Buying a car is a big decision, especially if you’re looking for a model that’ll last you a long time. It’s pricey, complex, and even the smallest mistake can lead to a lot of buyer’s remorse.
However, it’s not impossible to do it right and exit the shop satisfied with the results. Planning is key, and if you take your time and go through the steps, the chances of a beneficial purchase surge.
Let’s take a look at the basics of this difficult process.
The Financing Stage
You might like a specific model so much that you believe you wouldn’t be happy with another. However, if you can’t afford it, there are three alternatives.
One, you settle for less and regret it. Two, take out a massive loan and cause yourself future financial issues. Three, you think about your options realistically and find the best option for your circumstances.
As a rule of thumb, no more than 25% of your monthly household income should go on the vehicles you own. This percentage includes payments, fuel, and maintenance.
Depending on your budget and savings, decide whether you’ll lease, take out a loan, or pay with cash.
Cash payments simplify the process greatly, but they can be a massive strain on your budget, especially when you add in taxes, registration, and insurance.
Most people go for a loan or a lease. In the first option, take a look at different lenders and their rates. Read professional and first-hand reviews to gauge the quality. Consider getting preapproved to facilitate the buying process and give you leverage at the dealership.
Leasing can save you a great deal, but you won’t own the vehicle once the agreement expires. Consider how your life will look in five to ten years to determine which avenue is worth pursuing.
Research Vehicle Features
If you don’t have your eye set on a specific model, consider the features you’d want from a vehicle.
Ask car-savvy friends for advice, read forums, and visit automaker’s sites. Try to create a shortlist of features you need from a car, which will narrow down your selection pool.
Then, estimate the price, reliability, and insurance costs for each option. Take a look at ownership costs, too, including maintenance and fuel.
Having informed yourself about the essentials, you can move to the fun stage of test drives and aesthetic elements.
Ideally, you’ll visit various dealerships and shop for quotes until you find the most cost-efficient offer. For convenience’s sake, you could use a website that puts multiple quotes together.
If you got preapproved for a loan, act as a cash buyer to get a better offer. Moreover, always inquire about hidden fees before you say yes to any deal.
If you already have an old car that you’ll no longer use, trading it in for a newer model can significantly reduce your expenses. Note that dealers won’t be ready to pay the entire worth of your old vehicle, but if you wouldn’t use it anyway, why not help your budget with it?
Sealing the Deal
Once you go to the dealership to sign the papers, there are still several obstacles to avoid to get the best terms.
Notoriously, the finance manager could try to sell you extra products and services. Get informed on these before you enter a shop to avoid getting swayed by an experienced seller.
Furthermore, take your time reviewing the contract. Unavoidable fees in the contract include:
- State sales tax
- Documentation fees
- Registration fees
While these are inevitable, some dealerships could include additional ones, some of which you don’t need. If anything seems fishy, demand that the finance manager explains it to you, and if they can’t, demand it be removed.
Finally, before you take your new ride out on the street, you should consider insurance.
Most states demand it, and it’s beneficial to you as well, as it protects you from personal injury and personal liability costs. It will also cover the expenses incurred by major accidents or getting stranded.
If you’re not well-versed in the field, read up on insurance types, coverages, and principles. It will protect you from paying more than necessary while staying adequately protected. Then, find a reliable car insurance provider and drive safely, knowing your car is protected.
In a Nutshell
Overall, this big step doesn’t need to be that daunting. Taking your time to learn the best ways to research, locate, negotiate, and protect your vehicle makes it run much more smoothly while providing you with the best results.
Don’t be afraid to rely on technology and other people’s expertise and experience. You’ll thank yourself in the future.