Before you ever step into a dealership or begin to talk to a private seller, your budget should be set. Consider all of the costs involved in both purchasing the car, and maintaining it. Contact your insurance agent to estimate insurance costs, check with the Department of Motor Vehicles to find out vehicle registration costs, and if you are financing, consider how much you can afford for a monthly payment. If you’re trading in a vehicle, researching its value using a resource such as the Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds can help you to establish how much your old vehicle may be worth. UHCU can help you figure out your budget as well.
Choose the Car Type
Now that you have an idea of how much you may be able to spend on a car, you’ll need to consider the type of car that you’d like. Because most Americans keep their cars for about six years, consider what your needs may be in that time. Are you planning on expanding your family or perhaps retiring? Consider checking for safety features and recalls that may have been issued for the make and models that are of interest to you.
Once you have an idea of how much you’d like to spend and what type of auto you are interested in buying, it’s time to get pre-qualified for a loan. United Heritage Credit Union offers auto loans that can be pre-qualified in as little as an hour in many cases, so you can have an offer in hand before you ever set foot in a dealership! Our Loan Specialists are ready to help you get the auto loan that best fits your needs. Click here to apply now.
Find and Test Drive
At this point, you should have a good idea of the car you’re interested in buying. To find the type of car you’re interested in, you can use car search websites and tools. You can also visit websites of dealerships to view their current inventories. For dealerships, it is a good idea to call ahead to make sure the car is still available for purchase. For the best possible deal, ask for the Internet or fleet salesperson, and deal with them directly. It’s a good idea to schedule a test drive before going to the dealership. If possible, go early in the week and earlier in the day to avoid crowds. When driving, make sure that you test the car in situations that are similar to your average trip. For example, if you regularly use a highway to commute to work, make sure you test the auto on a highway. If you’ll need space for a car seat, make sure to bring it along to ensure that it will fit.
Close the Deal
Because you’ve already gotten pre-qualified and know your budget, and made sure that the car is the right one for you, it’s time to close the deal. Make sure to read all documents and understand all the costs that may arise before you sign any paper work. Take the time to ask your salesperson or finance manager about any fees or costs that you may be concerned about. Once you’ve reviewed the sales contract and it meets your approval, it’s time to reap the rewards of all your research and enjoy your new car!