Even though purchasing your first vehicle can be an amazing experience, making a single mistake could end up costing you quite a bit of money. Well before you sign any paperwork or make an offer, you will need to take many different variables into consideration. Luckily, with a little planning and some hard work, you can make sure that you get a great car at the right price.
Consider All of the Expenses
Many first-time car buyers don’t realize just how many fees and hidden expenses they are going to run into. In addition to the sticker price, you will also need to consider taxes, registration fees, add-ons from the dealer, and smog checks. Another important variable in this equation is the cost of maintenance. Some vehicles are very costly to maintain, and those expenses are going to add up.
Thoroughly Research Any Vehicles You Are Interested In
One of the most important steps in this process is researching every aspect of any vehicles that you are interested in. Before you head to the dealership, you need to spend some time looking up reviews and ratings about cars for sale you might be interested in. You should also head to the manufacturer’s website to get a closer look at the specs. That includes gas mileage, total horsepower, torque, and towing capabilities.
Explore All of Your Financing Options
Paying cash for your first vehicle might save you money in the long run, but most buyers will need to think about their financing options. If you have a bank or credit union that you enjoy working with, then you should head to a local branch and see if you can be pre-approved for a loan. While most dealerships have their own financing departments, you will probably get a better interest rate through your own bank or credit union. Being pre-approved for a car loan is also going to give you the upper hand when you are negotiating with the dealer.
Schedule a Vehicle Inspection
Many companies now offer affordable car history reports, but that information isn’t always completely accurate. To learn more about the vehicle, you should ask to have it inspected by a third-party mechanic. During that inspection, the mechanic is going to look over every inch of the vehicle and make sure that all of the primary components are undamaged. If the dealer or seller won’t let a third-party mechanic inspect the vehicle, then you shouldn’t make an offer.
Finding the perfect first car is going to be time-consuming, but that hard work will pay off in the end. With a solid plan in place, you will be able to avoid some of the most common mistakes that first-time buyers make.