Buying a car is one of the biggest personal financial decisions you’ll ever make. So it’s important to get it right. The last thing you want is to drive around in a vehicle you don’t like and pay for something that isn’t making you happy.
That’s not to mention the stress, complexities and dealing that come with buying a car. That’s another ballpark completely and one that you’ll have to sort out.
So, how do you avoid all the trouble with buying a car while ensuring you get what you want at the very end?
Our guide can help you narrow down your search and save you all the trouble.
Your Guide to Buying Your Car
Determine Your Budget
You can’t go car shopping without having an idea of how much you can spend. You’ll walk into any dealership or private sale and get feasted on by preying sellers.
Eliminate that worry by determining how much you can afford to spend on your vehicle. Crunch the numbers by assessing your pay, savings and debt. You should also consider if you need financing or not.
Then, add on the additional expenses of buying/owning a car: vehicle registration and title, insurance, and maintenance and repairs. It would help if you got a ballpark figure for each.
Add it all together, and you’ll get the number in which you should spend on your car – and then cut it back! It’s always in your best interest to find something that’s below your budget, so you can have some money left over in case you need it.
List Your Priorities
What do you want a car for, now and in the future? That’s the next step to consider in the process. Consider these factors:
- How it impacts your lifestyle (Example: are you a sports nut that needs room or planning to build a family soon?)
- The features you want in the car, such as safety, fuel efficiency or cruise control
- Whether you want a new, relatively new or used car
- Where you live (Example: do you have space for a Jeep or not?)
- The make, model and style of the vehicle. You have preferences, so list them down when the opportunity arises
With this firm foundation, you can now begin the search for your vehicle!
Research & Search
It would help if you made a shortlist of two or three cars that fit the description of your needs. From there, please do your due diligence when it comes to your favourite vehicles so you know what to expect from them in terms of cost, value and longevity.
There are few ways in which you can find valuable information:
- Read consumer reports
- Speak to your local mechanic and dealership
- Review vehicle safety reports and crash test ratings
- Ask forums about their experiences
- Use online resources
Once you’ve accumulated your information, the search begins. And because you know what you’re looking for, you can easily find it.
You can narrow down your search on car websites, look out for specific dealerships that offer your vehicle. In many cases, you can use a car buying service to find the best deals for the cars you want.
When you get your list narrowed down, it’s time to move on to the hard part…
Negotiate Like a Pro
Let’s start this on the right foot: you’re in no rush to buy, so you don’t go crazy and think you have to buy the first car you see. Take your time with your search, and if you miss out on a vehicle, don’t worry; there’s plenty of them out there.
Next, don’t fall victim to high-pressure sales tactics or an impulse purchase. Remember, you are in no rush, so there is no need to pay up for something you don’t want. Think long and hard about your vehicle purchase. Note down all pricing and costs they mention, so you have rock-solid information that can be used to your advantage.
When speaking to a dealership or private seller, be clear about what you can afford financially and the limit you’re willing to go to. Always go lower, so you have leverage in negotiations. Try to find a lower price for the same vehicle elsewhere, then bring that up during the negotiation process. That way, you can bring down the cost.
Ask about deals, specials and trade-ins, and wait until the end of the agreement to drop these demands. They’re the aces up your sleeves, as once you negotiate the deal down, you can ask for these extra incentives.
The Bottom Line
There are multiple ways to buy a car, but the best way is to do heavy research, take your time and assess your options. Never rush into purchasing a vehicle, whether you have the money or not. You can save thousands of dollars by focusing on what you want and finding it for a price that’s worth it.