5 Tips for First-time Car Buyers
5 Tips for First-time Car Buyers
If you’ve recently graduated, embarking on your first real job, and need a new set of wheels you’re not alone. You are what we fondly like to call a typical first-time car buyer, moving away dependency and moving towards self-sufficiency. The car-buying process can be filled with moments of uncertainty and doubt, especially with so many options. However, even though being a first-time car buyer isn’t easy, it can be done efficiently if you properly plan for it!
We’re here to help you on this new journey and you want to listen to us because we are the experts after all. We’ve compiled a list of the top five tips to help your purchasing decision as well as how to determine which car is right for you.
1. Establishing a Realistic Budget
This is typically based on what you can afford to spend within a month. Ideally, you’d want to pay cash, but in most cases people in your situation move towards the leverage of financing the car. You want to really look at your cost of living in the more significant areas such as monthly rent (or finances towards living accommodations), food, health insurance, and your social activities. Once this is calculated and accounted for, it is easier to understand how much you can afford to spend on a monthly car payment, gas, car insurance, and mechanical maintenance when necessary.
2. Establish What You Need
You need to buy what you need, nothing more and nothing less. We know getting ‘the car of the moment’ can be tempting but is that car really going to mesh well with you on a day-to-day basis? On the other hand, you may think a pickup truck or minivan would be more practical than a nicer car, because it can’t accommodate all of your things if necessary. But why purchase something as heavy duty as a pickup truck when there are moving trucks that can help you out? Go for a car that makes sense to you in terms of day-to-day routine, gas mileage, insurance, and monthly parking costs.
3. Do Your Due Diligence
Doing research on what kind of car you’d like to buy has never been easier. The internet is your best friend in this scenario as it not only gives you insight on what kind of car fits within your budget, looks good, runs well, but also where you can find and purchase it. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to dealerships to get pricing and a general understanding of the car you’re interested in.
4. Locate a convenient dealer
When you’re weighing out the options of whether you should go for a practical Subaru or a practical Honda Civic, you want to be able to compare dealership locations and showroom environments. You should avoid dealerships that have sales staff lounging or standing around near the entrance, this is typically a sign in itself. Consult with friends and family who have been to the nearby dealerships and ask them about their experience before purchasing a car from them.
5. Take a test drive
You have all the available theoretical sources at your fingertips, but quite possibly the most important one is the practical one. A car can look good but do you feel comfortable behind the wheel? You must take multiple things into consideration such as seat height, wheel adjustment, handling, steering, control layout and much more. It’s important to spend a decent amount of time driving the car to determine this.
The most important thing is to enjoy the process! We know it may sound serious and it generally is, but your first car is a milestone in your life and should be celebrated. Take all the things we’ve mentioned into consideration, as well as the time to figure out what kind of car will be the one that fits the mold for you.