Few things in life compare to the feeling of sitting behind the wheel of your dream car; the new car smell, the feel of the steering wheel in your hands, everything. The reality of it is that even in the best of circumstances, buying a car can be stressful. It’s such an important financial decision. If you think that you may make a less-than-desirable decision when you’re buying your new car, then you’ll want to keep the following eight tips in mind when you go out shopping.
Figuring Out What You’re Looking For
If you’re like most car shoppers you’ve made a list of the different features, you want your new car to have. These features could include the car’s age, mileage, and condition. You should also consider why you're buying the new car, how you will use it, and its must-haves. Knowing the answer to these questions helps you narrow down your choices, especially when you encounter two cars with very similar features. It also keeps you on track when you see the sports car you would love to buy sitting next to the minivan you should buy because the circumstances of your life dictate that you have the minivan instead of the sports car.
The Internet has revolutionized most industries, including the car industry. With the click of a mouse or tap of a finger on your mobile phone screen, you can populate a list of cars with all the bells and whistles you want in a car. The ability to do this is definitely one of the advantages of buying a car online. On the other hand, since you can’t see the car directly in front of you, you won’t be able to see any dings, scratches, chips in the windshield, etc. That’s definitely a drawback to buying online. If you want to avoid scammers, then you need to do some research before you buy it. Cars.com uses reviews and safety ratings to match prospective car buyers with vehicles they think will be a good fit. Doing research also allows you to spot red flags. If a car you’re looking at has a complicated history, a weird or suspicious story or a seller who doesn’t want you to inspect the car, then walk away.
Take a Look at Your Budget
It’s a fact that most people who are buying a car will run into budgetary constraints. A potential budget for buying a car should include accommodations for the down payment. It should also be taken into account how much money you think you can afford to pay each month in payments.
Think About Buying a Pre-Owned Car
While we may all have dreams of driving a brand-new car off the car lot, the fact of the matter is cars never appreciate as an asset, unless they’re one of only a few in the world, like the Bugatti Royale. Most of the time, this isn’t going to be the case. Instead, you can count on your new car depreciating by 20 to 30 percent by the end of the first year. Although the rate of depreciation slows down some after the first year, you can still count on it steadily losing value each year by at least 15 percent.
This is why some people only buy used cars. They know their money is better spent elsewhere. If you are willing to go the pre-owned route, then you might find a sweet deal on the car of your dreams. For example, let’s say you want a sports BMW or Mercedes, then think about buying a well-maintained pre-owned model. Often, you can secure a car like this for $3,000 to $5,000 if the car is more than 10 years old.
Must-Have vs. Like-to-Have Features
Your car’s must-have features will largely be dictated by the circumstances of your life. It’s a fact that you probably need a different car as a single person than you would as a parent with three kids. In fact, this aspect of the car-buying process may be as important as the budget in some cases. For example, if you’ve come to the car lot intending to buy a Jeep because you need a car with a big enough trunk area to haul stuff for your crafts business, then you may not so much need a Jeep as you do a vehicle that gives you plenty of storage. In this case, a minivan, an old Volkswagen bus, or even a truck in some cases will do the same job.
Think About Leasing
Certain advantages come with leasing a car, the biggest one being that you turn the car back in before it depreciates so much that it’s not worth anything. It’s also an excellent option if your job requires you to spend a lot of time in your car, dealing with clients. This is often the case with C-Level managers or real estate agents, who often lease their cars rather than buying them.
Call Around for Quotes
The same car sold by two different owners/ dealerships can have drastically different prices, based on the condition of the cars, the dealership’s overhead, how much the owner has put into upgrades and other factors. Calling or emailing dealerships or private car owners who are selling their cars gives you an idea of how much you could pay for the car. When you’re inquiring, ask for what the car’s out-the-door costs are. This allows you to secure the best price for the car. It also gives you some bargaining information. If you find two similar cars and have offers on both of them, then you may be able to negotiate with one or both of them for a better price.
Take a Test Drive
Once you’ve narrowed down the possible cars you’ve found and gotten quotes for them, you then want to take those cars for a test drive. You might have fallen in love with the look of a car, but upon driving it you realize that it’s a dud. It’s only possible to learn how a car handles if you’re able to drive it. If your dream car has problems, like stalling at stop signs or windows that don’t work, it will suddenly not be so dreamlike anymore. A test drive ensures that your dream car remains a dream.
Often, when you’re thinking of buying your dream car, there’s the Shangri La version and then there’s the one you’re willing to drive away with. The truth is most people have to make some concessions when they’re out buying a car. By working with the information on this list, you have a better chance of securing the Shangri La version of your dream car than the budget one.
Once you have your dream car, treat it like your dream car with regular, timely maintenance by professionals. Book an appointment today!