Get Prepared To Buy a Car for the First Time
Congratulations! You're taking the plunge on buying a car for the first time. The great wide world of American highways and biways awaits you--and with it, great responsibility for being a responsible motorized vehicle operator. If you're in the market for you first car, you've probably already done some basic research--like what sales are going on around you, are there any tax incentives to take advantage of, whether or not you're going to buy new or used, and, of course, what color your new ride needs to be.
But in addition to all of these important details, first time car buyers do well to heed a few simple rules for maknig sure they stay in budget, and purchase a vehicle that's right for where they are in life. Below, discover a basic first time car buying guide meant to encourage you on your way to owning a new (or used) car.
First Time Car Buying Guide: What To Remember
1. Your daily routines have a large impact on the type of vehicle you should consider purchasing. For example, if you have young children, look for cars that tout their safety features, have ample storage (like bins and cubbies) for kids' gear and necessities, has enough cargo space for a stroller or other transportation contraptions (think car seats), and is, above all, reliable.
On the other hand, if you're a young professional who lives in a city, you may want to consider a car that gets great city MPG (like hybrids and compact cars), and syncs well with your smart devices so you can easily outsmart traffic.
2. Know how much you can spend, and account for unforeseen expenses like maintenance and parking or toll fees. Here's where it helps to make a list of all your incoming money, and then subtract all of your outgoing expenses like rent, food, insurance, clothes, outstanding debt payments, and entertainment. If you come to the end of your tally and discover that the car you need is out of your budget, consider ways to tighten your expenses (swap out movies for board game nights), or bring in extra income (remember that knitting hobby all your friends made fun of in college? There's nothing like a popular etsy shop to put them in your place--and you into the black) from revenue streams you hadn't yet considered.
3. Consider taking out a loan--especially if you need to build credit. While this isn't the best option for everyone, taking out a car loan (for a new or used car) can be a great way to build up your credit profile, assuming you have correctly saved and budgeted for your vehilce ahead of time. Keep in mind that your car loan--just like a student loan or a credit card--accrues interest, and a portion of your loan repayment will go to the bank that lent you the money. Keeping your interest rate as low as possible ensures that you're paying off as much of the principal balance of your loan as possible.
Repaying your loan consistently will make you a more desirable person to lend to for future expenditures, like a home, or a second car.
4. Ask all the questions you can think of at the dealership, or of the current car owner. Test drive all your options; take your car out on backroads and highways, and note how it performs. Research the pros and cons of the make and model of car you're interested in. Does it have a history of recalls? Does it usually win prestigious awards? What do car authorities like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book think of the car you have in mind?
Kick the tires. Check the locks. Crank up the stereo. And welcome to the wide world of car ownership. You've got lot of great adventures ahead of you, and we hope you've found this first tiem car buying guide to be useful.
Have you recently purchsed a new or used car? What kind of tips and research did you do before driving off the lot? Kindly sound off in the comments with your advice!