Feel Confident Before You Shop with This Helpful Advice
The car salesman stereotype is enough to alarm anyone looking to buy a vehicle.
And, unfortunately, that characterization has happened for a reason.
But for every greasy, dishonest car salesman, there are a bunch of ethical, helpful ones who want to get you a good deal on a vehicle you’ll love driving and owning. Before you search for “used or new car dealership near me,” ask your friends or family members for their recommendations.
Keep reading for more great advice if you’ve never purchased a vehicle before.
Find a Reputable Dealer
If you’re buying used, finding a car seller you can trust can be difficult. Many people opt to buy used cars from new car dealerships backed by major automakers.
Reputable dealers won’t force you into a bad deal on a vehicle. Their prices are fair — and you can check whether that’s the case by researching cars on Kelly Blue Book. They also won’t force you into getting financing at the dealership and will allow you to bring your own financing from the bank or credit union of your choice.
For any vehicle you consider at a dealership, you should be given access to a vehicle history report. Truly great car dealerships make these available on their website, linked in the listing of each vehicle for sale.
So, before you look at private car sales ads or sketchy car lots, consider shopping around at a Ford dealership, Honda dealership, or Volkswagen dealership first — or other automaker dealerships in your area.
Don’t Buy the First Vehicle You See
If only one or two vehicles for sale meet your needs, you shouldn’t feel pressured to make a purchase so early on in your search for a vehicle. Especially if you’re buying used, it’s unwise to buy the very first vehicle you test drive. In doing so, you’re limiting your options and making it difficult to make an informed decision about the best vehicle for you.
If you’re buying new, you should test drive a couple different models to get a feel for what you really like, especially if this is your first car. Vehicles are an investment and cost quite a lot of money. For most people, they’re one of the biggest purchases made in a lifetime.
For example, if you go to a car lot looking for a vehicle that gets great gas mileage, you might try a Volkswagen Jetta. Even if you love the Jetta, if your focus is on one specific detail, you should look at other vehicles that also offer what you’re looking for. If efficiency and savings at the gas pump are your top priorities, for example, you might also consider a VW electric car for sale — or the equivalent from the automaker of your choice.
Read the Sales Contract
If you’ve never purchased a vehicle before, then you probably aren’t completely familiar with the contents of a sales contract. It’s your job to sit at the salesperson’s desk for as long as it takes to make sure you understand every element of the contract you’re about to sign.
Ask the salesperson to fill in or cross out any blank spaces; both of you should initial this. If any sales clauses aren’t what you agreed upon, the salesperson should write in the correct statements; both of you should initial these, too. Ensure the price is correct and any promised warranties are included, as well.
First-time buyers should know to never, ever leave with a vehicle before both the buyer and the seller have completed the contract.
Buy an Insurance Policy
If you already know the make, model, and year of the vehicles you’re planning to test drive, you can call insurance companies in advance to get estimates for the cost of their premiums. The amount it costs to insure a vehicle can also help you decide which to purchase, as some are more expensive to insure than others.
After you’ve made your purchase, call the insurance agency you’d like to purchase a policy from, and get the policy set up. Most states require you to have liability insurance at a minimum; if you’ve financed your vehicle, you’ll probably need collision insurance as well. This combination is sometimes called “full coverage.” Even if you’ve paid for your vehicle entirely out of your pocket and don’t have a loan, full coverage is a great idea if you would be unable to afford to replace the vehicle should it be declared a total loss after a car accident.Finally, Be Patient
If you’ve been car shopping over the course of a couple weeks and still aren’t finding a vehicle you truly love, be patient! Don’t rush into making a purchase you’ll regret later.
Vehicles you’ve never seen before come up for sale all the time; your patience will pay off when you buy one that’s truly perfect for you.