Is your current car on its last leg? Or do you need a larger vehicle now that your family is growing? Make sure you get a car you can afford and will be happy driving for a while.
- Determine your budget. Don’t just concentrate on the monthly payments. Think about the total cost of the car, including insurance, maintenance and fuel. How will this affect your overall budget? Many experts recommend spending no more than 25% of one’s monthly household income for all the cars in the household.
- Decide: new, certified pre-owned or used? Buy or lease? Which fits best for you and your needs? Leasing could allow for you to drive a nicer car for less. Leasing a car is similar to financing, but there are key differences. When you purchase a car, the loan value is based on the entire cost of the vehicle, minus your down payment and/or trade-in value. When leasing, you’re only financing the depreciation that occurs during the lease term, plus any fees that may be assessed. If you plan on keeping your car for a long time, buying is most likely the better option. When you buy, you own the car outright when the loan is paid off and as you pay down the loan you gain equity in the car as long as your payments outpace the depreciation.
- To get the best deal, do your homework. Look into pre-financing options, and shop-around. Knowledge is power. Resources such as Kelly Blue Book, Auto Trader, Consumer Reports and more all provide good information on cars including values, safety reports, features and more.
- Find out as much as possible about the car that interests you. Learn the invoice price and research all possible discounts available. Aim to reach an agreement that is close to the invoice price – the price that the dealer paid.
- Secure financing before you visit the dealer. Getting pre-approved before you go to the dealership will help put you in the driver’s seat when negotiating.
Buying a car is a big investment that can impact your budget for up to six years in some cases. Therefore, It’s important to take careful consideration when purchasing. Following these car buying tips will help get the best deal possible for you and your family.