How to buy your first car Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make better financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators as well as publishing objective and original content. We also allow you to conduct research and compare data for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The offers that appear on this site are from companies who pay us. This compensation may impact how and when products appear on this site, including for instance, the sequence in which they appear within the listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. But this compensation does not influence the content we publish or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not contain the universe of companies or financial offerings that might be open to you. FG Trade/Getty Images
4 minutes read Read published March 02, 2023.
Writer: Rebecca Betterton Written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers to navigate the details of taking out loans to purchase a car. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances by providing concise, well-studied information that breaks down otherwise complex issues into digestible chunks. The Bankrate promises
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They ensure that what we write will ensure that our content is reliable, honest and reliable. Our loans reporters and editors are focused on the things that consumers are interested about most — the various types of loans available, the best rates, the most reliable lenders, the best ways to repay debt, and much more. So you can feel confident when making a decision about your investment. Integrity in editing
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There are money-related questions. Bankrate can help. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four years. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools required to be successful throughout their financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct , so you can trust that our information is trustworthy and precise. Our award-winning editors, reporters and editors provide honest and trustworthy content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content we create by our editorial team is objective, factual, and not influenced from our advertising. We’re transparent about how we are capable of bringing high-quality content, competitive rates and helpful tools to our customers by describing how we earn money. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated for the promotion of sponsored goods and services or through you clicking specific links that are posted on our website. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and when the items appear in listing categories, except where the law prohibits it for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own rules for our website and whether a product is offered in the area you reside in or is within your self-selected credit score range may also influence how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include details about every credit or financial product or service. The average monthly amount for a used car was $526 in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the newer cars were more expensive at $716, according to . If you’re a first-time car buyer, these numbers can be daunting and more daunting when you’re not comfortable with the process. However, confidence is in the preparation. Therefore, you should take your time before you go to the internet or to a dealer to understand the key steps to take when you are buying your first vehicle. 1. Find out how much you can manage to afford. The first step in making an effective purchase is to first determine . your credit scores, your monthly income and the type of car you want will all be considered in this decision. The key is to strike a balance between meeting your budget and selecting a car right for your needs. When budgeting, look at the whole picture, not just the sticker price that you will see advertised. The actual price for the car is the entire cost that you’ll have to pay, including dealer fees and taxes. Once you’ve got that figure or a reasonable estimate — factor in your average salary and make use of an, which can aid you in determining what your monthly cost to finance the car will be. The bankrate tip
Car ownership is a major expense, so be sure you’ve got room in your budget for any additional expenses.
2. Reserve money for a down payment The for your future vehicle is the initial lump sum you’ll pay. Make sure you cover at least 20% of the purchase price which could take some time. Saving up for a car will likely be worthwhile if you can hold off buying a car until you have the funds. This can save you cash in the end and decrease the cost of your monthly expenses. If you’re not able to put off making an easier down payment. But, you might not get a good rate from your lender. If this is the case, you should consider a less pricey vehicle instead. The lower your overall cost, the less you will have to put aside for a down payment. 3. Check your credit score If this is your first major investment in a financial institution, it’s likely there isn’t an extensive credit history. If that’s the case, you should check your credit score to see the loan alternatives are available. Your credit score is the most important element that lenders look at when determining the rates of interest you will be offered. The better your credit will be, the better the interest rate you will receive. Check your credit score before meeting with a dealer. You can do so online through or for free at . It’s best to get your credit in good condition before applying for vehicle financing If you are able to. 4. Find the best car for you Choosing which vehicle is best for you takes much more than just the color or design. Also, consider other aspects for instance, the car’s longevity as well as its size and capacity for your needs, technology and safety features, as well as fuel efficiency and the climate in which you live. Take a look at these figures — and extra information on how much the vehicle you’re looking at sells for. This is also an excellent moment to decide if you’d like to purchase an . Although a brand-new car is thrilling, certified pre-owned (CPO) will give you the lowest price, and still offer the latest features, as well as manufacturer-backed warranty. If you’re not forced to take the car out whenever you can, you can get a better deal by waiting . 5. Apply for prequalification for financing Once you have gathered some details about the type of vehicle you wish to purchase and your financial history, make an application to lenders who offer prequalification. This step is vital in saving money and puts you in control when it comes to selecting the most suitable financing option. Prequalification, or , differs from full approval, so even after the prequalification procedure is completed, it’s not a done deal. Preapproval, however, will provide you with an idea of potential rates and conditions. You will still have to complete a formal application after the preapproval, but you’ll be able to determine whether you are able to afford it prior to. You will need the following for prequalification your finances and income. Personal information. Employment information. Any current debt. 6. Head to the dealership -either in person or on the internet. after obtaining a prequalification for an loan and selecting the vehicle of your dreams now is the time to start the buying process. It is recommended look up the types of cars available in your region. Most dealers list their inventory on their websites. They also allow you to set up appointments. It is essential to get behind the wheel of your potential car and take it for an initial test drive prior to making a purchase. Make sure you alter the seat and see whether it will fit into your garage and is able to manage your daily routine. But you are not limited to local dealers near you. Online dealers like Carvana, TrueCar and Vroom give you access to a nationwide inventory of used vehicles. You can look through and obtain financing without leaving the house If you decide to purchase the car you want, you can get up to seven days to test drive your car and have it . 7. Negotiate Negotiation may be intimidating but finding the most favorable deal is in the form of being a strong advocate for yourself. Come prepared with any paperwork required, a clear knowledge of your credit history and ask. But the most important thing to remember is: be ready to quit if you are unable to get the deal you deserve. When the time has come to close the deal be firm on the number you agreed to. It is possible for the dealer to insist on . Do not accept alternatives like paint protection or fabric, while an extra option such as gap insurance might be more useful. Next steps in negotiation can be difficult But getting the best deal boils from taking a stand for yourself. Come prepared with any paperwork needed, a firm knowledge of your credit history and be prepared to inquire. Focus on the purchase price and not on the monthly installment. And be prepared to leave if you don’t get the deal that you’re entitled to. If it’s time to conclude the deal, remain steadfast on the agreed-upon number. The dealer is likely to insist on . Don’t be averse to options such as paint protection or fabric, in the event that an additional option like gap insurance might be more beneficial. Find out more
The article was written by Auto Loans Reporter Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She has a specialization in helping readers with the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car. Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances with concise, well-researched, and clear information that breaks down complicated topics into digestible pieces.
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