If you are getting ready to purchase a different vehicle like we are in the next few months you might appreciate a few of these tips to help with the process. The key is to plan ahead if possible to make the experience not only fun but successful as well. I hope you find these 8 “Need to Know” Tips for Buying a Car helpful!
8 “Need to Know” Tips for Buying a Car
1. Know what you have to spend
Hopefully you have saved from the very moment you bought your last car but if not be sure that you know what your budget can handle as far as a monthly payment or a cash payment in full. Don’t forget to include the cost to insure that vehicle as well. Buying a car will be less stressful if you go prepared.
2. Read, read, read
Use whatever search engine you prefer but do most of your research before you ever leave the house. For instance, we need a vehicle that will accommodate the two of us and our three grandchildren so we know we want a van or SUV. The amount of money we have to spend means we will start with high mileage so we need to find a vehicle that has the best chance of lasting well into the 200,000 miles range. That is quite a tall order but with research we were able to find a couple that consistently seem to hit the 300,000 mile mark. Obviously, we will keep our eyes peeled for those.
Also, sometimes if you do your research it helps you become away of problems that certain makes and models seem to have repeatedly. One might experience problems very often around 115,000 miles and need an expensive repair. It helps to make an informed decision about rather you find that an acceptable risk.
3. Get pre-approved
Don’t skip this step. Talk to the bank or your credit union and shop around for the best rate before you begin shopping. This will save you time as well as money when buying a car.
4. Start shopping before you find yourself in a bind
Don’t wait until your old car dies to start looking for a new car. You want time to look and the option to wait for the vehicle that is just right for you. Being pressured into buying a car in one day or even one week is stressful and may lead to poor decisions.
Rather than running yourself ragged going from dealership to dealership, you might want to start shopping online first before heading out. Cars.com is a great site to use for this and sometimes it is easier to compare all of the information in written form and see it in front of you rather than in person. This also helps to cut down on driving around. Having some choices picked out to look at before you go can save you tons of time.
5. Discuss trade-in vs selling as an owner
Some people don’t want to mess with selling their vehicle themselves. That is fine but be aware of the difference in the amount you can expect to get from your old car in both circumstances. If it is a lot less at the dealer then you might want to sell your old car yourself. Just make sure you follow all of your state and local regulations if you do. As I mentioned, sometimes it just might not be worth the hassle to do it yourself. Many states require you to get an inspection before the sale and sometimes your costs can be high to make the old car pass the inspection. Trading the car in to the dealer is often a time and money saver but it varies for each situation.
6. Check it out or have it checked
Let’s be honest here, not everyone knows about the mechanical workings of a car. I know we don’t. First you will want to drive the vehicle you are interested in purchasing. Next, unless you are very competent yourself be sure to have a trusted mechanic check it out. There will probably be a fee but it is money well spent. You do not want to buy a car only to find out a month later that you have to put tons of money into it.
7. Resist the push for a new car
Unless this is of paramount importance to you, never buy a new car unless you intend to keep it more than ten years. Perhaps you have been taught that you don’t want to buy another person’s problems and this can be a valid concern. Having the car checked out as suggested in number five above should help in making your decision. Keep in mind that it is estimated that the minute you drive your new car off of the lot you are losing about 10% of the value right away and close to 20% the first year. After that you lose another 15% during the second and third year. Wow, are you even paying it off at the rate you are losing value?
8. Start your next car fund right away
That car you just bought if you buy used may only last a certain number of years. Estimate the number of years and the cost of your next purchase and divide by the number of month to reach the amount you should start putting away for your next car. This makes life much easier when you go shopping again because you will have the money in hand and often cash gets you a much better deal. Not only that there would be no interest to pay on a loan.
Buying a new or used car does not have to be stressful if you just prepare a little bit in advance. This eliminates many problems and you have a better idea what you are looking for when you do start shopping.
What is your biggest tip for car shopping?
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