4 Tips for First Time Car Buyers

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4 Tips for First Time Car Buyers

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Whether you’re a college junior or a forty-year-old mother of three, the car-buying process can be difficult for any first-time car buyer. There’s uncertainty because you don’t want to make the wrong decision. It’s also time-consuming to do your research on what to buy, where to buy, and how to buy. Being a good first-time car buyer isn’t easy, but it’s worth doing well.

We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and things to be aware of when you are buying for the first time:

  1. What can you afford? If you don’t have one already, now is the perfect time to create a monthly budget. Make a list of all of your monthly bills and what you typically pay for each. Factor in utilities, credit card payments, rent, groceries, gas, and entertainment (going to the movies, to the bar, etc.). The money you have available for a down payment and the potential you have for making monthly installments on a loan should determine the type of car you buy.
    Check with your insurance company to see if the vehicle you are interested in will cost you more money to have it covered. The cost of collision and liability insurance can vary greatly based on the kind of car you get.
  1. Do your homework. Buying a new car is an important decision, and it isn’t one that you should make too quickly. Slow down. Focus on practical cars that will minimize ownership costs and suit your needs for the next few years. Think about the type of vehicle you will need. If you have three small children and this will be your family vehicle, chances are a two-door isn’t your best option. If your daily commute is fifty miles or more, you want a car that has excellent gas mileage. Ask yourself: what are my transportation needs? What can I afford in gas?
    Once you have a few makes and models in mind, read professional and owner reviews of the vehicles you are considering. Look around at local dealerships to see if they have those vehicles available, how the vehicles are priced, and if used, how many miles they have.
  1. Test-drive and inspect. Spending time behind the wheel should be crucial in your decision process. Different variables come into play–seat height, steering feel, control layout, outward visibility, headlights brightness, etc.–and you must spend a good amount of time in the car in order to see how you feel in it. Take at least half an hour for a test-drive while trying stop-and-go, freeway merging, and freeway speeds. If the salesman doesn’t have the thirty minutes, find a time when they do or find another dealership.
  2. Negotiate. When negotiating a car purchase, it is essential to have someone along who is experienced. A professional car salesperson has been trained in how to get the maximum profit, and most car shoppers are outmatched during that phase of car buying.

Establish the purchase price before moving on to discussing financing, if applicable. There’s often no need to get any extras like rust-proofing, fabric protector, or an extended warranty. They aren’t necessary. If the seller won’t meet what you would consider a fair price, walk away. There are plenty of other cars out there.

Do you have any other tips for first time buyers? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook. Need an auto body professional? Call Great Plains Auto Body at 402.334.7100.

photo credit: Hummer dealership custom roof via photopin (license)

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