Buying a car is a major decision. It has a lasting impact on your finances. It is imperative that you don’t make mistakes while making this important decision. However, it is okay to be confused about it. With so many varieties of cars in the market and newer models showing up every month, it can be hard to decide which one you want. And even if you do know what specs you want in a car, there would be so many cars with similar specs that you’ll be even more confused. But here’s the trick, don’t lose sight of your priorities and keep these tips in mind when shopping for a car.
Why Are You Buying a Car?
The main purpose of your car should frame the whole search. Depending on what you’ll be using your car for, narrow down the search from hundreds to a handful. For example, if you’re a student and want a car for commuting purpose to school. You’ll need a car with good gas mileage which is perhaps a bit flashy to show off to your peers. And if you’re a mother with little kids, safety measures in the car is a must for you. You’ll also want a car big enough to carry your whole family.
List Your Priorities
After you’ve determined the main purpose of your car, you’ll have some idea of what you want. Now, list down all the specs you want in it. Good mileage, adequate safety measures, automatic brakes, Bluetooth connectivity, smart features like Apple Carplay, backup camera, toddler’s seat, etc. Start looking for a car that has all your priority features in it. However, don’t be rigid about it. Be ready to compromise on certain aspects if it exceeds your budget.
Set a Budget
Budget also comes under your priority. It is one of the things that has a huge impact on your search for an ideal car. If your budget is limited, you’ll have to give up on a lot of extra specs and focus only on the most essential ones. Consider buying a used car whether or not you have a large budget. Brand new cars lose 11% of their value once you leave the dealer’s shop. After a month’s drive, they further decrease 35% of their value. In the long term, you’ll own a car worth less than half of what you paid for it. That’s why used cars are ideal for buyers, provided they are in good condition.
Is it Going to be Expensive to Own?
The initial payment is not all there is to owning a car. Depending on how you pay for it, it becomes a long term expense. And you should look for a car that is within your affordable range. For example, if you get into an accident, a good car accident lawyer might be able to get you the repair cost, but if he doesn’t, you’ll have to pay for it from your own pocket. Is your car expensive to repair? What about the gas cost per month? How much are you paying in installments as well as insurance payment? Make sure to answer these questions before finalizing your car.
How Are You Going to Pay for it?
Paying for the car should also factor in your search. If you’re not careful with it, you’ll end up in debt. Of course, unless you pay everything in cash which is nearly impossible, you’ll go for monthly installments. Are the installments coming from your salary? What about the initial down payment? It’s great if you have some money saved up for this purpose but if you don’t, then consider taking a loan. Make certain to consult with your local credit union or bank before heading to the dealer. They can assess your financial situation and give you advice on what you can afford.
Do not start looking for your car in the dealer’s lot. Instead, shop online first. There are multiple trusted websites that provide useful information regarding cars to potential buyers. You can narrow down your search in this way. Read reviews by pros in the field and don’t forget to talk with previous owners. The people who have used the car you have in your mind can guide you about certain things that no one mentions, like the annoying noise it makes or the uncomfortable seats.
Don’t Let the Dealer Pressure you
Once you’ve done everything mentioned earlier and find yourself in the car showroom, it is entirely possible to still be overwhelmed. The dealer, of course, will try to tell you how awesome every car is, especially the most expensive one. But don’t lose sight of your goals. Tell him straightforwardly what you’re looking for. And absolutely, do not tell him how much you can pay every month because dealers can adjust the payment in such a way that falls under your range, even if the final cost vastly exceeds your budget.