If you’re ready to take the plunge and join many adults in the car shopping world, you’ll be glad to take advantage of this guy for first time car buyers.
The first time you do anything can be daunting and scary. Like many things in life, the more you do something the easier it becomes, but that doesn’t help you much when you’re ready to sign papers to spend thousands of dollars on a car. Of course, because many people have done this for their first time, you could use a little guidance when looking for your first vehicle.
1. Understand Your Budget and Stick to it
You will likely have to finance your vehicle, which means you have to pay for the car and the financing which includes interest. If you’ve saved enough money to pay cash, your budget will be easy to understand. The most you can pay is what you’ve saved, minus insurance, registration, and title fees. When you’re going to finance the vehicle you drive, you’ll want to know how much you need to pay as a down payment to drive your car home.
2. What Can You Afford in Your Monthly Budget?
While your monthly payment is related to your overall budget for a car, it breaks things down to how much you’re paying every month. This is one of the most important things for first time car buyers to understand before heading to the dealership. Don’t forget to get an estimate for car insurance and maintenance costs. These two items are part of your monthly budget and should be considered in how much you pay for the car you drive.
3. What are Your Transportation Needs?
Will the car you drive work well every day? If you’re buying a car for its sportiness or flashy looks, you’ll want to focus on that, but if you need a vehicle to get you where you’ll want to go every day, consider this factor. If you need a family vehicle you’ll want a minivan or an SUV, but if you need to carry lots of stuff with you, a pickup truck could be the right vehicle for you to drive every day.
4. What do You Want in Your Car?
Why would you pay thousands of dollars and buy a vehicle you don’t really want? Some people do this and they regret it every day. One of the best tips for first time car buyers is to think about what you want in the vehicle you drive and picking a vehicle with some of these qualities. Make a list of the things you want in your car and you’ll have a vehicle that puts a smile on your face and gives you the things you’re looking for.
5. Research is Important and it’s Never Been Easier
Once you know what you want in a vehicle, make a list of some of the cars that meet your criteria so far. These models fit your budget, meet your transportation needs, and give you some of the things you want in your vehicle. Start researching some of the vehicles you’re considering seeing what experts say about them. If the experts like them, they should be on top of the list as a model you’ll readily test drive at the dealership.
6. Choose a Model Offered at a Nearby Dealership
Many dealerships have service centers where you can go with your car and have it cared for when you need to. A local dealer and service center can become your best partner in your car ownership process that you can have. As one of the first time car buyers, its important that you have a place where you can go and have your vehicle cared for by experts that know it better than anyone else.
7. Take a Test Drive and Review the Car
Get behind the wheel of the vehicle you want to drive and understand how this car drives and what it offers. Understand where the best seating position is for you, drive around and feel the steering and suspension, and check out how it accelerates when you drive. Try out all of the features of the car and make sure they work. If you’re buying a new vehicle, you’ll have the warranty protection you need to make sure your car drives right. When buying used, you need to take a little more time to check everything out.
8. Figure Out the Right Purchase Price
Use some of the experts from your research step to determine a fair purchase price for the car you want to drive. If the vehicle is priced close to the fair price, it’s a good one to see and think about buying. When haggling for the best price, don’t tell the salesperson how much you can afford to pay per month, negotiate a good price for the entire vehicle. Once you’ve come to this price, the per month price will work itself out based on your financing.
9. Secure the Right Financing for Your Vehicle
There are many ways to find the financing you want but if you don’t have a lengthy credit history you’ll be limited by this fact. As one of the first time car buyers, you can learn about all of the financing options available to you, but you might have to secure financing through the dealership. Of course, you should also talk to your bank or credit union and see if you can secure a more favorable loan than what you’ll find at the dealership.
10. Try and Find Something Enjoyable About the Process
When you take your time, keep yourself in the driver’s seat, and figure out the right vehicle to drive, you can enjoy this process. In today’s market, you don’t have to worry about price negotiation or being duped as much as previous generations. In fact, some dealerships do a great job of helping first time car buyers through this process to help them come back and become second time car buyers at the same dealership.
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