The Right Way to Buy A Car

Buying a car is fun, but it can also be stressful. A car is an expensive investment, and there are many cars to choose from, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This doesn’t even begin to touch on dealing with car salespeople, who can be pushy and make you feel like you have to buy a certain car right away. Use our tips to confidently buy a great car that will serve you well for years.

Tip #1 – Make a Plan Before You Go Shopping

Researching the type of car you want is vital to the purchasing process. Ask yourself some of the following questions before you look at cars:

    • How much money do I have saved for a down payment?
    • How reliable are the cars I like?
    • What’s the resale value of the cars I like?
    • What features are necessities (like the number of seats or certain safety features) and which features are just wants (like a sunroof or nice wheels)?
    • What will my family life look like in the next few years?

You may want to ask other questions, but this will provide a good start.

An additional area to research before looking at cars is how you will finance the car. You will likely need to take out a car loan. It’s important to take a car loan from an institution you trust and which will make the process simple and easy to understand for you from start to finish, like Four Points. If you can save at least part of the money you’ll need beforehand (instead of having to borrow the full amount of the car), that will also help you get the best rate and terms. If you secure financing before you begin shopping, you will have more control over your purchase decision.

Lastly, research where to buy your car. Ask friends and family for referrals and use the Internet to find the best dealerships.

Tip #2 – Hold Your Cards Close to the Vest

Car salespeople aren’t bad, but their job is to get you to buy a car as soon as possible. Explain your needs and what kind of car you want and take your time to find the right fit. It’s their job to help you find a car that matches all or most of your criteria. Negotiate based on the purchase price, not monthly payment, as that will help you keep payments as low as possible and make sure you’re not paying more than the car is worth.

Tip #3 – Don’t Overlook Other Costs

Buying a car is much more than paying what’s on the sticker. There are many other costs that are easy to overlook, such as:

  • Taxes
  • Fees
  • Insurance costs
  • Gas
  • Repairs

The above will vary based on the car you choose. Don’t be surprised if the first two will add several thousand to your out-of-pocket expense.

Tip #4 – Buy What You Can Afford

It’s easy to get excited about a car and overextend yourself. Giving into that emotion can impact your finances for years to come. Protect yourself by buying within your means and stick to the plan you made before you went to the dealership

At the end of the day what matters is finding a car that’s reliable and serves your needs. Take a look at your budget to see what you can justifiably handle without putting other needs at risk. If that ends up being a car you lease for a lower monthly rate or a car you purchase with a good loan and interest rate, do what makes the most sense for you and your budget. With a little work, you can find a great car that meets your needs without sacrificing other things you want in life.