Buying your first car can be pretty exciting. For many people, it’s a major life decision that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Buying your first car is a major purchase, but with these four tips, you'll have nothing to worry about.
1. Start With a Realistic Budget and Shop Around
First, know your limits. If you’re buying a new or used car from a dealership, determine exactly how much you can afford to pay before you even step foot on the car lot.
Car salespeople are notorious for trying to pressure customers into buying a more expensive car that they can't afford. Sure, the stereotype might be a bit over-hyped, but the point is that you don’t want to get sucked into making an emotional decision that your wallet will later regret.
If you’re buying from an individual, you still need to know your budget up front. You won’t likely be making payments, so make sure you have enough money in the bank to not only buy the vehicle and pay for registration and insurance but to also do some repairs if needed.
Always shop around online and have an idea of what you want before visiting a dealership. If you’re here in the Jacksonville area, then do an online search and include your city along with terms like used cars for sale, new minivans for sale, etc.
Don’t overlook the costs of registration, insurance and title transfer. Consult with your insurance agent or visit the website of a local insurance agency for more info to help you determine all the extra costs associated with buying your car.
2. Get a Car That Meets Your Needs
There will be a lot of shiny things vying for your attention when you go car shopping. It's important to remember that shopping for a new car can be fun, but you don’t want to ruin the experience by buying a car that won’t meet your needs.
If you have kids or are planning on starting a family soon, then you should get a larger vehicle that can accommodate the extra passengers. If you’re single and do a lot of city driving, then an economy car that gets good mileage and is easy to squeeze into tight parking spaces will be your best bet.
3. Research to Find the Best Value
If buying a used car, look up the Kelley Blue Book value as a starting point. Also, run the car through Carfax or a similar service to see if it has been in any accidents. And be sure to ask the seller about the maintenance history and any needed repairs. The more info you have before signing on the dotted line, the more likely you are to get a good deal and avoid a clunker.
4. Get the Vehicle Checked by a Trusted Mechanic
Never buy a used car without a checkup from a trusted mechanic. If you’re buying from a dealer, then inquire about a bumper-to-bumper warranty. The extra cost will likely be a lifesaver down the road.
You should get it checked by your mechanic and get an itemized list of all the repairs it needs, along with the order in which the repairs should be completed. Don’t be afraid to pass on the deal if there’s a lot of work to be done.
Follow these four tips for first-time car buyers to get the best deal possible without breaking the bank. Feel free to contact us at the Della Porta Group with any questions.