Purchasing your first car is a milestone for many. There are many manufacturers who are willing to take your money one way or another, and with over 50 car brands to choose from, you’re pretty spoiled for choice depending on your budget. Navigating the automotive market place can be a bit daunting, especially for the less-experienced buyer.
Here are a few tips that will help you with the purchase of your first automobile. This list may be dedicated and specially crafted for first-time buyers, but even veterans can find value in the basics. Let’s begin.
Strictly determine your budget
It’s easy to get lost in adding a bit more. Picture this, you’re shopping for your dream ride, going through the list of features, then you find that going a variant higher will only cost you a few thousands more. It’s easy to get lost in the specs of a vehicle, and it is easy to say “just a little bit more.” Saying this statement once is enough, but saying it a few times might have you spending money you don’t even have.
The same can be said for second-hand cars. Determine your budget and work around it. The seller would probably be able to negotiate a lower price if you ask nicely as well but don’t low ball. Instead, shop close to your budget and don’t go over.
Your budget must also extend over to how you’re going pay for the car’s fuel, maintenance, and other consumables like tires and brake pads. Consider a car with good fuel economy to maximize your budget. Consider servicing costs and dealer estimates. If the car you’re buying has a service plan, then even better.
Know your purpose
What do you want the car to accomplish? Is there a particular task that you want to be able to do with your car purchase like go off-road? Seat 7 people? Carry heavy loads? Figure out your use case first and your purpose for buying. If your family needs a workhorse, then make sure that you buy something that fits the bill and is practical. If you want something that arouses your senses, then perhaps something with more sporting character is your best bet. Whatever it is, always buy with intent.
Separate needs and wants
In a general sense, nobody actually “needs” a car. An automobile is a privilege that you have to buy for yourself. In this way, it is a want but considered in tandem with your purpose for buying, and you can see a few need boxes to tick.
First and foremost, a car needs to be mechanically complete for you to be able to drive it. The manufacturer has to have facilities that are accessible to you so you can source parts and have your car serviced. If you’re buying a car, it needs to work. Consider practicality when determining needs. In this case, a basic model isn’t bad because it gets the job done as a car.
After you find a body style or model that meets your criteria, it is time to start considering what you want by browsing the variant list. Again, a base model should fulfill all your needs and then some if your budget is higher, but fulfilling wants can be expensive because features come at a price. If you don’t see yourself utilizing a heated seat or a sunroof, then don’t pay for them. Consider features that are useful to you, and picture yourself using these features.
Look for the best price
Just like your mobile phone, you could possibly save a few thousand by opting for a more affordable option in the form of last year’s stocks. Consider car promos as well that give you favorable rates or high cash discounts.
Don’t be limited by one dealer or one brand as well. There are tons of options out there, and perhaps there is a more well-endowed model waiting for you in the showroom of a competing brand. Either way, look for something that is worth your hard-earned money.
Does it spark joy?
It doesn’t matter if you have a car that works and ticks all the boxes if it doesn’t make you want to drive it. If you’re not happy with the car that you’re looking at, and you cannot picture yourself driving this for the next few years, maybe it is time to reconsider. As practical as cars are, they can also be an emotional purchase. This rings true for cars that you will personally drive on a daily basis. If it doesn’t ignite something in your soul, then perhaps it’s not going to work out.