Buying your first car can be a taxing affair as there's a lot to manage. Even though a handed down car might still be of sentimental value, at some point one needs to look beyond and move on. A first-time buyer experience could be less excruciating if done with a little planning which can ensure you end up with a good deal and maybe even your dream car. Here are some important tips keep in mind before you buy your first car:
1. Budget and financing
The first and foremost step in buying a car is to zero-in on a budget, as it will help you in narrowing down available options and ensure you get a good and value for your money. It is ideal to pay in cash for your new set of four-wheels, however, it is not feasible in most instances and often requires the need of external financing.
To create a realistic budget, start adding your monthly income and expenses like rent, groceries, utility bills and health insurance. Once those are calculated, you can further see where a few cutbacks can be accommodated, and the remainder could be spent on the car payment.
2. Identify your transportation needs
Opt for a car or SUV depending on your daily needs and how far you need to travel for work or otherwise and how often. Once you have identified your needs for transport, you can then select a few models which fall within your budget.
Once you have figured the budget, do some online-offline research to see which car in your budget fits your requirements. The internet offers a plethora of options from dealers beyond your area. Online research can help you narrow down on the vehicle choices by looking at auto rankings, safety features etc. Like all online deals which tempt you to spend more, one can avoid such gaffes by prioritising your personal preferences and needs.
4. Financing and Purchasing Options
Unless you have saved enough to buy a new car with cash, you will need to rely on the leverage of financing. It’s a major decision to ponder on how you’ll finance the purchase. Many banks and third-party credit agencies offer a variety of loans for auto purchase. Start from your bank or a known credit lending agency to get quotes and then finalise your decision.
5. Improve Your Credit Score
In case of opting for a loan from a bank, your credit score helps to determine the interest you pay on the car loan. Good credit scores often result in a favourable interest rate, which will affect your car purchase budget. Most banks and credit card providers may be able to get to know your credit score. It is in your best interest to avoid a purchase if your credit score is not in the green, instead work on to improve the same.
6. Opting for a used car
Buying a used car is a better option for first time car buyers who are on a budget. Many dealers offer good prices on a five-year-old to three-year-old models which have most of the safety and technical features you may need.
7. Take a test drive
After you have identified a few options that fit your needs and budget, do not hesitate to take a test drive to see how it feels and performs. Call and book test drive appointments with the dealers to plan and schedule multiple test drives as it helps you to compare them.
8. Negotiate the Price
A bargain deal is never going to hurt you. It is a global norm to haggle with dealers or used car sellers over the price. Negotiate the price after carefully reading the contract and make sure you understand the terms and conditions regarding finances and warranty agreements.
9. Get the Car Inspected
In case you have opted to buy a used car from a friend or relative or even from a dealership, it is always advisable to get it inspected from a trusted source. A thorough inspection called the pre-purchase inspection is a service most auto mechanic shops offer. You may have to shell out a bit, but that amount will be well spent.
10. Enjoy the process and your new ride
After dealing with all the above ordeals, take your own time to finally decide on the car you need, as you’ll be delighted with the outcome for a long time. The above steps can help you ease the stress and with some careful research, planning and budgeting you’ll be clear to negotiate the best deal.