When buying a car, even the most financially-prudent people seem to lose their head. It’s understandable though since you’re spoilt for choice with so many possibilities. But, failure to be financially savvy when buying a car can mean that you end up in a deep financial strain in the future. After all, what’s the point of owning a fancy car if you’re constantly stressed and worried about paying your bills?
Here’s a quick guide to help you make sound financial choices when you’re looking to buy a car.
Make A List of Your Needs
Notice how we mentioned “needs” and not “wants”. Many people tend to confuse the two. You need a fuel-efficient car, but you want a car with heated seats. One is a sensible need while the other is a non-essential want. Before you start looking at cars, make a list of your car needs. What are the things that you just can’t compromise on when it comes to your new car? Having a well thought out list will help you stay focused. When you know exactly what you need, you will be less likely to be swayed or distracted by attractive features that are basically-essential luxuries.
Narrow Down Your Car Brand Options
The market is flooded with so many different car brands. But only some of them offer maximum value for your money. Once you decide on your budget and what you need from a car, the next step should be to narrow down the car brand options. Do some research to find out which car brands offer you fuel-efficiency, resale value and just overall value for money.
Have A Clear Budget in Mind
Just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you should buy it. When deciding on a budget for your car, don’t stretch yourself. Give a lot of leeway for unforeseen expenses that might crop up on other areas of your life.The last thing you need is to buy a car that’s well over your affordability range & struggle with monthly repayments and a ridiculously long loan period.
Check the Car’s History
So, you’ve found the perfect car. It’s in great used condition & you’re getting it at a steal. But before you sign that cheque, do a quick car history check. All you need is the VIN number. This is a very crucial step that should not be skipped. There are a lot of websites that offer this service. For a small fee, you can have the car’s accident history and any other hidden faults it might have.
Have A Mechanic Inspect the Car Before Purchase
It’s a good idea to have a seasoned mechanic inspect the car before you buy it. For one, having an auto expert look at the car will help bring any unknown issues to the forefront. It is possible that the seller is not aware of some issues that the car has since the issues have not been obvious. But a mechanic will be able to point them out, which can help bring down the price or even change your mind about buying the car. And if a seller refuses to let a mechanic inspect the car, then you have to ask yourself, what are they hiding? Do you want to risk buying the car without inspection, only to find out it has some major issue post-purchase? Or do you want to walk away from such a risk?
Sell Your Old Car Before Buying A New One
Don’t wait till you find your perfect car before selling your old one in a hurry. Last-minute car sale means that there’s a high chance that you will settle for a lower price, just to be rid of the old car. It also means that, in your rush to close the deal, you’re more likely to enter into a sale with unreliable or dodgy buyers, who might try to scam you.So, make sure you sell your old car to a trustworthy car buyer who will pay you top dollars for your car before you start shopping for a new one. Even if it means that you will be without a car for a few days, it’s still worth it than getting scammed with a lowball offer for your car.
All the above-mentioned tips will help you make sound financial decisions when buying a car. A car is a pretty expensive purchase, so it pays to be careful & takes all the necessary precautions to ensure that you’re getting the best value for every dollar spent.