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The Quest to Buy a Car

Posted on 01 September 2008

Whether you’re buying or leasing, choosing new or used, here are some questions you’re going to want to ask yourself first:

What am I willing (and able) to spend?

The first thing you need to do is determine your budget. Make sure you know exactly how much you can afford to put towards monthly car payments – and don’t forget to consider ancillary expenses like gas, insurance and unforeseen repairs.

Do I want a new or used car?

With a new car you know exactly what you’re getting, and there are many financing options available including cash rebates just for college grads. But that security is also going to cost you. Just driving a new car off of the lot will diminish its value by about 25%. So if you’re on a limited budget, a used car may be the answer.

Am I going to buy or lease?

Leasing a car has become a popular option and you’ll pay less in monthly payments. Better yet, you can trade in for a new car every couple of years (just remember to look at the fine print before you sign any lease agreement). But, if drive a lot of miles, or just want to own your vehicle outright, buying is probably the option for you.

Have I done enough research?

Don’t just rely on the advice of family and friends. These days the Internet is a gold mine of information for car buyers, which will give you a lot more reliable information than your strange Uncle Max and his bridge-playing buddies. Compare vehicles and prices at Kelly Blue Book (www.kbb.com); or search for cars in your area with other sites like www.autobytel.com, www.edmunds.com or www.carsdirect.com. Doing some online research will help you determine the cars you like, the options you want and the dealer nearest you.

Do I qualify for any special rebates?

Some car manufacturers actually see recent college grads as an asset. Companies like Ford, GM and Mazda offer special deals and college rebate programs. These programs can provide you with hundreds of dollars in cash rebates, as well as other special perks like deferred payments. A new service created this year exclusively for graduates is CarsForGrads.com. It’s free and can connect you with the various special deals and offers that you might be eligible to receive. Simply go to www.CarsForGrads.com, provide some basic information about yourself and the car/s that you are interested in, and the free service will match you with the currently available vehicle rebates designed exclusively for recent college grads.

How do I negotiate with the dealer?

Negotiating doesn’t have to be the most nerve-wracking part of the car-buying process. If you’ve done your homework, you should know how much the car is worth, how much you’re willing to pay, and have a couple of dealers to choose between.

What about insurance?

Don’t forget that you’re going to need car insurance. Make sure you work the cost of insurance into your budget so you are not surprised by the extra bills you’ll be receiving every month.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Cheap Auto Insurance says:

    Thanks for sharing those information. Don’t ever ever forget to buy a car insurance when you buy a new car. Remember that a car always comes with an insurance policy.

  2. William says:

    From what I’ve found the way to find the best local prices is to read the edmunds.com forum or use http://www.truecar.com and skip the negotiation process completely

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