5 financial steps to take before you buy a car

3. Research the value of your car

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    Cary Caldwell, an auto appraiser for CarMax, inspects a vehicle brought in for trade in Irving, Texas, in this 1998 photo. CarMax relies on getting cars from individual owners more than the traditional large auction houses. Before trading in your car, find out its value.
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Before walking into a dealership, the best negotiating tactic is to know the value of the car you want. Do your homework and research the true price of the car, which will help set a realistic target price. That allows you to assess if you can afford the car, and puts you in a better position to negotiate. TrueCar is a helpful tool that provides the expected price of the car, based on aggregated data of how much that specific car sells for in your zip code. This price gives you and the dealer a fair starting point for negotiation.

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