Your First Time Buying a Car – 7 Tips to Get the Best Deal

January 26, 2018Car Tips and Tricks
Madison Rogers

Born and raised in Houston Madison is a content writer who loves traveling. She has lived in different states and is always eager to share her knowledge with others.

The first time buying a car experience can be overwhelming. With a vast market of vehicles and numerous options for USA auto transport, it’s essential to be prepared to make an informed decision. Here are seven practical tips to help you navigate buying your first car and getting the best deal possible.

First Time Buying a Car? It’s Exciting and Important

Embarking on the journey of buying your first car is an exciting and important milestone. With plenty of options available for shipping cars in the USA, you need to make informed decisions at every step of the process.

First-time car buyers might overlook the transport of their newly acquired vehicle, especially if they’re purchasing from a distant location or need to relocate shortly after the purchase.

The benefits of car shipping become apparent when you consider the time and effort saved by avoiding long road trips and the potential wear and tear on your new car. Additionally, professional car shipping companies are equipped to handle various situations, including last-minute moves, ensuring your vehicle reaches its destination safely and on time.

By researching and understanding the different car shipping options available, you can make the most of your first-time car-buying experience while staying focused on the excitement of this important life event.

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#1 When Buying a Car for the First Time, Determine Your Budget

One of the most crucial steps in the first-time car buying process is determining a realistic budget that considers your income, expenses, and financial situation. While it’s easy to get carried away by the excitement of purchasing your first car, understanding the financial implications of your decision is essential.

Your budget should include not only the purchase price of the car but also additional costs such as registration, insurance, maintenance, and fuel. Furthermore, if you intend to ship your car after purchasing, you should factor in the fees of hiring an auto transport company.

Transporting cars from state to state can vary in cost depending on factors like distance, the size of the vehicle, and the time of the year, so be sure to include these expenses in your budget calculation.

Create a Realistic Budget Based on Your Income, Expenses, and Finances

Embarking on the journey of buying your first car is an exciting milestone, but you must establish a realistic budget before diving into the process.

Evaluate your monthly income and deduct your current expenses, such as rent, utilities, groceries, and other essential costs. This will give you a clear understanding of the amount you can comfortably allocate towards a car payment, insurance, and other related expenses.

#2 Research Your Options Well

When buying a car for the first time, one of the most crucial steps is to research your options well. To begin, determine what type of car you need. Do you need a car for commuting to work, for a family or for leisure, or something great to take you along the famous routes in the USA?

Living without a car may not be the American lifestyle, but if you move to a place with great public transportation, you won’t need to drive a lot. Make sure you also get a car that works well with public transport, so you can save it from wear and tear.

Look Into Different Car Models and Brands Before Deciding

Numerous car brands and models are available on the market, each with unique features and specifications. Consider factors like fuel efficiency, safety features, reliability, affordability, and resale value during research.

It’s also advisable to read online reviews, check out car forums, and consult with friends and family members who have experience with owning a car. Their tips may also help you become a better driver and learn more about managing driving stress.

Additionally, consider your budget and financing options. Determine how much you can afford to spend, including the down payment, monthly payments, insurance, and maintenance costs. Once you understand your budget, you can look for vehicles within your price range.

black Lexus car
Make sure the car brand you're looking into has everything you need

#3 Buying a Car First Time Means Deciding Between New and Used Cars

Buying cars from auctions, finding the right car dealerships, and researching the best import cars can all be overwhelming. Still, one of the crucial decisions you’ll have to make is to buy a new or used car. Each option has pros and cons, and it’s essential to consider them carefully before making your final decision.

The Pros and Cons of a New Car

New cars are usually the best cars for women since they have no underlying issues from past uses. Still, everyone knows used cars are much more affordable than new ones; but which one’s worth more? Here are the pros and cons of new cars.

The Pros:

  • Reliability – New cars come with a manufacturer’s warranty that provides peace of mind and protects you from unexpected repair costs,
  • Latest technology – New cars usually have the latest safety and technology features that may not be available in older models,
  • No wear and tear – Since new cars haven’t been used, they have no wear and tear, and you can expect them to be in excellent condition.

The Cons:

  • Depreciation – New cars depreciate rapidly in value as soon as you drive them off the lot. This means you can lose a lot of money if you decide to sell it in the future,
  • High cost – New cars are more expensive than used ones, and you may need to take out a car loan or pay a higher down payment,
  • Insurance costs – New cars usually require higher insurance premiums due to their high value.

