First Car Fright: Where to Look and What to Avoid

Buying your first car can be both an exciting and a scary prospect. A first car is a huge purchase. It shows that you are moving ever closer to being an adult or to being more responsible. Yet, it is so scary because it is a big purchase. What if you make the wrong choice? What if you get in over your head?

By choosing the right place to buy your first car, you can get the best deal while also getting a reliable vehicle that will provide dependable performance for years to come.

Where to Look

The very best place to shop for your first car is your local classifieds, whether online or in print. The classifieds allow you to connect with individuals throughout your community who are selling their own vehicles. Not only will you be able to get more information about the car you are buying, but you will also pay thousands less than what you would pay at a dealership for a brand new car.

Look for cars that have low mileage in relation to their total years. The lower the mileage compared to its age, the more miles you can expect to get out of the car for yourself. Also look for other signs that the car has been cared for or offers extra value, such as after-market additions or recent repairs.

What to Avoid

Avoid going to a dealership. You will pay a higher sticker price for your car, and you’ll end up spending thousands more in interest for financing the car. Shopping at a dealership also limits your choices since the lot will be limited to the latest models from a particular brand (or small group of brands). Even if you shop at a used car dealership, you will only have your choice of cars from the last six to eight years or so.

If you have to go to a dealership, don’t take a loan from them. Always arrive at the dealership with a loan from a local bank already in hand. A loan from a bank will typically be lower interest than a loan from a dealership. For example, according to the folks at BB&T, “Generally speaking, home equity loans and lines of credit carry lower interest rates than typical auto loans and can be repaid over a longer term.” This makes home equity loans a far better alternative to an auto loan from a dealership.

Make sure that you do your due diligence when shopping in the classifieds. Take the car to be inspected by an independent mechanic before you commit to buy it. You’ll have an assurance of the car’s condition before you pay out any money.

Don’t let your first car purchase be scary. Shop in the classifieds to find a reliable car at an exceptional price, and you’ll love your first car for many years.

 

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