There comes a time in life when you’re done bike commuting in bad weather and bumming rides off your friends. It’s the time you decide to get your own car. And that’s a pretty big deal. After all, buying a car is one of the most costly purchases you’ll ever make. But don’t worry. Here are 5 tips to make sure you do it right.
Besides a home, buying a car is most probably the largest investment you make in your life. That usually comes with a lot of uncertainties – especially when it’s your first car ever. While you may spend hours checking out different dealers, models and colors, it’s as important to choose the right way to finance a car as it is to pick one. Planning ahead can make things a lot easier – and so does a little help. That’s why I’m giving you some tips on how to find the best option to buy a car for you.
1.Set a budget
Before you do anything else, determine how much you can afford. That is based on what you are able and willing to spend on a car per month. Keep in mind that it’s not just about monthly installments. Be sure to factor in the costs of maintenance, insurance, gas and repairs. A good rule of thumb is to invest no more than what you can easily repay within a 3-year period.
Once you’ve set a budget, stick with it. Salespeople tend to make that a difficult task. You might be encouraged to go for smaller monthly payments in return for a higher total. For some buyers that might work. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the bottom line.
2.Check your financing options
Shop around for financing before you shop around for cars. If you decide to go for a loan, talk to your bank first. You can always choose to borrow from the dealer later on if it turns out to be more favorable. Either way, it pays off to know your options and make sure you get the best rate.
3.Look for a car
When you’ve set a budget and secured financing, the time has come to actually look for a car – and that has never been easier. Today, there’s a massive amount of information on virtually any car out there. Online tools give you access to a wide range of models and allow you to filter according to your needs. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few cars, take each one for a test drive to see how they perform. If all technicalities are in check, the rest is up to your gut feeling.
4.Consider buying used
Cars decrease in value as soon as they’re driven off the lot. The most significant amount of deprecation happens during the first two to three years of a car’s life cycle. That means that buying a used car can save you a lot of money.
5.Enjoy the ride
Buying your first car can seem like a daunting task. However, with favorable financing rates and a vast variety of great cars to choose from, shopping around has never been more fun. Take your time, screen your options carefully and you’ll be delighted with your decision, I’m sure.