I recently purchased my first vehicle on my very own. What a liberating experience yet, intensely stressful. And still, after the most prolonged three days in my life, I bought a used car, that screamed Ashleigh! It spoke to me, as though we had a connection immediately. After I test drove it I knew it was for me. That, however, was merely the beginning of the journey in shopping for a new ride. While I went through the process of buying a car I kept a journal, that will hopefully outline the major items in purchasing your future car.
I. Before you visit any car lot, decide if you want a sedan, coupe, or truck etc. This will narrow your search. The more you are aware of what you want the more clear and concise your decision will be in the future. Not to mention manuals are cheaper so don't count them out if you can.
II. How much are you putting down? My goodness, this step is so necessary. In this economically challenged period, not only is your down payment you negotiating stick but it is also a necessity at many dealerships. Cash is the language to speak especially for those shoppers who don't have the highest credit score or haven't been on the job for more than a year. You may need a co-signer, good luck with that. I was unable to obtain one and I have a mid-sized family.
III. Obtain your credit report. Have an idea if your credit is bad, fair, average, good, or great!. By obtaining your credit score before they do, will ensure time to fix any unwanted or unknown activity on your report. Yes, the sales person will run it once you have chosen a car but at least you will be aware of why they give you the monthly payment they offer. Don't give them permission to run your credit until, you're 99.99% sure that's the car you want for at least, the next 3 years.
IV. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Use all the resources available, as a consumer. Look in your daily newspaper for local deals. Go online and explore the world wide web. Many prices online are immensely lower than on the lot. Simply print that deal out, and take it in with you, or call in to speak with their Internet sale department. TEST DRIVE your desired vehicle too. Determine if you can comfortably drive it, safety and my favorite gas mileage. (check the engine, knobs, oil, mileage (compare to Kelly blue book), wheels, stereo, wipers and anything else you want to ensure is working properly, especially if buying used. Once you have decided on the car you want, immediately visit the Kelly blue book website. Then you'll know an estimate of what the car is worth. The more knowledge you have about your future purchase the better deal you can achieve. Oh and if the car is used, obtain a Carfax report. The $15 you spend on it will determine if your car is a lemon and if its not you can save this for the future should you want to sale it.
V. You're half way to driving your new shiny new automobile!!! The sweet, reputable sales associate is most likely giving you a quote on your monthly payment, if you chose to finance, or their asking price if you are buying in full. Either way, say,"NO," politely to the first offer. Trust me, no matter how great it sounds or doesn't, say no. They will make adjustments and you can decide from there if that works for you. Two rules of conduct, be polite and optimistic, furthermore, have an adequate meal in your stomach too.
VI. Once you have sealed the deal explain to them you want a copy of all the papers you sign. Count them! Please don't rely on them to do this or you will be missing documents.
VII. Right about now, nerves are shot, and patience is limited so again drink plenty of fluids and eat. This is the step I didn't abide by at all. I forgot to eat and wasn't drinking enough water because I was nervous and on edge. Nevertheless, be better than me and don't repeat my mistakes. Pretty much, all that is left is to acquire insurance asap, but if you have time shop around ahead of time to get quotes. Depending on your purchase your insurance may have to be full or partial coverage. Ask if there are discounts, and explain your situation. The rules from step five still apply too.
VIII. Finally, be happy you did it! Pat yourself on the back and if you have the funds make an appointment for a massage. You deserve it. Oh don't forget to get organized while your at it, so you don't miss payments and stay on top of your added responsibility (online banking a plus).