Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases we’re ever likely to make, perhaps second only to purchasing a house. It’s an expensive business! So what can we do to make sure we get value for our money? I’ve put together some top tips to help.
Top tips for buying a car
Do your research. It’s so important to look into the type of car that will actually work for you as a family. For us, as a family of five, we needed a car that would comfortably fit us all in and have extra space for when we go on holiday and take my Mum with us. We needed a reliable car too, something that we would easily be able to source parts for if it broke down. Researching online is a great place to start, there’s so much information out there! A website such as Cars.com is a really useful place to start.
Know your budget. Before you can even think about actually going out and looking at cars, you need to know your budget. How are you going to pay for it? Don’t stretch yourself financially just to get the latest model, be practical. You don’t want to be lumbered with huge loan repayments and extortionate interest rates for the next few years. Consider whether you can afford to pay cash upfront. It’s also important to remember additional expenses such as road tax, insurance and petrol costs. Think about how economic your chosen car is. Do your research.
Shop around. You need to be sure that you’re getting the best deal. This is true for both the actual car you’re buying and the way you’re going to pay for it. Shop around a few dealers and make sure you’re not being ripped off. Research the model you’re looking at online so that you have a good idea you’re not being quoted too much. Also, if you are taking out a loan, shop around for the best rate. If you’re buying from a dealer, then the chances are that their rate won’t be the best.
Test a few cars. It can be so tempting to just go for the first car you see. But it’s definitely worth taking a few different cars out for a test drive if you can, before making a commitment. If you’re downsizing, you need to make sure you still have enough head room, and leg room in the back for passengers. It’s a good idea to take somebody along with you so you can get a real feel for the car. If you’re looking at an MPV, try maneuvering the seats up and down, consider how this impacts on the space in the boot and the rest of the car.
Prioritise. You may need to be a little picky about your priorities. Think about what you actually NEED from this car rather than features you want. If you need extra seats and better fuel economy for example, then make sure they’re your priorities. It might help to make a list of what you need before you start looking at cars.
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