Purchasing your first ever car is a moment to be proud of. This vehicle will take you on countless adventures and you will probably make memories that will last a lifetime.
Everyone remembers their first car, but little people remember how difficult it is to choose one. There are so many factors to consider, as well as so many choices on the market, that it makes picking your first vehicle harder than you’d think.
To make things a little bit easier, we’ve compiled a guide for first-time buyers on all the aspects you should consider before you purchase your new vehicle.
Budgeting and Financing Options
Before you can go out and buy your first vehicle, you need to establish how much you are willing to spend. If you can afford to pay for your vehicle upfront, this will save you quite a bit in the long run, as you won’t have to deal with things like loans and interest rates.
However, many people still choose to purchase their vehicle through financing which is also an option. Just make sure your monthly car payments don’t exceed 15% of your gross payments. Don’t forget your budget should also include other important factors like fuel and maintenance costs.
If you’re working with a small budget, don’t be afraid to consider second-hand vehicles. After all, cars are one of the quickest assets to depreciate. If you purchase a brand-new make and model, its likely to depreciate in value by a couple thousand pounds as soon as the newer version is released.
Instead of buying brand new, you can buy second-hand vehicles at a fraction of the price. You can even buy second-hand cars that have only got a couple hundred miles on their mileage. These are also easier to negotiate down to a suitable price, although they will also be more difficult to resell in the future.
When you go to the dealership it can be hard to know whether you are getting honest and genuine advice, or whether the salesman is just doing his job and trying to make a sale. The people who work at car dealerships tend to earn a commission with each sale and this can be daunting for first-time buyers.
If you’re curious to know what the positives and negatives of each vehicle are, without any bias, you can have a look at some car reviews. These will paint you a clear picture of what each car can do and what the best features of the vehicle are. Once you’ve read through a few you can then decide to see the car in person and take it out for a test drive yourself.
Factor in the Running Cost
If you are interested in financing your car, you should also sit down and go through all of the potential costs associated with this vehicle. Think about the cost to repair the vehicle if anything goes wrong. As well as the costs it will take to run the car and insure it whilst it’s on the road.
The more expensive the car, the more expensive your insurance will be. Similarly, if you’re going to purchase a car that is rare or exclusive, finding spare parts to repair this can be extremely expensive. These are all important consequences that need to be factored into the final decision-making process.
Take a Few Test Drives
After you have done all of your research and you’ve chosen which car you would like to buy, it’s time for the fun part. Go take the car for a test drive and see what it’s really like behind the wheel. The optimum time for a test drive is around 30 minutes. This can let you explore how the car drives on different types of roads.
If you are going to purchase the car from a private seller, it’s best to let them know ahead of time that you would like to take a long test drive. Make sure to ask important questions such as the mileage of the vehicle, whether it’s ever been involved in a crash, and if anything is currently broken. These are all excellent points that you can use in your favour when it comes to the negotiation stage.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
Negotiation is all part of the process, so don’t be afraid to give it a go. Trying to negotiate down the price of a brand-new car is more difficult because these are linked to a manufacturing price that isn’t set by the dealer. However, if you are buying a second-hand car, it’s more than likely that you’ll be able to knock off a couple hundred off of the price.
To get a great deal and negotiate, you have to be confident. Do your research and find out how much other similar second-hand cars are selling for. If you’ve noticed any cosmetic damages or you’ve identified any concerns during your test drive, make sure to let the seller know. You can ask them to discount this off of the price. Finally, don’t be afraid to walk away if you think that you can get a better deal elsewhere.
At the end of the day, the car’s appearance is only a single part of the decision-making process. The most important thing that you should consider is that your vehicle is in great shape. The last thing that you want from your first car is an accident. If you have purchased your vehicle from a previous owner, make sure that everything is in top shape before you sign the papers.
This may be a lot of information to take in, however, it’s also a very important decision to make. Don’t try to rush the process and make sure to compile a list of your possible options. Cross-examine your options and make sure to take them for a test drive. After that, it’s simply smooth cruising, and time to enjoy the ride.