When it comes to major events in a person’s life, buying a first car certainly ranks near the top of the list.
Cars obviously have their practical points, but they still also represent independence and freedom. They also come with a large amount of responsibility. And choosing one is a very personal decision – everyone has their own idea of what kind of car they need.
Cars also are just fun. So, yes, choosing one – especially the first one – is a very big deal.
The following list offers some tips for first-time car buyers to consider, including the many options now available online that make car shopping and buying that much easier.
Establish a Budget
Before you look at buying that first car, have a concrete number on the absolute most you are willing to spend overall and what you can afford in monthly payments. It’s important to do things in this order to avoid falling in love with a car $5,000 out of your price range. With online finance approval available from sites such as Apply & Buy, you can have financing in place before you start to seriously shop.
New vs. Used
There are pluses and minuses to both. A new car offers gives you the chance to be the first driver of a car and provides you with transportation that is in perfect condition. However, it costs more and insurance rates tend to be higher. With the dependability of cars so high today, many people make the used car choice.
What Do You Need?
Before getting too deep into colors, engine sizes or that coupe with the cool spoiler, define the practical uses for your car. If you commute far, comfort and gas mileage might drive your decision. If you live and work in the heart of a big city, you will probably don’t need a large pickup truck. Be honest with yourself about how you will use your purchase.
What Do You Want?
The fun part. List the various options you’d want in a car, from the style and color to the accessories and seat types. However, it’s important to list these in order of priority, as it’s unlikely you can find one automobile that satisfies all your needs.
This is another area, in addition to financing, where the Internet has made great improvements for car shoppers. Car sites now have literally thousands of cars to look for, at all price ranges and in every possible model. Everyone is just a few clicks away from finding out how a car looks both inside and out, its exact specification, engine model, gas mileage, crash test results and so much more. Having all this information at your fingertips will make it much more likely you can find a car that comes the closest to satisfying your wants and needs.
Make sure to spend time behind the wheel of the car you are interested in. This is especially important if you can’t decide between two cars – drive them both. This will mean finding a dealership where you are comfortable. Take the time to check a few out and work with sales staff that you like.
Negotiate a Price
Some dealerships and online sites offer a lower, non-negotiable price because many people do not enjoy haggling with car salespeople. Either way, make sure you keep to your original budget plan.
Keep to these strategies and car buying can actually be an enjoyable experience. And remember the end goal – your very own car! If you choose wisely, it will be reliable, fun and a source of pride.