If you’re looking for a vehicle and you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying a used car, your only real option is to buy new. Buying a new car can be exhilarating, giving you access to a brand-new model with all the features you personally want, but it can also be stressful.
If you want to put yourself in a better position to make a safe, financially sound, and enjoyable decision, there are some important steps you’ll need to take.
What to Do Before Buying a New Car
Use these strategies before buying a new car:
- Keep an open mind. First, try to keep an open mind. Throughout this process, you’ll be making a lot of decisions, from what make and model to get to what type of insurance policy to buy. If you remain open to more possibilities, you’ll have a better chance of finding the perfect fit. Don’t commit too much or too early to a specific vision of your next new car.
- Do your research. When you’re ready to begin the process, start doing research. Set a few goals for yourself; for example, are you interested in something powerful and fast? Something inconspicuous and reliable? Something that can haul lumber? Use this information to search for some of the most popular and well-reviewed models currently on the market. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each model?
- Review safety features. No matter what, you should review the safety features present in each model. In the modern era, you can probably rely on standards like airbags and seatbelts to be present in every vehicle. But you should also review safety ratings and determine how each model handles itself in a collision.
- Shop around. Once you have a few potential models in mind, you can start shopping around. Review the options available at different dealerships nearby and see what kinds of prices they’re offering. Are there any sales or specials going on that could make this car even more affordable?
- Get an auto insurance quote. When you know what kind of car you want to buy, it’s a good idea to get an auto insurance quote (or several). This is a significant factor in the total cost of car ownership, and it’s not something to be neglected. Make sure you have a good idea of what you’re going to pay before you commit to a purchase.
- Take a test drive. You may find a vehicle with glowing, 5-star reviews all over the internet, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to like the car. Before you get too fixated on a specific model, head to a local dealership and take a test drive. This is your best chance to get a firsthand feel of how the car maneuvers – and what it feels like to be a driver in it. While you’re at it, test drive a few other models and see how they compare.
- Talk to others. Before moving forward, consider talking to some other people about your decision. If you have a spouse or partner, ask their opinion – after all, they may be driving this vehicle occasionally. If you know any car nuts, ask them what they think about this model; they may have heard something you haven’t.
- Get your finances in order. Next, you’ll be ready to get your finances in order. Understand how much you’re going to pay for this vehicle and how much your monthly payments will be if you get financing. Do you have enough money set aside for a down payment? Do you want to offer a higher down payment to reduce your monthly payments moving forward? Are you sure this is within your price range?
- Select the right features. Most new vehicles come with a wide range of optional additional features – and customization options potentially worth selecting. Make sure you have a good idea of what you want before you try to finalize the deal. Don’t let yourself get talked into taking additional features that you don’t really need.
- Negotiate on price. Finally, be ready to negotiate on price. Understand what the going rate for a vehicle like this is and don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal. In many cases, you can save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars just by asking.
Enjoying Your First Drive
If your price negotiation goes successfully, you’ll be ready to drive your new car off the lot. Take some time to enjoy yourself and bask in the feeling of new car ownership. When you get home, make a plan for regular maintenance so you can keep it in great condition.