that doesn’t mean you’ll come out ahead. It’s very important to look closely at how the numbers break down line-by-line and pay close attention to the out-the-door price of the vehicle.

Last year’s model costs less…for a reason

Dealership lots are crowded with vehicles near the end of the year as they try to make room for both the current year’s inventory and the new models coming in.

This transition time may mean the customer has a wide selection of cars from which to choose. It’s also the time of year when salespeople are trying to get customers to compromise on their preferences so they can push cars off the lot, as opposed to simply waiting for the exact model and trim level the customer requests.

To get the specific year, model, trim level, and color you want at the end of the year, you may need to make your wishes very clear and even put down a deposit. Buying a new car is one of the biggest purchases many people make, so don’t be timid when communicating your desire for the specific car you want.

Remember, last year’s model has a lower resale value than the newer version of the same vehicle. If you pay less for last year’s model, you’ll also get less for it when you decide to trade up or sell it.

When it’s time to wait on your new car purchase

There are certain conditions that call for patience when buying a new car. If a vehicle you are interested in is undergoing a redesign and next year’s model will look different and have upgraded features, waiting a few months for the newest version is a great idea.

If you are in the midst of a financially stressful time and the car you currently drive is sound and dependable, it may be smart to wait out the storm. You can celebrate making it through by treating yourself to a new car.

In the vehicle finance world, being “upside down” on a car means that you own significantly more on a vehicle than you would get from a dealership if you traded it in, or if you sold it through a private party transaction.

If you owe your lender more than the car is worth, it is possible to trade in or sell the car and roll the remaining debt into a new car loan in some cases. Whether that’s an option depends on many factors, including your personal credit health, income level, and how much money you still owe after you trade in or sell the car.

In cases where you may be upside down on a car it is almost always better to wait until you can reduce or eliminate that debt. The finance department at your dealership can give you advice about your specific situation.

When considering a new car purchase, keep this in mind

Car dealerships are motivated to make the sale and please the customer every day that their doors are open for business.

Waiting for the right time of year, the last day of the month, or a bigger marketing campaign only keeps you in a car that you know you are done with. Your current vehicle loses value as new car prices climb when you wait.

In fact, waiting until the busiest time of year or most active time of the month may mean that you’ll spend more time in the dealership than you’d like to, just to get the same deal you would have during a quieter time.

Your plan to purchase a new car should prioritize your situation, your finances, and meeting your needs. If you’ve made the decision to purchase a new car and can afford to pay cash for it or finance it and easily make the payments, there’s really no good reason to wait.

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