Remember the time when you finally decided to take the big leap, and cruise over to the car dealership for the first time? Next thing you know you’re sitting for hours and hours and HOURS and HOURS…then maybe you even went home to think about it over night. Only to return the next day for another hour or so, then whisked into the magical office where you sign your life away? *sigh* Good times.
Well, my first time was similar to this except…I had the great guidance of my good ole dad. And let me tell ya, just ASKING for help is the first step. But I digress. As a 19 year old with my first job, and my newly established credit profile I was so excited when I pulled off of the lot in my 2008 Chevrolet Impala. So, how did I do it? Below are a few tips for buying your first car.
- Do your research. Find a car that is dependable, affordable and built to last. The best place to look is Cars.com. Be sure to check out their website where you can search for the make and model of the car that you’d prefer, as well as the dealership of your choice. The results can be filtered by a multitudes of things like location and price. Of course we all love the new Mercedes, but imagine the cost of the maintenance on that thing. (it’s borderline ridiculous just for the parts alone, lets not get into the labor.) Once you’ve picked a car, decide on an area to purchase from. Here in the DMV there are a slew of dealerships in the Northern Virginia area with a-MAZING deals. I like to price cars online FIRST and then go to the dealerships to test ’em out.
- Get a preapproval. I am a blogger by night, and a loan processor by day. So lets get to the nitty gritty with the loan preapproval process. *cracks knuckles*. One of the best places to begin is with your financial institution, preferably a credit union. Why? They typically offer the lowest rates. New car rates can be in the 1%-2% range. Credit Unions also are a little more lenient at times with credit worthiness, if you’ve been a dedicated member for some time. The preapproval will also guarantee that the dealerships won’t run your credit through multiple financial institutions, causing multiple dings on your report…these “hard inquiries” will impact your score negatively EACH time.
- Okay, you’ve done your research, you’ve been preapproved, what’s next? It’s time to head to the dealership. This is your first car, BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU! I have brought my dad to the dealership every time I’ve purchased a car. For one he knows how to negotiate with the salesmen (it’s a super aggressive language, trust me.), and also he knows a thing or two about cars. This is your first BIG purchase, so I suggest having a person there who can assist you with making a smart decision.
- Please protect your vehicle. Don’t stop at insurance. Look into products such as GAP and Extended Warranties. While the dealership will offer it to you, most of the time your financial institution will have it as well. Compare prices and ensure that it’s beneficial in comparison to the contract length (i.e. up to 100,000 miles or 3 years etc.)
Hopefully the shopping process will be rewarding and exciting. Feel free to shoot me any questions about purchasing your first car: feleciamoniqueblog.com. And GOOD LUCK!