How to Buy a Car for the First Time

Car for the First Time


The first time buying a car for the first time can be a scary process. Even if you are a veteran car buyer, there are a lot of factors and fears that come up that can make the experience stressful. The salespeople at the lot tend to be pushy, and never actually listen to what you are saying, you have to deal with credit scores and interest rates, and in the end, you have a financial burden that you just hope you don’t hate. 

While car buying can be stressful, if planned well, it doesn’t have to be that bad. While it might not alleviate all the stress of making a huge financial decision, these factors can help you stay focused on buying the car you need within your budget. 

Budgeting for a Car for the first time 

The price of the car is just one aspect of looking for a car. Before planning your budget for what you can afford, keep in mind you will have other costs on top of just the sticker price. There is a great article on avoiding costly mistakes when buying a car here. It is easy to see the price of the car and commit, when the cost of financing will end up being more than you expected. Before you secure financing, read the fine print for the loan. The interest rates on your loan is where most of your money will go if you aren’t paying attention to those details. 

People tend to underestimate the prices of upkeep of a car and get overwhelmed when the car ends up costing more than they expected. Some things to consider and plan for when you are considering a car purchase is: 

  • Gas
  • Car Insurance 
  • Registration
  • Inspections (if your state requires them) 
  • Regular Upkeep (oil changes, tire rotations, etc.) 
  • Unforeseen Car Repairs
  • Parking
  • Tolls

If you want to get the best for your financing, make sure you come in prepared to make a down payment. The more money you can put down up front, the lower the monthly payments will be, which in turn means less interest. A shorter loan duration can save you money in the long run. While a seven-year loan will lower your monthly payments, the interest will accrue, and you will end up spending more money than if you took a shorter plan. 

It also helps to get pre-approved for a loan before you walk onto a lot. This helps you stay focused on the budget you have set for yourself, before the salesperson comes to distract you with newer, shinier models. The dealer may also jack up the interest rates while you are on the lot, getting pre-approved will eliminate that possibility. 

Researching A Car 

It is vital to research what type of car you want before you purchase one. Buying a car is a long-term investment that will directly impact your daily life. You don’t want to end up hating your new car. Putting the effort in before you get to the lot can help you be ready for the salesperson. They will be trying to push you into spending the most money on stuff you might not need or want. If you take the time to research before-hand, you hold the power in the buyer/seller relationship. 


Before you start, it helps to determine what you need the car for. Is it going to be a daily commuter, a road-tripping vehicle, or just something fun to take off-roading? Determining the use of the car is the first step and will directly impact what vehicles you end up looking at. For example, if you end up carrying a lot of stuff around, go ahead and cross any sedans off the list of cars to look at. As you imagine using your vehicle every day, try and imagine what kind of activities you will be doing and what kind of loads you will be carrying. If you like to hang out with your friends, make sure it has plenty of seating. 


Next, you get to determine what kind of car you want. This can include any added features that you find important. As you go about searching for the right car, these features can be negotiable. If you create a list of your wants versus your needs, you will be able to stay focused on the important things as you search. For example, you might want the car to be red, but that might not be a need, so if you find the perfect car in blue, that car can still be a viable option. 


Once you have narrowed down your wants and needs, finding reviews of the cars can help make your decisions easier. For example, this site, which shows reviews of cars, can help you find the right car based on that list of needs and wants. There are certain things you want to know about the type of car you plan on getting, before you purchase. The most important is its safety rating. You also want to consider common repairs needed, and how much those repairs cost. 


Buying Your Car

Buying a car doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. Owning a car for the first time can provide a sense of freedom you might not have felt before. It is an incredible feeling being able to pick up your keys and head out on the road. It can faster transport to work, school, even the grocery store, saving you precious time better spent elsewhere. 

When you are ready to buy your car, find a reputable dealership. When you walk in, be ready with your wants and needs, and armed with all your research. If you feel pressured by your salesperson, you can always walk away. They need you just as much as you need them, so if the dynamic isn’t working for you, get out of there. 

Be prepared to take your time at the dealership and be ready to search a few dealerships throughout the day. Now you can do most of your car shopping online, so if that is easier, spend more time online finding your car and going straight there. However, the paperwork involved with buying a car can be time-consuming. You can check for some great tips on what not to do when buying a car. Once you have gone through the process and signed all the paperwork, you get to drive off with your new, dream car. 

If you spend the time preparing, it can limit a lot of your stress. Be prepared to feel some anxiety, it is a big purchase, but if you are confident in what you want, it could be one of the best decisions of your life. 


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