I understand you are ready to ditch public means of transport!! I have to say congratulations. This is a step in the right direction. Buying a first car can be quite intimidating. But this is not to say it is hard. I am here to help make the process easy for you.
Here are some very important first-time car buying tips that everyone intending on buying the first ride should have.
What is your budget?
If you have decided on buying your first car then, you already have a budget of what you wish to spend. The amount of money you have will determine the type you will purchase.
I advise having a realistic budget so that you don’t strain so much. In your budget put into consideration things like insurance, vehicle maintenance, and fuel.
There is no need in you buying a vehicle only to leave it at home because you can’t afford fuel. How much are you willing to commit to your it every month? These are questions you need to have answers on before moving further.
Car loan or cash?
Buying your first car is one of the biggest investments that you will be making and therefore you should do it with a lot of caution. There are two major modes of payment that you can choose from. If you have saved up some money, then you will be on the list of very few first-time car buyers who use cash. This is always the best option because you will not have to incur extra costs through interests.
The other option is to secure a car loan from your bank. We also have many financial institutions offering Auto loans. Some auto dealers are also known to give vehicles on loan.
Before securing an auto loan, you should first work on your credit score. People with no credit and a bad credit will find it hard to get cheap loans. On the other hand, a high credit score can help you get a low auto loan rate, which in turn saves you money on interest. Shop for a low-rate loan with modest monthly payment. Ensure you get pre-approval before hitting the showroom.
Even with a car loan, you need to have a substantial amount for your down payment.
New or used?
There is always a debate on whether to buy a new or used car. The best first-time for a teenager is a used car but that is because most of them cannot afford a new one.
Most car experts say that vehicles start to lose value as soon as they leave the showroom, the biggest depreciation happens in the first three years in which it will be worth 40% of the original price. Buying a used car that has been well-maintained makes economic sense.
Buying a new one has also got its own benefits such as the manufacturer’s warranty which will cover any liability arising in the first few years after purchase. You should, therefore, decide based on your needs and budget.
What are your needs?
I know you are eager to move but it is important to establish the basic requirements you need your ride to have. If you only need a car that will see you through college, then you should consider one that has a high mileage on it which will be relatively cheap.
You should also consider the size of the car. For example, if you have a large family, then you might need a bigger one that carries at least four passengers.
For a first-time car buyer, you might want one that has a state of the art stereo system which is luxury but comes at an extra cost. If you live in the mountains, you should consider buying a four-wheel-drive as your first car. I am trying to say that you must distinguish between the features that you must have and those you think you want to have. Set your priorities right.
Do your research
The biggest mistake that most first-time car buyers make is purchasing a vehicle just because they saw someone with a similar model and liked it. This doesn’t always work. Now you have set a budget and the features of a vehicle model you wish to buy. It is time for thorough information through comparisons and reviews and comparisons. Chances are that your first choice is not always your ideal first car. Research will give you alternative vehicle models that you may even like more than your first option
It is important to research the pros and cons of the various models and brands before committing to buy. Issues like fuel economy, resale value and safety should be a determinant before making the purchase.
You should also find out the price range of the vehicle in different dealer shops. You should choose one with the best deal.
Pre-purchase inspection is very important especially if you are buying a used car. I know most people skip this point because it adds up the cost of getting their first ride. Skipping a pre-purchase inspection can be a grave mistake. Most people often sell their vehicles because they want to get rid of a problem they have developed, they do not need them or they need the money. It, therefore, makes sense to know what issue it is having before purchasing it.
Buying a car that has many problems at a cheaper price does not make economic sense. You can’t identify the problem by doing a test-drive or just looking at it. You need to hire a certified mechanic for the model you want to buy. You will spend more but it will be worth it. Even if it has no problem, it will still be good to know that you purchased a good vehicle.
Time for a test drive
Are you satisfied with the pre-purchase inspection? The next step is to do a test drive on your would soon be first ride. You should only do a test drive if you are interested in buying the car. A test drive will protect you from getting buyer’s remorse immediately after buying your ride. You should check how the engine reacts, brakes, transmission, and suspension.
Test drive it on a highway, city and even rough road. During test-driving, ask as many questions as possible. Demand explanations on various issues. Remember that you are in charge and therefore should not be intimidated.
Negotiate like a pro
Based on the pre-inspection report, you can negotiate the price of the vehicle. If the car had any problems, you must ensure the seller incurs the repair costs. The fact that you are a first-time buyer should not hinder you from getting the best price out of the deal.
Pay for the car and change ownership
Once you have negotiated the price it is time for payment. You can contact the bank with the final details. You can also just pay the cash and take it. After payment, you should fill the necessary documents and purchase car insurance.
CONGRATULATIONS you are now a car owner. Enjoy your new ride.