Buying a car is certainly an exciting milestone especially if it's your first ever car. Often, buying a car represents a household's second biggest purchase after a home. It's a good idea to do your homework and work out a strategy before visiting a dealer's lot, because if you don't, there's a very good chance that the sales staff will charge you more than necessary. Here, we at GET.com share with you 6 things you ought to consider before you purchase a car.
It's not a good idea to fall in love with a car you can't afford. A reasonable plan is to allocate no more than 20 percent of your monthly income toward household car payments. This include things like car loans, car insurance, gasoline and maintenance.
In case this comes in handy for you, check out these 6 ways to cut your monthly car insurance premiums. Nobody would say no to keeping our costs as low as we conceivably can, right?
The Internet is an excellent resource for identifying and researching cars that fit into your budget. You can start with the type of vehicle you desire, whether it be sedan, SUV, truck and so forth. Check out various car evaluation websites that not only review vehicles but also show you how much your neighbors paid for the car that you are eyeing. Be sure to include the cost of trim level options, dealer prep and taxes.
3. New Or Used?
You can get much more for your money by getting a used car. The problem is that you never know for sure how the previous owner(s) treated the car that you've set your sights on. Services like CARFAX disclose any reported problems, but it's not foolproof. A good compromise is to buy a certified pre-owned car that comes with a factory warranty. Used-car franchises like Carmax sell vehicles with no-haggle pricing.
If you're set on getting a new car, decide how you want to pay for it. Most people don't pay cash, so you'll need to consider buying versus leasing. Buying is cheaper in the long run if you tend to keep your car until it falls apart, but that requires a down payment and (eventually) non-warranty maintenance.
Leasing is initially cheaper, especially if you can find a no-money-down deal. Payments are lower and you only pay sales tax on the financed amount, but you have to give the car back at the end of the lease period and you get no trade-in value. As silly as it sounds, a lot depends on your preference whether you'd like to drive a new car every few years.
5. Shop Around
You'll have more flexibility if you can identify two or three cars that meet your requirements. You should be able to negotiate a better price from salespeople if they know you're looking at other makes. By shopping around, we also mean that it should include test drives of your final candidates, close scrutiny and inspection of the vehicles on the dealer's lot. If you don't see exactly what you want, remember it doesn't cost extra to order a car from the manufacturer.
6. Close The Deal
If you have a trade-in, do your best to find out how much you can reasonably demand for it. You don't necessarily have to sell the trade-in to the car dealership, although it's probably the easiest way to go. You also don't have to get your car loan from the dealership, and it makes sense to shop around to find the best deal available. Don't be fooled into buy unnecessary extras, like special paint coatings or expensive maintenance contracts.
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Also, it doesn't hurt to find out whether American cars or foreign cars are better for your wallet.