A vehicle has become a modern convenience that many people consider buying. Though there are other means of transportation, having your own car makes it easy to get from point A to B on a schedule that works best for you. If you’ve done any browsing thus far, however, you’ve likely come across a lot of different cars, dealerships, and opportunities to take advantage of. Knowing which option is best for you, requires you to be informed. Below are some things you should know when purchasing your first new or used car.
Have a Budget in Mind
How much can you afford to pay each month towards your car? Unless you plan on paying cash for the balance in full, you’ll have monthly car payments which must be paid to drive the vehicle. To set a realistic budget, review your current financial obligations. Gather a total of your expenses and subtract this amount from your income. This will give you the ballpark amount you can afford in car payments each month.
Determine How You’ll Pay
Though the idea would be to purchase a car you can pay in full, most opt for financing to cover the cost of the car. When applying for auto loans, you’ll likely be required to have a down payment. This can vary based on your credit history, the dealership you work with, and the cost of the car you want to purchase, however, it is typically a percentage of the total car price. Since this is usually a large number you may need to come up with a solution to accumulate enough cash.
If you have another car you could sell for cash, you could consider companies like Car Sold for Cash to help you get rid of it. Other options might include having a yard sale, or selling items like your cell phone and old jewelry to buyers for quick cash.
Understand the True Cost of Car Ownership
Although you’ve already determined how much additional funds you have in the budget to contribute to a car, you must consider more than just the purchase price. There are other expenses related to car ownership that need to be calculated to determine how much of a car payment you can afford. These costs include insurance, gas, maintenance, and repairs. Not to mention, you’ll likely be required to pay the sales tax and motor vehicle charges out of pocket.
Review Your Needs
When you purchase a vehicle, you anticipate having it for a while. Therefore, you want to select something that suits your needs. There are a lot of cars out there to choose from. A list of needs can help you to narrow your search. Consider facts like how many passengers, technologies you might want like Bluetooth, safety features, the types of terrains you expect to drive on, and additional features you might be interested in.
Match Vehicles to Your Needs and Budget
Now you have a clear understanding of what you can afford to pay for a car each month. You also know what features you need in your car. This information can be used to conduct an online search of both new and used cars for sale in your area. Filtering in your budget and needs will help to narrow down the search. As you review car types, remember to compare several models to determine which is the overall better purchase.
Go Car Shopping
The last step would be to go car shopping. You can visit nearby dealerships and test drive vehicles that you saw or inquired about online. If you find the vehicle you want, be sure to negotiate the price. The better deal you can get on the ticket price, the more you can put towards the upkeep of the vehicle. Review several financing options and select the lender who provides you with the best loan terms. This includes the monthly payments, interest, and included perks like warranties.
Buying your first car can be overwhelming – if you don’t have a plan. Before you start aimlessly searching the web for affordable cars, make sure that you have your ducks in a row. By reviewing your budget and assessing your needs, you not only narrow down your time in searching for a car, but you make an informed decision about purchasing a car you can afford. Before making a purchase, be sure to test drive the car to ensure its in working order and fits your needs accordingly.