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The Brief and Only First Time Car Buyer Checklist You’ll Ever Need


The Brief and Only First Time Car Buyer Checklist You’ll Ever Need

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Did you know that approximately 17 million new cars and trucks are sold each year?

There are many reasons people buy a car. Some need it for transportation to and from work, others like to collect and store them for car shows and drive-ins.

Regardless of your reasons for getting one, if you’re a first time car buyer, you’ll need to know a few things about the process.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

Buying a Brand New Car

There are many steps to buying a brand new car. The first starts with researching the configuration (trim level) and car color you want.

Once you know the car you want, it’s wise to run a quick price check to find out the average cost people in your area spent on cars of the same model. Websites like Kelley Blue Book or True Car are great resources for this part of the process.

After you’ve got an idea of how much your dream first car costs, take a look around at deals in your area. Some dealerships offer lower interest financing, discounts, and even cash back.

Once you’ve found the dealerships with the best incentives, take a look at their inventory, find your car, and write down the VIN (vehicle identification number) or stock number.

After you’ve figured out which dealerships have the car you’re looking for in stock, run a quick credit check on yourself. This provides insight into the financing and interest rates you’ll pay.

When it comes to financing you have two options: preapproved financing or dealership financing. It’s recommended that first-time buyers enter a car dealership with a preapproved loan at specific rates. This helps prevent new car buyers from getting schemed into paying higher interest rates by the dealership.

Having the preapproval doesn’t obligate you to commit, think of it more as a bargaining piece to ensure you get the best rates.

When You’re at the Dealership

Once you’ve got all of the research done, you’re ready to head to the dealership. Before arriving, be sure to have these things:

  • Driver’s License
  • Insurance Card
  • Down Payment
  • Loan Preapproval (Recommended)

Once you’ve arrived, let the salesman know the car you’re interested in and that you’d like to take it for a test drive.

During the drive, assess whether the car is a true fit for you. If it is, submit an offer to the salesman that is at least $1,500 below market value.

This gives you plenty of room for all of the upselling you’ll encounter. As you and the salesman negotiate, raise your offer by 0-300 until an agreement is reached.

If you find that you’ve gone over market value, use your own discretion to determine how much you’re willing to pay for the vehicle. If a salesman is being overly greedy with prices, don’t be afraid to inform them that you’ve done your research or ask to speak with a manager.

Once you’ve agreed on a price, congratulations! All that’s left is for you to do is receive a full price breakdown, sign a contract, and leave the lot. Before leaving the lot, make sure you have car insurance. If you are in a car accident upon leaving the dealership— which does happen— check out this blog for tips about choosing the right car accident attorney for you.

Tips for a First Time Car Buyer

Now you have all the information you need as a first time car buyer. Remember to establish your budget early in the process and don’t forget the test drive!

For more information about vehicle ownership, check out our blog. We have tons of articles centered around the automotive industry and driver safety that you’ll love!