Let’s begin with a well-earned pat on the back. Congratulations, you’ve reached a major milestone in your life — you’ve saved up enough for you to be able to buy your first car! What an exciting time to be alive! The excitement is real and emotions are high. But in the same way that the hot brunette across the street from your house may not be the one for you, the same thing could be said for that sports car you’ve always wanted to buy. Because if there’s one universal unwritten rule, it’s that emotions have no place when you’re about to make a major purchase. There’s a reason that our heads are situated above our hearts, both anatomically and metaphorically. As creatures of logic, we need to overcome our impulses in order to make wise decisions. These are the most important things you have to think about when shopping for your first car:
1. Price Now, this is always the first thing to consider. You don’t want to spend your entire budget on the car itself. You need to factor in potential repairs, maintenance expenses, insurance, and fuel.
2. Practicality This basically means that you need to determine what you need and to match your vehicle accordingly. Do you relocate a lot? Then an RV would be a much better choice over that 2-door sedan that you were eyeing. You also need to choose between a diesel vs gas RV. Are you able to drive with a stick shift? Is the weather appropriate for your vehicle of choice? All these things will need to factor into your decision.
3. Research The best decisions are based on the best information. This is true in war, and it’s true in life. You need to know everything about a particular model — what its common defects are, what its current market value is, as well as the availability and affordability of replacement parts.
4. Test Drive If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations. You get to take the car out for a test drive. This is the part when you truly find out if you like how a car handles, how the shifting really feels, and if there are any hidden mechanical issues. The test drive will always be the final test to determine if you want to buy a car or not.
5. Negotiation This is the final step in purchasing a car. And this also means that for the dealer, it’s his last chance to earn extra commission. The reason why research is so important is because you can easily detect when a dealer is trying to one-up you. You can confidently say that a car is overpriced — just make sure that it really is overpriced. The knowledge will give you leverage for negotiation. Just make sure to avoid opting for any of the dealership-offered upgrades as the majority of these already come in a stock configuration or they’re offered elsewhere for a significantly lower price.
Now, always remember to keep your wits about you. Never let the excitement of buying your first car get to your head. Stay calm and maintain composure as you would when you’re buying a sandwich from your not-so-favorite hotdog stand.