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Taking the New Car Plunge: Things to Consider When Buying a New Car

My husband and I recently purchased a new vehicle. We had truly needed to upgrade one of our family cars, and mine was much older than his was. I wanted something roomy for travel, with a lot of trunk space, and space in the back seat for our children. I also knew that I wanted to keep driving a sedan. Ruling out the makes and models I knew I didn't want from the get-go was incredibly helpful in making the process smooth. If you're in the market for a new car, here's a quick guide that you you can follow to help you make it a quick and simple process.

#1 Shop Online

Yes, you'll need to visit the lot eventually, but for starters, look around online. This will show you what's currently available, and will give you the ability to apply parameters to your search. If you have very specific ideas about the type of car you want, the color, the mileage, extras, add all of those into your search for the best results. Search within your budget to see that you're not biting off more than you can handle financially.

#2 Scope Out Financing Options

One of the things that made the car-buying process incredibly quick for my husband and me was to select the exact car we were interested in online, and seek pre-approval for financing for that particular vehicle. Once we were pre-approved for a loan, that shaved a ton of time off of our actual car-buying time on site.

#3 Be Prepared to Make a Move (or Walk Away)

Since online inventory draws thousands more views by potential buyers, you'll want to have a plan in place and be prepared to move toward purchasing the vehicle you're interested in. If you like the car a lot, take time to head to the dealership and set up a test drive. If you fall in love with the vehicle after a test drive, be prepared to start the 'paperwork' to make the purchase happen. If you hesitate, there's a good chance the car you want might be purchased by someone else. On the flip side, if it turns out that the vehicle just isn't for you, be prepared to walk away and look at something else.

#4 Bring All Necessary Info

You don't need a ton of information to purchase a vehicle these days, and there are many dealerships which make the process incredibly simple so you have very little to do yourself. You'll need your driver's license, of course, your insurance information, possibly your banking info, finance plan, and you'll need money for your down payment.

#5 Don't Bite Off a Bigger Payment than You Can Handle

Taking on a car payment is no small task. It'll put a large dent into any household budget. Consider all of our monthly payments beforehand, and realistically select a payment plan that you can afford. You'll likely be offered extra protection and services that may add $1000.00 or more to your loan. You'll have to be the one to determine whether or not those services are truly needed. Sometimes it's nice to be able to have them just for peace of mind, if you can swing the additional cost overall.

The car buying process isn't something to be taken lightly, but it also doesn't have to be a scary thing. Just remember that the staff at the dealership is knowledgeable, and they're working for you, with the main goal to make you happy and comfortable. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

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