Buying a car means a significant investment of your time and your financial resources. Your time investment involves doing the necessary research to ensure you get the best possible car in your budget range. Your financial resource investment involves handing over your hard-earned dollars for what you hope is a quality vehicle.
Know Your Options
The first thing you need to know is the many options you have for buying a car. You may engage in a transaction with a family member, relative, or friend who desires to sell their vehicle. You may go straight to a major dealership, associated with Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, or another automaker to obtain a new or used vehicle.
Furthermore, you may look into buying a car from a dealer or you may call on a private seller – someone you don’t know who’s placed an advertisement in a classified such as Craigslist. On top of all that, you may consider the rent to buy option and/or similar programs that car rental companies offer.
Therefore, knowledge is power when it comes to purchasing your next vehicle. Having an array of options, and understanding those options thoroughly, gives you the best chance of making the right purchasing decision.
If you need to take the car for a test drive, make sure you are properly insured. You can get one day insurance from Insure 4 a Day and similar companies.
Know Your Budget
The second thing you need to know is your exact budget. Assuming you follow the advice above, you know where you can go to buy your vehicle. Now you need to determine precisely how much you can afford to spend. It’s very easy to go off budget when you don’t have a pre-determined one. Furthermore, the allure of vehicle extras you may not really need can cause you to overspend THOUSANDS of dollars.
Know What You’re Getting Into
The next thing you need to know is the total cost of car ownership. This involves calculating all costs you will incur in addition to the actual purchase price. When you have a good idea of the car you want, consider insurance costs, fuel costs, and costs involved with maintaining the car for years to come.
Consider what general maintenance costs will be in a year (an approximation) – do some research on Consumer Reports or Edmunds to get a good idea. Consider the ease of and cost of obtaining parts, especially if you’re buying a unique foreign or specialty vehicle. Consider interest rates on car loans as well, and shop for the best deals online and in-person at dealerships and financial institutions.
Moreover, consider storage costs. Is the car you’re buying going to be a summer vehicle, to be stored elsewhere in the off-season. If you don’t have a garage, will the major vehicle purchase you’re making compel you to invest in a garage for security, safety and weather reasons?
Know the Discounts
An additional thing to know is the rebates and discounts (buying incentives) available. Research what reputable dealers are offering and take advantage of the best available. Many auto rebates the last few years are in the $3,000-$4,000 range for new cars. A number of dealers offer very low financing as well (assuming you have great credit).
Buying a car is a major decision that has an effect on other areas of your overall personal budget. Make sure you invest the time in researching the best vehicle possible. Obtain the best ROI when it comes to your purchase through considering the above tips. Remember, your next car is only as good as the due diligence you put into obtaining it.
What other tips do you have when looking for a new car?