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The Ultimate Checklist for First-Time Car Buyers

Buying a car is a big financial investment that appeals to those who are embarking upon adulthood. Doing proper research is essential, especially if you are buying a car for the first time, or generally making a big investment for the first time in your life. To avoid stress and confusion, a checklist with all the essential needs and wants you might have will narrow down your options until you reach a purchase you are satisfied with.

Know Your Budget

Creating a budget is the first step that must be thoroughly considered before any big investment, especially if it is your first car. Setting a suitable budget will help you narrow down your search pool for cars within your price range before you get attached to a car that will break the bank. Creating a budget depends on calculating your monthly income vs. your monthly expenses. Make sure to include fixed costs, such as the rent and monthly bills, along with variable costs – take-outs or going shopping for new clothes. These calculations will give you an idea of the amount of money you can afford to leave on the side for your car funds. The golden rule is to leave only 10% or less of your monthly income for car payments. Ensure to include in that 10% any additional car costs, such as gas money, insurance, and possible repairs.

Decide on New or Used

Starting with the big questions will narrow down your search and will consequently help in reaching the right fit for you with more accuracy and speed. Start by deciding whether you want a used or a new car. To make the right decision, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option. For starters, think about your budget. While used cars might initially cost less, they still might end up accumulating repair and maintenance costs. But if your heart is set on choosing a used car, car experts at recommend pulling up all the information you can get about the car you have your eyes on. Knowing the car history will make it much easier to make a calculated decision. If you want a new car, then begin scrolling down the options within your budget to limit the options you have to choose from.

Choose a Brand

Some people might already have their hearts set on a certain brand due to positive feedback they might have constantly heard. However, there are some people who are completely lost when it comes to deciding on the car brand they should go for. Thanks to the internet, we can now find answers to our questions with just a few clicks. Take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of available reviews online to get an idea of what to steer clear from and the most trusted brands. Make sure to take your time when you are sorting between different brands. Pay attention to their durability, the availability of their replacement parts, and the frequency for needed repairs. After you have narrowed your search between two or three brands, you can begin sorting between models that attract your attention.

Stay Practical

When you are buying your first car, you might find yourself getting blindsided by the design and the color of different cool-looking cars. The important thing to consider when you are doing your research is practicality. You should prioritize practicality before designs and looks; you must determine why you need the car and how often you will use it. Factors such as daily commute, the number of people who will regularly use the car, and the amount of cargo you are planning on lugging will give you an idea of what models to consider in your search.

Find the Right Dealership

After going through your checklist, you should have an idea of the cars that are suitable for your needs; this is when you should start looking for the best dealership. The important thing to note is that not all dealers are created equal. Some dealers offer better services, and some dealerships excel at having better inventory than others. Going through different reviews available online in your search for the best dealership is extremely crucial to avoid bad dealerships. Before randomly showing up to different dealers and beginning to browse, make sure to confirm that the model you have in mind is available.

Another thing to make sure of is whether the dealership you are considering offers test drives. Without a test drive for a first-time car buyer, it is impossible to assess whether the car will be suitable for them or not. The internet should be your trusted friend throughout the whole process of buying. Just by a simple search, you can find a better deal, so make sure to do your research before starting your dealership hunt.

When you are considering any big investment, it is essential that you take enough time to research all the aspects that go into the equation before making any final decision. Make sure to start by calculating your budget. It will save you a lot of time as it will give you an idea of the price range you should be searching for. After calculating the amount of money, you can spare every month on your car payment, repairs, and gas, start exploring different brands and models you find interesting. Following a checklist that includes all the important factors, one must consider before making the purchase will reduce the chances of a regretful decision later.


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