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Tips for Reading Your Vehicle Purchase Agreement

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You’ve found that perfect truck or SUV that checks all the right boxes. And now it comes time to check a few more boxes and sign a few lines so you can seal the deal. Being presented with your vehicle purchase agreement can be a bit intimidating, but you can come to the table knowing a bit more about how to read it and what to look for.

A Digitized Dealership Experience: docuPAD simplifies and streamlines the signing process

What to look for in a vehicle purchase agreement

Your vehicle purchase agreement, also known as a car sale agreement, essentially locks you into your financing agreement, so it’s one of the most important documents you’ll see during your car-buying experience. It can also be pretty dense due to all the dealership lingo, and it can feel especially so if the agreement is presented as a ream of papers. Some dealerships have digitized this step of the experience with technologies like docuPAD, which moves documents onto a large touch-screen interface.

Run the numbers before signing

One of the first things you’ll want to square before you sign your car sale agreement is the price. Make sure that all the numbers match up to what you’d expect, including the sale price and any applicable rebates. Here, you’ll see how much you’re paying in taxes, fees, and other costs, so keep a keen eye out for any unexpected add-ons. If you see something that you didn’t know about or agree to, like nitrogen inflation or protective coating, mention it to the dealer representative. If you don’t like the explanation you’re given, you can try to negotiate it out of the deal and threaten to walk away from the table.

Double-check key information

Other key information you’ll find in the vehicle purchase agreement is your trade-in value, down payment, monthly payment, total amount financed, loan length, and interest rate. Double-check all of these numbers before proceeding to make sure that they match up with what you agreed to.

Your purchase agreement will also contain key information on the vehicle, including the VIN, make, model, color, and factory and extended warranty details. While typos are pretty unlikely in this case, it’s never a bad move to peruse this information and make sure it’s accurate. The same goes for your personal information and the dealership’s information.

When it’s safe to sign your car sale agreement

If everything tracks, you and the dealer representative can sign the documents accordingly. Make sure that you sign in all the appropriate places — if you use a technology like docuPAD, the required fields should all be highlighted for greater ease.

Signing a vehicle purchase agreement can be stressful because you’re on the precipice of engaging in a life-changing decision. But if you know how to read your contract and advocate for yourself when something appears to be amiss, you can proceed with confidence and drive away happy.