If you’re not particularly fond of dealing with salespeople, looking for a family car might be a daunting experience for you. They’re highly motivated to make a sale because they get commissions from it. You might get pressured to buy a particular model that might not even fit the criteria of the car you’re looking for. Knowing things like the specs of a vehicle or you’re budget range will help you arrive at an informed decision. Keep on reading for seven things that you should consider before you ultimately purchase your first or next family car.
The first thing that you should always consider is your budget. Before you choose a particular model, determine how much you are willing to spend for a car on the down payment and on the subsequent monthly payments. This also includes how you plan to finance the transaction. You can pay in cash, thru bank loans and credit unions, and a hoard of other options.
A good tip is knowing the car’s invoice price which is the price the dealer pays the manufacturer. When buying, you’re just usually made aware of the suggested retail price which already includes the dealer’s profit margin. Knowing the invoice price will help you leverage a better deal and inform the dealer that you mean business.
Cost can also vary by region. I was looking for a Land Rover for a long time and in New England it was cost-prohibitive but in the central United States, it was not at all. I seriously considered buying one in Colorado and driving it back!
A brand new car might look good on paper and check all the right boxes, but it might not be on par with how it was advertised. If you’re visiting a dealer and have made up your mind on the model you want, insist that you test drive the vehicle first before you purchase it. Test the car on the highway, elevated roads, and intersections. This ensures that you have an idea of how well you respond to it. Spending some time with the car also helps you determine if it’s in tip-top shape, meaning no glaring issues like squeaks and shimmies and other issues related to interior car lights. This is especially important if you’re buying a second-hand model.
Much like a smartphone or laptop, a car is a product with a substantial consumer following which means a lot of people have first-hand accounts of how a particular car model performs. They offer a wealth of information that’s rarely discussed by a car company’s marketing and sales team. All you have to do is search for consumer reviews online or ask for an expert’s objective opinion.
But remember that just because a car looks reputable and comes highly recommended doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any noticeable problems. So when you do your research, dig deep for information. Knowing the car’s issues beforehand would help inform your decision and manage your expectations.
You’ve always dreamed of having a black and yellow Chevrolet Camaro, just like Bumblebee in the movie Transformers, but that’s not exactly the kind of car that your family needs right now, isn’t it? In buying a new car, you have to take into account the vehicle’s seating capacity, trunk space, and security features.
You should ask yourself how your family intends to use a car. Will you use it to drive your kids to school and yourself to work? Will you be going on several road trips in a given year? Asking yourself these kinds of questions determines the best car suited to your family’s needs and lifestyle.
Have a professional mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchase to ensure that the model is in good condition. This does not mean that the dealer or seller is trying to rip you off. They may not even be aware that there are problems, to begin with. It just means that you are making sure that you get the car worth the money you paid for it or if you need to buy additional car accessories like a tonneau cover for Toyota Tacoma, for example. Doing a preliminary inspection sets you back for another $100 or so but is a practical preventive measure that will save you thousands in potential repairs.
Dealers will most likely accept a lower offer when you purchase a car at the end of a month. This is because dealers have monthly quotas they need to reach for them to qualify for benefits like manufacturer bonuses. A great time to buy is when business is slow, usually during weekdays and over the holidays, particularly the last week of the year. You will get better deals because salespeople are not particularly fond of not having sales for a prolonged period of time. If you’re not particularly picky about having the latest model, you can time your purchase at the end of a model year where discount deals are often slapped on the remaining inventory.
You need to make sure that all the necessary documents are complete. This consideration is particularly important when you’re buying a used car. Look for the title, warranties, or anything related to the ownership and authentication of the car to be sold. This is for your protection as well as for the seller. This provides documentary proof that you have acquired the car legally and saves you from dealing with any trouble along the way. Simply put, shaking hands to make the deal is not going to cut it. You may be feeling fatigued at this point but ironing out the paperwork that comes with the transaction is important.
Shopping for a family car isn’t a walk in the park. It takes a lot of time and energy. You have to research the features of a model and the reputation for the safety of a car company, and compare price quotes from one dealer to another. Hopefully, the seven tips mentioned above will help you prudently decide the kind of car you need. You will get more out of a car if it fits closer to the needs of your family. At the end of the day, what’s really most important is not the car itself, but the kind of memories you and your family will be creating with it.