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The Complete and Only First Time Car Buyer Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Are you looking for information on how to buy your first car?

As a first-time car buyer, you are likely to be confused because there is a lot of conflicting information that will be offered to you. However, you need to know the most important factors to consider if you want to get the right vehicle.

Sometimes, you will be confused because there are lots of new models in the market. You may also not know how to choose the best engine performance based on how you want to use the car. That is why you need to learn from people who have bought and driven a wide variety of cars.

This complete checklist helps you find out how to pick the right vehicle, regardless of your budget or the purpose for which you need the machine.

Configuring Your Vehicle

In the automotive industry, there is always something for everyone. That is why you have to start by choosing the kind of car that you need. You may want to visit their auto shop or website and find out the various models on offer.

When configuring the car, you should look at the things that fascinate you and how they have been included in each model. This also means that you should have a list of the main features you want in the new machine. You will find it easier to pick the right model when you already have an idea of what you need.

Understand the Paperwork

After identifying your perfect new car, you should know the paperwork process and the documents that you have to provide to the dealership before driving away in the vehicle. Preparing these documents early ensures that you take less time to process the transaction. You will be asked to provide the following:

  • Driving license
  • Pre-approved loan information
  • Insurance proof
  • Down payment funds

Dealers often make you aware of this information at the first instance so that you prepare adequately. In addition to that, they will tell you what to expect and how to go about the process. It all depends on the kind of dealership you choose.

Checking the Prices

One thing that you will notice when you visit a car dealer’s website is the vast difference in prices. It is because every model has its price, and other factors determine the overall cost too. It also depends on whether you are buying a new or used vehicle.

Sometimes, you will benefit a lot if you visit websites that compare car prices across various dealers. When you do that, you will realize that the same model can cost different amounts at different dealerships. Always know where the fairest prices are before spending your money.

Check for Incentives

Buying a car is not something that you can do in a rush because sometimes, you may miss out on incentives. Some car dealers will provide incentives based on a predetermined model, and so, you have to see what you can get. Some of the most common incentives include:

  • Customer cash back
  • Low-interest financing
  • Discounts

These incentives may seem small, but they can help you save a lot of money. They may also ease your financial burden, especially when you are a first-time buyer. You may want to talk to the salesperson about how to get the most value out of these offers.

About Financing

According to this site, few people can buy their first car from their savings, regardless of how much they are worth. That is why you need to look for financing options. The best part is that applying and getting approved for a car loan is an easy process.

You need to look for the right lender because not everyone offers the same terms and conditions. Think about the interest rates and other conditions. As a first-time car buyer, you should be looking to save money throughout the process.

Check Your Credit Score

A car loan is like any other, and therefore, you have to check your credit score to know how it affects what you get. For example, some lenders may not give you the money if your score is too bad. However, you can do several things to make it better.

Generally, borrowers with a credit score below 690 are forced to pay higher interest rates. It is because the risk attached to them is higher than those with a better rating. However, some lenders may not dwell too much on your score, and so, you have to know who you are dealing with.

Know the Numbers

Now that you are buying the vehicle through a loan, you should know how much it will cost. Use a calculator to find out how much money you will be paying every month and if you can afford it. Additionally, ensure that there will be a constant flow of cash to service the car loan.

Take time to understand the things that you can do to lower interest rates and pay with ease. For instance, let them confirm if you can pay higher amounts to complete the loan repayment faster. You should understand everything about these numbers.

A First Time Car Buyer Should Know How to Negotiate

Now that you have everything that it takes to buy your car, you need to move ahead and ensure that you actually have it. It starts with negotiations, which are often based on various factors. At this point, the salesperson should know that you already know what you want.

You want to let them know that you have shopped around and know how much the vehicle costs elsewhere. The best option is to ask them to name their best price. However, some dealers may not do that, and that is why you have to give your offer.

Test-Drive the Car

You may have already chosen the kind of car that you want, but it should not end there. You just read about its features on the website or found out from the salesperson. However, you still have to test it to confirm that it is what you want.

You can only know that it is the exact car that you selected when you started searching when you try it. That is why most dealers have no reservation when you ask for a test drive, and some of them will even help you to understand the whole thing. If you find a good salesperson, they will help you identify problems if there are any.

Send Signals

Do not be too predictable when negotiating for a new vehicle, because that makes you an easy person to sway. Instead, let the salesperson know that you know what you want and when you want it. For example, if they tell you that they are taking your offer to the boss, you should not sit in the office and wait for them.

Instead, take a walk around the yard or engage in phone conversations as they talk. This may make them know that you are in a hurry, and so, they may want to complete the process faster. When they do it fast, the chances of your offer getting accepted will be high.

Make a Counter Offer

It is not unusual for the salesperson or the boss to reject your offer, but it does not also mean the end of the business. When they reject it, you should make a counteroffer. You should increase your offer by little amounts such as $250 until you get to an agreement.

As you make counter-offers, you should have the actual price of the vehicle in your mind. You can keep increasing until you get to that point because there is nothing you are losing anyway. However, if they want to go beyond the market value, you should not agree to their tricks.

Ask for a Breakdown of Fees

The total amount that you will pay for your vehicle ownership includes various costs that are not part of the price of the vehicle. You need to ask for information about these costs so that you know what you are paying for. Sometimes, you may be paying for something that you do not need.

Some common extra costs include the following:

  • Paint protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Anti-theft devices

Asking for a breakdown also ensures that you do not duplicate payments. For instance, you may be signing up for an insurance package that you already have. It is also important to have a written list of all the things that you are paying for.

Check the Gas Gauge Before Driving Away

At this point, you have already agreed and made a downpayment. You have also written and signed a contract, which makes you the new owner of the car. The only thing left is to confirm if the vehicle is what it should be.

One of the things that you should check is the gas gauge because new vehicles often come with a full tank. If the fuel level is below what you expect, you need an explanation from the seller. It could be because of various test drives, and you should agree on what to do.

Get Your First Car From a Reliable Dealer

Now that you have a complete checklist of all the things that you should do as a first-time car buyer, your next step is to find a dealer. Be sure to buy from genuine dealers who can assure you of finding the best cars. They should also help you find financing for the purchase.

You can read more detailed guides and checklists on our website.