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Buying your first car is a big deal, and it takes a lot of preparation beforehand. Such an expensive purchase shouldn’t be entered into lightly, and it’s important to remember that the amount of the car itself is only the beginning of your expenses; there’s also insurance, maintenance, and gas to think about.
The key is to sit down before you go shopping and think about what your needs will be. If you live in a big city with reliable public transportation, you might not need a vehicle very often. If you live far from work and will have to commute every day, you’ll want a car that can handle lots of mileage and has good safety features. KilGO Insurance Agency shares some of the best tips on how to buy your first car and get the best deal for your needs.
Create a Budget
The first thing to do is to sit down and work out a budget. If you’ve been saving up money for a down payment, you’ll need to make sure you can put down at least 20 percent of the total price of the car you choose. If not, you’ll end up paying a lot more than the car is worth when all is said and done. After that, you’ll need to look at your monthly expenses and make sure that you’ll be able to make your car payment, insurance, and estimated gas expenses without breaking the bank. Be generous with your estimates to ensure you won’t find yourself struggling to pay for your needs.
Give Yourself the Upper Hand
Start your car-buying trip right by going when you’ll have an advantage. U.S. News & World Report notes that knowing when to buy can save you thousands. The end of summer, the end of December, and the end of any month are great times to shop for a car because dealerships introducing new models and incentives or trying to finish their year off strong; salespeople are usually a bit more lenient and will be more apt to give you a good deal at the end of the month, when they need to meet their sales quota.
Buying Used? Do Your Homework
If you decide to buy a used car – whether it’s from a lot or from an individual – get a Carfax report first, which can tell you whether the car was ever in an accident, among other things. This way, you’ll be prepared for negotiations when the time comes to buy. It’s also a good idea to have a mechanic’s shop check out the car you are interested in to see if there are any major issues or concerns.
If you’re mechanically inclined, you can perform some of the repairs yourself. Replacing the brakes or rotors is one possibility. Cars.com recommends first assessing the issue before starting in on the project, however, as today’s braking systems are more complex than yesteryear’s brakes, which you could easily swap out.
Don’t Forget Your Insurance
In addition to a car payment, maintenance, and fuel, you’ll also need to budget for car insurance. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding what type of coverage you’ll need, so it’s important to know this information beforehand. Also, do some research into the various companies and what they offer to ensure you’re getting a great policy that covers precisely what you need. KilGO Insurance Agency can help get you covered.
It’s important to ask a lot of questions when buying a car, especially if you’re financing it. Don’t leave the lot without feeling comfortable with the terms of your contract, and make sure you understand everything you sign. It’s a lengthy process, but it’s necessary to be well informed so you won’t have a nasty surprise later down the road