The Pros and Cons of a Used Car

Buying a used car makes sense if you want to save money, but it’s not great if you aren’t mechanically savvy. Used cars may also require more repairs and fixups.

The Pros:

  • Lower cost – Used cars are generally less expensive than new cars, and you may be able to find a good deal on a used car within your budget,
  • Less depreciation – Used cars have already gone through the initial depreciation period, meaning their value may not decrease as much,
  • Lower insurance costs – Used cars typically have lower insurance premiums than new cars due to their lower value.

The Cons:

  • Potential repairs – Used cars may require repairs due to wear and tear, and the costs add up over time,
  • No warranty – Used cars may not have a manufacturer’s warranty, meaning you’ll be responsible for repairs or maintenance costs,
  • Unknown history – Used cars may have a history of accidents or damage not evident at first glance, so it’s essential to have the car inspected before purchasing it.

In the video below, car expert Scotty Kilmer advises on car dealerships and explains which ones are great to shop for used cars. It may boost you in finding a car. He also discusses the most recent Carvana lawsuit and losses.

YouTube video

#4 Get Preapproved for a Car Loan

One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a good deal on a car loan is to get preapproved before you start shopping. This involves applying for a loan with a lender before you visit a dealership or private seller. The lender will evaluate your credit score, income, and other financial factors to determine how much money they want to lend you and at what interest rate.

Getting preapproved for a car loan has several benefits. Firstly, it can help you determine your budget for buying a car. Once you know how much money you can borrow, you can start shopping for a car within your budget. This can save you time and prevent you from overspending.

Secondly, getting preapproved can help you negotiate with dealerships or private sellers. If you’re preapproved for a loan, you have more bargaining power when negotiating the price of the car. You can use your preapproval as leverage to get a better deal on the car you want.

If you’re considering buying a car with a salvage title, getting preapproved for a car loan is even more crucial. Salvage title cars are typically priced lower than cars with clean titles, but they may also require more repairs and maintenance. By getting preapproved, you can ensure you have enough money to cover the cost of repairs and avoid going over your budget.

Likewise, if you’re buying a family car, getting preapproved can help you get the best deal on a car loan. Family cars are typically bigger and more expensive than other car types, so having a preapproval can help you avoid overextending your finances.

person buying a car
Getting a good car loan will help you venture out and get a better deal

#5 Negotiate the Price With Your Car Dealer

When buying a car for the first time, negotiating the price with your car dealer can be intimidating. However, it’s a crucial step in car buying and can save you a lot of money. To be more successful in your purchase and negotiations, read tips for getting the best possible price.

Tips for Negotiating the Best Possible Price

Before negotiating, research the make and model of the car you want, including the average price range. This will give you a good idea of what to expect. You can also use online resources to find out what to do with a totaled car or how to properly dispose of a car battery.

Other great tips include:

  • Be willing to walk away – If the dealer won’t meet your price, get ready to walk away. Plenty of other dealerships and private sellers may be willing to sell the same car for a better price,
  • Negotiate in person – Negotiating in person can be more effective than negotiating over the phone or via email. You can gauge the dealer’s willingness to negotiate and use nonverbal cues to your advantage,
  • Don’t reveal your hand – Don’t reveal your maximum budget or what you’re willing to pay until you’ve negotiated the best possible price,
  • Be aware of add-ons – Dealers may try to sell you additional features or services you may not need, such as extended warranties or car detailing. Be aware of these add-ons and negotiate for only what you need,
  • Be firm but polite – Negotiating can be stressful; try to remain firm but polite. Don’t be aggressive or confrontational, as this can harm the negotiation process.

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#6 Consider Additional Costs

Considering additional costs beyond the purchase price is another crucial point when buying a car. These can add up quickly and impact your budget. For example, If you live in a city, you may need to pay for parking or tolls, which can add up over time.

When choosing a car for city driving, it’s essential to consider its size and maneuverability to ensure you can park it quickly and avoid fines.

Similarly, If you’re looking for the best off-road vehicle, consider the additional costs of off-roading, such as specialized tires, extra equipment, and maintenance. These costs can add up quickly and impact your budget.

What Do Additional Costs Include?

