It is one of those rites of passage which everybody passes through at some stage. Buying your first car is often an exciting time. This is in part because of what is says about your current juncture in life. However, there is also nothing more exciting than being able to get your hands on your own vehicle. For most, this in itself is cause for celebration. However, that is not to say that it is an easy or straightforward process. In fact, the whole routine of buying a car can be headache at the best of time. No time is this truer than when you are out shopping for your very first vehicle. In essence, all the same rules and pieces of advice apply to everyone, regardless of whether they have bought a car previously or not. However, when it is your first time, you need to take a little extra care. This is in part because you are inexperienced, and as such less likely to spot problems early on. However, it is also because of the sad fact that some people will try to take advantage. Knowing as much as possible about the entire process is your best defense in these cases. Without further ado, then, let’s take it step-by-step and look at how to go about buying your first car.
First Things First: New Or Used?
Before you do anything else, it is essential that you decide upon this first question. Whether to buy new or used might seem like a straightforward affair. However, there are numerous benefits and drawbacks of both. It might well be the case that it is decided for you, due to your financial situation. In that case, that’s fine – but it is still worth knowing the pros and cons.
Firstly, buying new is obviously considerably more expensive. But that is not for no reason. When you buy a new car, you get the advantage of having a warranty which protects against most common problems. This is, in essence, a way of saving money further down the line. However, the rate of depreciation means that buying new can sometimes feel like a bit of a waste of money. Buying used, on the other hand, is much cheaper in general, but you do get less for your money. You are unlikely to secure a warranty with a used car – though it is possible. Moreover, you cannot be sure of the car’s history. However, buying a used car can be perfectly safe if you go through a dealership like Pentagon-Group. And the extra cash that you save can be used for other expenses – more on those later.
How To Budget
Whichever you decide upon, it is now the perfect time to draw up a budget. You might not think that you need to have a budget for a one-off expense like a car. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, having a clear budget helps you out in a number of ways. As long as you know exactly how much you have to spend, you can enjoy the process of buying a car without having to worry. Otherwise, you might find that you are constantly trying to add everything up in your head. The problem here – apart from being stressful – is that it is all too easy to lose track of your finances. And that can land you in some serious trouble. Save yourself the hassle, and work out your budget at your earliest convenience.
When you sit down to form your budget, remember that you need to be realistic, above all else. Also, remember to include a lower end as well as a higher end. Having a range is much more useful than having a strict, fixed amount. Whatever you do, though, do not exceed your budget.
Once you have your budget worked out, you are most of the way there. The great thing, at this stage, is that you now know exactly what kind of thing to look for. It is at this vital stage that you can begin to carry out your research. You might well be wondering what you need to research, or why it matters. Let’s have a look at why research is useful.
When you are shopping around for cars, you will soon discover just how many options there are available. This is true whether you are buying new or used, and no matter what your budget is. The car industry is huge, and your choices are limited only by your personal finances. While this is great news for the consumer, before long it also causes problems. After all, the last thing you want is to waste lots of time on shopping for cars. Ultimately, you want to just get the car you want and get out of there. Trust me, shopping for cars gets boring pretty quick.
That’s why researching your cars is so important. With proper research under your belt, you can go into the marketplace armed with knowledge. What’s more, you will know exactly what you are hoping to find. That is much simpler and quicker than just going all out.
When you are conducting your research, there are many elements to look out for. The main one, however, particularly for your first car, is cost. This is likely to be a concern for most first-time buyers anyway. But when you are researching potential vehicles to buy, it is vital that you take the costs into consideration.
There is more to this than you might at first assume. First off, we have the most obvious aspect to all of this: the upfront cost. This is what you are likely to pay for your car itself, at time of buying. This figure varies hugely, depending on whether you are buying new or used, the age of the car, where you are getting it from, and of course the model. However, this is not your only cost. You also need to consider the various running costs – and there might be more of these than you think. Fuel is one of the major expenses here, but that probably goes without saying. Besides, there isn’t much you can do about that, except try to buy a fairly fuel-efficient car. Another cost is taxing and insuring your vehicle – not to mention the expense for on-going repairs and even car key replacement and then the locksmith prices. Again, you have little control in these areas. But you can control which car you buy, and that is the main deciding factor.
You need to carefully add up all of these costs when you are looking at cars to buy. Otherwise, you might get a nasty surprise further down the line. And that is the last thing anyone wants with their first car.
Ultimately, you are looking for a well-priced car which suits your needs. What else are you looking for? You might be interested in your car having certain features, for example. These are optional, and it is just a matter of taste. The main thing you should hope to get out of this is a decent, reliable first car which you feel comfortable driving. To find this, it is important to have patience and learn to shop around. The first place you visit might not be the best or the cheapest. Take your time, and visit several dealers before you make any final decisions.
With any luck, you will end up with the first car of your dreams. What’s more, you will have learned a thing or two for when you need to do it all over again.