7 Tips For First Time Car Buyers

Buying your first car should be exciting and bring you joy. Yet, for some people, this process can be intimidating. Even those who have purchased vehicles in the past may not feel completely comfortable during this process. That’s why we compiled a list that should help new and seasoned car buyers navigate through the car-buying journey.

young woman sitting in car at the dealership

1. Establishing A Budget

Everyone wants to purchase the car that best suits their needs and will be reliable and stylish. However, you need to first establish a realistic budget you can spend. It’s helpful to consider a car payment, car insurance, gas, and regular maintenance upkeep into your budget. Take a hard look at your current financial situation as well as your current debt to determine how much you can afford.

2. Financing Options

Unless you plan to purchase your car in full with cash you will want to consider how you are going to finance your vehicle. First, figure out how much you want to spend per month on your car payment. From here, you can figure out how big of a down payment you will need in order to accomplish that goal. We provide an easy to use calculator you can find HERE. Next, you will want to find out how you are going to finance your car. Launch provides an easy online application process you can find HERE. For A limited time, you can get .25% off* your qualified auto loan rate and 60 days deferred payments* at Launch FCU!

3. Car Needs

You will want to establish what you are looking for in a car. Do you want specific safety features? Perhaps you will be transporting several kids. If you think you will need a vehicle for transporting items such as during a move, try considering renting a moving van or borrowing a friends truck. Below are a few questions you should consider that will point you in the right direction.

  • What type of safety needs are you looking for?
  • Will you have a long or short commute?
  • Will you be driving on ice or snow?
  • Do you have enough room for all family members?
  • Will your pets be riding in the vehicle?
  • Will you be using your vehicle for work or to haul stuff?

4. Research

Researching is a step often overlooked when you may not know what vehicle you want or if you are in a hurry to buy a car. However, this is one of the most important steps. You will want to compare prices among different dealerships or private buyers. Other important factors include mileage and past car history. You can find important information such as accidents and number of owners using sites such as Carfax. Sites like Kelly Blue Book can help you comapre various car makes and models so you can easily choose the vehicle that’s right for you.

5. Test Drive

Sure, the car you have in mind may sound great on paper, but have you driven it yet? If the answer is no, you will want to find a dealership that offers the car you want and take it for a test drive. You will be able to see features such as the seat height, visibility and blind spots, vehicle layout, comfort, etc. Make sure you take the vehicle on the freeway and stop and go points to truly test if the car is for you.

6. Negotiate

Negotiating is often a process that we forget when purchasing a car. You will want to price shop and then negotiate with the sales person for the best price. You can use sites such as Kelly Blue Book or Edmonds to input vehicle information to find the true price of your car. Next, you can subtract 10% or even 20% off this price as a starting point for negotiating.

7. Bring Someone With You

It never hurts to bring someone along who has more knowledge in negotiating or buying vehicles. Even bringing someone who may not know either of these things can still help boost your self-esteem or give you the confidence you need to negotiate.

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