The prospect of investing in your first car is exciting. Many people opt to purchase a used car in order to save some money and avoid depreciation.
If you have never purchased a vehicle, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the many options available on the market. Learning how to narrow your search and work with a reputable dealership will be essential to finding your perfect vehicle.
Here are four tips that you can use to avoid the hazards and confusion that can cause first-time buyers to invest in the wrong vehicle.
1. Identify Your Needs First
You should always start a vehicle search by identifying what it is that you truly need from a vehicle.
First-time buyers may not invest the time required to really think about their needs, which can result in the purchase of a vehicle with fancy options that don't really meet their needs.
If you will be using your first car to commute to work or school, it would be beneficial to get a vehicle with good gas mileage. If you live in a colder climate and anticipate driving in the snow, a vehicle with all-wheel drive is a safe choice.
Take your lifestyle, climate, and driving patterns into consideration as you make a list of your needs to bring to the dealership. This list will help you narrow your search to the used vehicles that will best meet your needs over time.
2. Be Informed About Loans
Very few drivers have the financial resources available to purchase a car with cash. This means that you will probably be financing your purchase with an auto loan. As a first-time buyer, you need to make sure that you are informed about the financing process before you head to the dealership.
You can choose a direct loan to finance your car. Direct loans are obtained through a bank or credit union and offer competitive interest rates. You can also choose to finance through a dealership. Most dealerships employ a finance manager that can help you apply to multiple financial institutions to find the best rate.
Be familiar with your credit score, any lending requirements you must meet to qualify for an auto loan, and your budget so that you end up with a loan that won't create a financial hardship.
3. Time Your Purchase Right
The time that you make your vehicle purchase could have a direct impact on the quality of your buying experience and the overall price you pay for your first car.
Car dealerships operate on a monthly basis. This means that they are more likely to offer you a deal toward the end of the month as they work to meet their monthly quota.
It can also pay to visit a dealership on a weekday rather than on the weekend. Dealerships are typically less busy during the week, which means you will have the undivided attention of your sales associate.
Having more personal contact with your sales associate allows you to ask questions and get recommendations that the sales associate may not have had time to offer with multiple customers waiting.
4. Consider Resale Value
The first car your purchase will probably not be your last. It can be beneficial in the long run to consider the resale value of a vehicle when making a purchase.
Take the time to look up the safety ratings and NADA value of any vehicle you are interested in. Chart the value of the vehicle over the past few years to determine if it will hold its value until you are ready to sell.
By purchasing with resale value in mind, you can avoid losing money when it's time to trade or sell your first car. For more information, contact a local auto dealer.