Purchasing your first car is an exciting rite of passage, but it can also be overwhelming. Whether you’re buying new or looking at used cars, following these tips can help you get a great deal on an awesome car that fits your needs.
Stick to a Budget
Whether you’re purchasing a car outright or plan to finance, having a plan outlining how much you can afford to spend–and sticking to it–is a smart move. An Edmonton vehicle registration expert says that many who purchase their first car forget to account for all the other costs associated with a new vehicle. When you’re making your budget, don’t forget to factor in the monthly cost of insurance, registration, and regular maintenance.
Think About Your Needs and Wants
Your lifestyle and how you plan to use your vehicle is a key part of the decision about which car you choose to buy. Have a long commute? Look for something that’s great on gas. Live in a snowy climate? Four-wheel drive is a must. Beyond the needs, list some “wants” for your new car. While you may not get everything on this second list, it will help narrow down your options.
Do Your Research
Before heading out to shop, research cars that fit your criteria. Beyond your list of needs and wants, you’ll also want to look at factors like safety ratings, reliability, and value. There are plenty of great online resources that can help with this process, such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and U.S. News and World Report. These can also give you an idea of how much to pay for the car you’re looking for.
Head out to dealerships with a short list of cars you’re interested in checking out. While it may be tempting to drive right off the lot after test driving a vehicle you love, avoid the temptation–and the dealer’s pressure. By taking the time to shop around on prices, you may be able to get a much better deal, and be in a position to negotiate.
Read the Fine Print
Even if the monthly payment the dealer is proposing seems affordable, make sure that you’re also looking at the overall cost of the vehicle after interest. In general, it doesn’t make good financial sense to get a loan that’s longer than 48 months. If your monthly payment is too high with a loan of that length, look for a less expensive car.
By taking the time to do your research and shop around, you will have no trouble finding your perfect first car.
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