January 2nd, 2014
Driving away with a new car can be a thrilling experience, and for many, there's nothing like that new-car smell. Unfortunately, the buying process can take some time and can leave many spending more than they hoped if they don't go in with a plan. To make the process a little easier, here is a car-buying checklist of things to consider before making a purchase.
Prepare at home
Before you even head to the dealership, it's important to take time to do a little research. You want to determine what type of car is right for you and how much you want to spend. To find a car in your price range, the Internet is your best friend. You can look up the average cost of a vehicle, read consumer reviews and pick out what type of features you may want. Having some idea of how much a certain model will cost can help when you are in the dealership and negotiating terms. In the preparation stage, you can also work on fun features like the color or type of seating you want. Make a list of features that are most important in your new car and bring that to the dealership with you.
When you have a list of features you are looking for in a car, be prepared that you may not find everything in a single model. When this happens, car dealers will often offer optional packages that can provide additional features. Be wary of these packages, as you could end up overspending for several features when all you're really looking for is just one. In that case, you might be better off going for a single feature instead of shelling out for a package.
While not everyone will think about the resale value when buying a new car, it is an important factor to consider. New cars lose value the moment they are driven off the lot and will continue to depreciate quickly in the first three years. For this reason, many consider new cars to be a bad investment and may opt to purchase used. Whatever route you take, be sure to consider the resale value later on. Hybrids and cars with green features like efficient gas mileage may have a better resale value, but they could cost more initially. Consider the purchase value against an estimated resale value to make a decision.
When getting a new car, you should look into the costs of auto insurance. It's not just your driving record and credit score that determine how much you will have to pay per month in car insurance; the type of vehicle you drive will also have some contribution. To save money on monthly premiums, opt for a car with great safety features and parts that are easy and affordable to replace. While hybrids might be more efficient, they can often cost more in insurance due to their specialized parts.