Buying a car for the first time can be a rewarding experience. It can also be a stressful time for some. If you’re planning to get one soon, here is what you should know as a first-time car buyer.
Owning a car is a necessity. In America today, more than 90% of the household owns at least one car for the family, according to Value Penguin. And this might be a guess, but the average age for an American to own a car for the first time should be around fifteen or sixteen. That said, whether you are getting a car for school or for your first job out of college, being a first-time car buyer can be full of uncertainties.
That’s why we have come up with this list of things a first-time car buyer should know. It’s all about planning ahead as it makes the process much easier for those who are trying to get a car for the first time. Here are five tips for first-time car buyers straight from the dealerships.
Know What You Want
The very first thing that a first-time car buyer should know is to look for the right car. But, it’s not as easy as picking one while blindfolded or choosing one from a raffle draw. You may need to allocate several hours or even days just for choosing the right one for you. However, when you finally have something on your mind that you want, then things will go smoothly moving forward.
So what are you going to do to know what you want? It all boils down to priorities. Do you want a safe car? Check the NHTSA for safety ratings. Then you can also choose based on the build you gravitate towards. Another thing to consider is the number of people who are sharing the car with you. Lastly, think about the aesthetics.
If you’re still unsure what you want, don’t worry; most first-time car buyers experience this kind of dilemma. That’s why it’s important to always shop around first. In fact, it is highly encouraged by dealerships. This is because it can save you and the dealer more time this way. You can always check a car marketplace where you can take a look at thousands of cars available.
Set Your Budget
If you’re paying for your new car with cash, then you can skip this tip. However, not all people can afford to lay a fat amount of money right then and there. When you want to get a car for the first time, thinking how much you’re willing to spend is a priority. When you want to get a financing service, set first how much you can allocate towards your monthly car payment from your budget.
One tip that dealerships give out to first-time car buyers is that car payments should not exceed 15% of the monthly budget. Even though you’re eyeing a used car for sale, the same tip applies, no matter how less expensive. If you want to lease, however, set it to 10% off of your monthly budget.
But it’s not just the car payment you should think about. You should also set aside 7% of your monthly budget for fuel and maintenance costs. That only means you should set aside up to 22% of your monthly budget for your car. So, if you have a $10,000 monthly take-out, it means you need to allocate up to $2,200 monthly for your vehicle.
“New Car Is Better”
One of the biggest mistakes a first-time buyer commits is to think that only a new car is worth buying. This is false, especially for those who can barely set up a good monthly budget for the car. As mentioned above, used cars are less expensive. In addition, new cars depreciate faster than used ones and new cars mean higher insurance coverage.
Used cars, on the other hand, have already depreciated. Therefore, these cars won’t be affected much by future depreciations. Also, used cars require less insurance, so you can still have money set aside for other things. Even those cars that have 60,000 miles to 100,000 miles can still last longer up to more than 200,000 miles. So, if you’re a first-time buyer, you should consider looking for used cars for sale instead. To be honest, this is a much better way to get a car for the first time.
A Parking Space
If there’s a thing that’s called road rage, there’s also a thing called parking rage. You may think that a brawl due to parking space is not common, think otherwise. According to drdriving.org, parking rage is highly common in the United States, especially in large cities where parking is scarce. Good thing, however, that it is more common in busy parking lots during busy hours of the working days.
If you live in a suburb where most houses have a parking space, then that’s good for you. If you live in, say, a business area, you may need to look for a parking space. Look for a garage near you and rent one. If you live in an apartment, find out if they provide a parking area. Street parking may be allowed in your area but leaving your car on the side of the street can pose a danger, so park at your own risk.
Don’t Skip The Test Drive
Another important thing a first-time car buyer should know is to always give the car a test drive. A test drive is one of the most essential things to do when buying a car, whether new or used, first-time or repeat buyer. By giving the car a spin around the block, you’d be able to determine whether the vehicle is a good buy or not. This is also the chance you can have a good feel with the vehicle, check and determine which features are not to your liking.
When doing the test drive, don’t just focus on the driving. Make sure that you take it to the test. You can take it on a narrow street, the highway, and even on a rough road. Don’t forget to use all the mechanisms, including left and right turns, brakes, acceleration, and deceleration, among others. When you’re buying from a dealership, don’t be afraid to ask the sales representative some questions so you’d get some answers to things you’re confused about. If you don’t know much about cars, you can bring a friend who has a vast knowledge of vehicles.
And these are just five of the most important things a car buyer should know. As mentioned above, it’s important to know which car to check out that’s right for your budget. To determine that, you can check out a car marketplace. Don’t forget to read the vehicle condition report to know what to expect before doing a test drive.