5 First-Time Car Buying Tips

When it’s time to buy your first car, the experience is exhilarating and a bit scary. You may wonder how you can afford the kind of vehicle you want, especially when your credit isn’t great and you don’t have a vehicle to offer as a trade-in. Look over this set of five tips for first-time car buyers to help you get a good car and a good deal.

1. Do Your Homework

When you think you know what kind of car you want, research the vehicle online. By browsing third-party sites such as Kelly Blue Book, you can find out what price is average for the specific vehicle you want to buy in your area. Because prices vary depending on the car’s trim and condition, these sites take those factors into consideration when giving you a price estimate.

2. Shop Around

Once you have an idea from your online research what the car should cost, you can begin shopping dealerships in your region. Don’t be afraid to visit some out-of-town shops where you might nab a better deal. If a salesperson quotes you a price that’s too high, mention the price you received from Kelley Blue Book and ask if he or she can match that.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Many first-time car buyers are eager to get their hands on the wheel of a car. However, you can’t be so eager that you end up paying too much for a car. When you get a quote that’s too high for your budget, be willing to walk away and look elsewhere for a vehicle that suits your tastes and your bank account. Once you sign the paperwork to buy a car, there’s no cooling-off period during which you can return the vehicle. It’s a done deal. That’s why you have to be completely certain you’re ready to buy before you sign.

4. Check the Insurance Costs

Before you pull the trigger on buying a car, call your insurance company and find out how much it will cost to have it covered. In most cases, you want both collision and liability insurance. The cost of coverage varies wildly depending on the type of car you want to buy. Sports cars tend to be expensive to insure while sedans are more affordable.

5. Get Creative With Financing

If your credit isn’t great, consider alternative means of financing. For starters, you can get a loan from a family member. Just make sure you agree on a payback schedule to avoid any hurt feelings. You can also lease a car instead of buying it. This allows you to have an extended rental, and in many cases, there’s an option to buy at the end of the lease term. Finally, you may need to settle on a longer-term loan. That may mean you pay more interest over time, but at least you have car payments you can afford.

By following these tips, you’re more likely to get a good deal the first time you buy a car. The biggest mistake you can make when buying a car is to make a decision when your emotions are high.

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Posted in Tips and Tricks