Congratulations! It is finally time to buy your first car. You are probably excited but also nervous. It can be very stressful to walk into a car dealership and just pick out a car without any assistance. However, you do not need to worry about it.
We have put together some tips to help you in the car buying process as a first-time car buyer.
1.Have a budget
Having a budget and sticking to it will help you narrow down the list of cars you can afford within your price range. To set up a budget, you first need to calculate all your monthly expenses. You then have to categorise your expenses as either need or wants.
Needs are things such as your rent that you can not do without. Your wants are things such as entertainment that you can do without. Once you have set up a budget, you can now cut back in some areas like eating out daily and instead save towards buying your car.
It is advisable to keep your car payment below ten per cent of your net pay to avoid falling into debt. However, your monthly payment is not all you need to consider when budgeting for your car. Remember to factor in things such as repair cost, fuel and maintenance.
2. Research broadly
With a budget at hand, you can now start researching cars that fit within your budget. Visiting online car marketplaces or local dealerships can help you get a rough estimate of what type of cars you can afford.
You can use the Cheki True Price tool to compare car prices from different sellers. This tool will prevent you from paying more than the recommended price for a car. Ultimately, this will help you save some money.
Additionally, you can read car reviews and get a rough idea of what actual car users think about particular cars. This will give you deeper insight on prices, specifications and event expected shortcomings of the car.
3. Explore Your Financing and Purchasing Options
Buying a car is very expensive. If you have not saved up enough money to purchase one, you need to consider car financing options available to you. Some car dealerships offer car loans to their customers but their interest may be slightly higher since they have to handle the loan for you.
If you choose a car loan, you should consider settling for a more affordable car and keep your monthly payments manageable. Remember, a longer repayment period for the car loan will lead to higher interest rates.
It is wiser, to approach an asset provider such as a bank or Sacco to gather information on financing options before you settle on a loan provider. When applying for a loan, remember that the rates may be different depending on if you are buying a new car or a used car.
4. Consider buying a used car
As a first-time car buyer, it may be tempting to buy a brand new car. This is not necessarily a bad thing especially if you can afford it. A brand new car comes with several advantages, amongst them, the new car smell, a warranty and maybe even after-sale services.
However, first-time car buyers on a budget are advised to buy second-hand cars as they are more affordable. Cars dating back five years offer car buyers similar specifications and infotainment features as brand new cars. Therefore, you should not hesitate to purchase a used car.
5. Get the car inspected
Before you pay for a car, particularly a used car, have it inspected by a trusted mechanic. Some car sellers tend to hide issues that the car may have and you are less likely to find out considering it is your first time buying a car. Someone knowledgeable and trustworthy can help you point out issues with the car.
This will protect you from being scammed while buying a car. The car seller may suggest a mechanic to you but you must use someone whom you trust. If the car seller refuses to consent to a pre-purchase inspection, consider it a red flag.
6. Negotiate the car price
Even though you already have the budget and financing options set up, try and negotiate the prices. It will not hurt to pay less than the budget you have. The used car market offers a lot of room to car buyers to haggle the prices since the cars do not have set prices from the manufacturers.
Therefore, before you sign that cheque, try to drive a hard bargain. Use the KUV Price index to closely compare prices of vehicles in the used car market before you make an offer. You can take it a step further and shop towards the end of the month when the salespeople are trying to hit targets and are willing to lower their prices by at least ten per cent.
7. Check all the documentations
Even though it feels like a tiresome process, you need to counter check the car documents before you buy the car. Ensure the seller has an original logbook and that all service receipts are available. The logbook will identify the real car owner. Do not buy a car that has no logbook just in case the seller is not the rightful owner.
The service documents will help you find out if the car has ever been involved in an accident. They can also indicate if the car owner takes it in for frequent car maintenance services. If you are not sure about the documents the car should have, have a lawyer verify the documents before you pay for the car.
As a first-time car buyer, this may be one of the most expensive purchases you have made in a long time. There may be a lot to consider but we believe that these tips can help make your buying process easier. If you budget well, research deeply and plan accordingly, you can negotiate a good deal and drive off with an amazing car. Good luck!