Besides the purchase price, additional costs of buying and maintaining both classic and modern cars often include the following:

  • Registration and taxes – Be prepared for additional expenses such as registration fees, sales tax, and any other applicable fees in your state,
  • Insurance – Car insurance is a legal requirement in most states, and the cost can vary depending on the car you choose. Insurance rates are typically higher for luxury cars, sports cars, and SUVs,
  • Maintenance and repairs – Cars require regular maintenance, including oil changes, tire rotations, and brake services. Additionally, plan for unexpected repair costs that may arise,
  • Fuel expenses – The fuel costs can vary depending on your chosen vehicle, with larger cars typically consuming more fuel. When choosing a car, consider its fuel efficiency,
  • Additional features – If you’re considering adding features like extended warranties, security systems, or other accessories, include their costs in your budget.

#7 Take Care of the Paperwork

To organize important documents related to car shopping, it’s helpful to create a folder or file to store all paperwork related to the purchase. This can help you stay organized and ensure you have all of the necessary documents on hand.

In summary, taking care of the paperwork is essential when buying a car for the first time. Important papers include the vehicle title, bill of sale, registration, insurance, warranty, and car bill of lading.

Which Papers Are Important?

One of the essential papers when shopping for a car, whether used or new, includes the vehicle title. This legal document proves car ownership, so you must ensure the seller has a clear title before purchasing the car. Additionally, you’ll need to transfer the title to your name afterward.

Next is the bill of sale, outlining the sale details, including the price, payment method, and any warranties or promises made by the seller. Always have a copy of the bill of sale for your records.

Car registration is a legal requirement in most states and must be renewed annually. Make sure the car is registered in your name after purchasing it. Next to registration, car insurance is a legal requirement in most states.

Make sure you have insurance before driving the car. Shop around for the best rates, especially for young drivers with possibly higher insurance premiums. If the car comes with a warranty, keep a copy of the documents for future reference.

Finally, the car bill of lading outlines the car’s shipment details and delivery. Keep a copy of the bill of lading if you’re purchasing a vehicle from another state or country.

Papers on a table
Your paperwork should be spotless when you buy a new car

To Preserve Your New Car, Call a Car Shipping Company to Help You Move

To ensure your new car stays in excellent condition, consider hiring a car shipping company to help you move it. Car shipping companies offer various services, including enclosed auto transport and often open trailer transport, to help ship your vehicle safely and securely.

When choosing a car shipping company, you should also read auto transport reviews to find a reputable and reliable company. Additionally, consider the company’s long-distance moving services, door-to-door auto transport, terminal-to-terminal car shipping, and insurance options to protect your car during the move.

We at USA Auto Transport offer various car shipping services to help you move your car safely and affordably. Our team of experienced professionals will ensure your vehicle arrives at its destination in excellent condition, and we offer insurance options for added peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions About the First Time Buying a Car

How Do I Know If a Car Is Right for Me?

To find out if a car is right for you, consider your budget, lifestyle, and transportation needs. Research the make and model, take it for a test drive, and read reviews from other buyers.

Should I Buy or Lease My First Car?

Buying a car allows you to own it outright, while leasing offers lower monthly payments and the ability to upgrade to a new car every few years. Consider your budget and long-term goals when making this decision.

How Should I Finance My First Car?

Financing options for purchasing vehicles include car loans, credit cards, and personal loans. For the best deals, get rates and terms from different lenders to find the best option for your budget.

Is It Better to Buy From an Individual Seller or a Dealership?

Buying from a dealership offers more legal protections and financing options, while buying from an individual seller may be cheaper; that’s all up to the dealers in your area. Consider the risks and benefits of each option before deciding.

Is It Better to Buy a New or Used Car?

A new car offers the latest features and reliability and requires fewer repairs. A used car may be more affordable, although tougher to maintain. Consider your budget and transportation needs when making this decision.

How Much Should I Budget for My First Car?

How much you spend depends on your budget, preferences, and availability of cars in your area. Besides, you should consider the cost of insurance, maintenance, and other additional costs.

What Should I Do if Something Goes Wrong With My Car After Purchase?

Depending on the issue, you may need to contact the seller, manufacturer, or repair shop. This could be related to many things, but it’s best to check your warranty and any legal protections you may have after purchase.

Should I Buy an Extended Warranty for My First Car?

Extended warranties can provide additional coverage for repairs, but they may not be necessary for all cars. Consider the cost and likelihood of needing repairs, which could increase the need for an extended warranty or other vital documentation.

How Can I Find the Best Deals and Discounts on Cars?

The best way to get great prices, research the make and model of the car, compare prices from different sellers, and look for sales and promotions. All these factors are crucial in making good decisions.

Should I Get Gap Insurance for My First Car?

Gap insurance can cover the difference between the car’s value and what you owe if it’s totaled or stolen. Consider the cost and your financial situation when making this decision.

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