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Tips for Buying Your First Car

Buying a car for the first time can be daunting. Even the most experienced car buyer is often filled with uncertainty and the sheer number of makes and models available in the marketplace can make finding the perfect car tough. In order to help first time car buyers we have put together a few tips to help you find the best car for your needs and budget.

Be Realistic About Your Budget – Setting a realistic budget is probably the most important decision you will make when buying a new car. It can be easy to end up in a car that you can’t really afford if you are not careful. Stick to the basics, while a sports car may be more fun to drive, a low budget sedan is more affordable. Set a monthly amount that fits into your budget. When deciding on a car payment be sure to include all costs, insurance, fuel and maintenance must be factored in to the total payment.

Decide What Kind of Car You Need – Are you heading up to the mountains every weekend or do you spend most of your time circling the block looking for a parking spot? The kind of driving that you do on a daily basis should be considered when picking a car.  A small car can be easier to park and less expensive to insurance and maintain. However if you spend a lot of time in the snow and need to haul things, a truck or SUV may be the best solution.

Make a List – It is a good idea to make a list of features that you want in a new car. Go wild when you make your list because you are then going to prioritize it. Once you have all of your dream features listed it is time to break them into must-haves, would be nice, and probably just a dream categories. Put safety issues higher on your list than convenience factors, you are better off with anti-lock brakes than heated seats. Once you have your list prioritized its time to match it up with the perfect car.

Research – You will probably be driving this first car for at least a few years so make sure that you research it thoroughly. There are tons of websites that offer reviews, and information about all the makes and models available including used vehicles. You can find pricing information as well as details on trim levels and safety features. Read reviews from both professionals and owners. Make a short list of cars you want to test drive.

Test Drive Your Short List – Get out to your local dealer and test drive the cars on your list. The test drive is key and will probably be one of the biggest factors in your decision. Drive each car you are considering for a reasonable amount of time, get out on the highway, and drive in the city in order to get a real feel for the car. Pay attention to the layout of the controls and visibility. This is a big purchase so make sure you take the time to drive the car.

Get a Total Price – If you are ready to start negotiations be sure to get an insurance quote before you sign on the dotted line. There are some vehicles that will be much more expensive to insure than you might imagine. Cars that are favored by street racers or are often modified are examples. You don’t want to sign on the dotted line and then find out that insurance costs push the car out of your budget. If everything falls in budget, work with the dealer to agree on a price. Shop the vehicle around to numerous dealers to get the best price or lease deal.

Buying a car for the first time can be a challenge but if you are prepared and do your homework you are sure to find the best car for you.