Deciding to buy a new car is an exciting moment. But this isn’t the same process as walking into a store and buying a new pair of jeans. Nope – a car is a huge expense, a massive investment, and a big financial decision that takes some prep and planning before the time.
Instead of walking cluelessly into a car dealership and expecting to leave in a snazzy new vehicle, here are some of the most critical steps you need to take first.
Understand Financing Options
First of all, you need a clear understanding of how you’re going to be paying for your vehicle. You might have enough saved up to pay cash, you could trade in an old car or simply take out a loan for the full amount.
If you decide to choose a Personal Contract Purchase, make sure you’re aware of PCP claims and what might result in you needing to claim. Avoidance should be your first line of defence when it comes to financial trouble and legal issues.
Once you know what your financing options are, figure out what will work best for you, your budget and your lifestyle.
Research Your Options
Next, you’ll need to do a little research to understand what you want and what’s available out there for you.
You can use car websites to help you find out what brands and models are available, the specs they have, the average costs and even compare them to other cars. Think about the kind of lifestyle you live, how large your family is, how far and how often you drive, and whether you have any specific travel needs – such as transporting pets, bikes or other equipment. These will all help you find the best type of car for your needs.
Plan Your Budget
A new car is something you need to prepare for financially, and one of the major steps in that preparation is planning your budget. Figure out exactly what you have to spend on a new car based on your monthly income and existing expenses.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to budget for the car itself, as well as insurance, routine maintenance, fuel, and other running costs. Be careful not to leave anything out, as you might find yourself in a financial pickle if you buy a car that you later discover you can’t afford.
Talk to Salespeople
Finally, when you know what you’re looking for and what you can afford, it’s time to start going to dealerships and taking a look at what they have available for you.
When you see something you like, make sure you ask the salesperson all the right questions to get a clear view of the vehicle you’re looking at.
You’ll need to know information like the full cost including all the admin and registration, whether or not the car has been used as a demo, the details of the warranty and service plan, etc. Be sure to test drive any car you like before purchasing it to make sure you feel comfortable too.