Buying a new car can be stressful – after all, next to buying a home it’s the largest purchase you’ll make. Being a first time buyer lends itself to an even higher degree of stress. After all, how do you know if you’re asking the right questions, making the right comparisons, and ultimately making the best buy. Make sure you get the best value for your hard-earned money with these five actionable car buying tips.
Tip #1 – Know What You Want
Take some time to consider what it is you need from your vehicle. Do you have a large family? Do you need to have lots of seating? Do you need to haul things such as lumber? Do you need a 4×4? Consider what it is you need and want from a vehicle now and into the future. For example, perhaps you’ve been talking about starting a family – then purchasing a sports car might not be the answer.
Tip #2 – Set Your Budget
Determine what your budget is. Figure out what size payments you can swing. Let’s be honest all those bells and whistles are tempting. All it takes is a good salesperson to up-sell you. By knowing your budget in advance, you are far less likely to overspend.
Your budget may determine whether you are in the market for a used car, in which case you need to do some research to learn which vehicles hold their value, and to make sure the price being asked is really what the vehicle is worth.
Tip #3 – Shop Around
There’s a huge difference between list price and the purchase price. Shop around to find the best price on both new and used vehicles. You could also contact a broker buying service or car buying service to work for you.
Tip #4 – Negotiate
Once you find the car you want in your price range it’s time to get ready to negotiate the best deal possible. Almost all dealers have at least a little bit of wiggle room whether on new or used vehicles. On new cars this is the difference between the MRSP (suggested retail) and the invoice price. When buying a used car there’s often a significant amount of room for negotiations. Don’t take no for an answer – walk away, and never let the dealer know just how much you want the car. If you aren’t sure you can play the negotiating game, ask a friend of family member to help you.
Tip #5 – Test Drive
Every vehicle handles differently. If you are in the market for a used car a test drive may seem like an obvious step but it’s also important when you are buying a new car. Every vehicle handles differently, and that nice, shiny vehicle you’ve been drooling over may not handle the way you thought it would. A test drive is an integral part of any car deal. While you’re at it if you are purchasing a used car have a mechanic check it over.
There you have it – five simple steps to help the first time buyer ensure the best vehicle for the best price.