By far the best way to describe a car you just purchased is to proudly proclaim that it’s “out of the box”. Not that cars come in boxes, of course. However, when you a buy a new car it might look like it’s been preserved in an airtight box filled with Styrofoam. It has a blinding shine with not one trace of rust. The speedometer shows single digits, or no digits at all, and the tyres appeared to have been moulded that morning. The downside of a brand new car is that it’s a little more expensive than a used version, but with good reason. Buying a new car gives you peace of mind knowing you’re not going to pay for someone else’s mistakes.
You’re also getting the latest model, your purchase will turn heads and let’s not forget that new car smell. They may line up in the showroom like designer wear, but shopping for a new vehicle is not the same as picking out a pair of denims. It’s probably the second biggest investment you’re ever going to make – after your house - and deserves at least as much time and effort you’re willing to spend buying property. So here are seven handy guidelines to help you buy the car of your dreams, straight out of the box.
Do Your Research
The biggest difference between car shopping today and car shopping twenty years ago is the Internet. The same way sites like WebMD makes anyone with a Wi-Fi connection a general practitioner, online showrooms are turning you and me into expert car dealers. The Internet gives you the opportunity to compare dealerships, look up performance stats and research every detail of your dream car down to the colour of the foot mats. With all that knowledge at your disposal, you’ll be able to walk into a dealership with confidence because you’ll know what you want. And being on top of things when you engage a salesperson puts you in the driver’s seat, so to speak, and makes it much less likely you’re going to be talked into something you’ll regret down the line.
Get Tips From Friends
Other than “industry experts”, your friends won’t bend the truth to get you excited for no reason. If someone in your inner circle is not happy about a particular feature of their car, they’ll let you know about it. They might even go on at length about it. Similarly, if they’re extremely happy with their car they’ll sing its praises like it’s a lifelong friend. And that’s great, because you can count on their judgement, advice and, most importantly, their experience driving their car. So get the inside scoop from people you trust about the cars they love, or hate.
Crunch The Numbers
It’s backbreaking work, but very very necessary. Look at your entire budget – from house payments to clothing expenses – to get a good idea of what you’ll be able to spend on a brand new set of wheels without going hungry for the last week of each month. Grab a calculator – it’s not that heavy – and calculate the amount you’re either able to spend on a new car, or put down to qualify for finance. Yes, if you don’t have enough cash to buy a car, you’ll have to apply for financing from a bank. That will mean you’ll have to commit to a monthly payment, in addition to the initial deposit. Consult your budget to figure out how much of a deposit you can afford. The larger the deposit, the less you'll have to pay over the life of your loan. It's likely you'll pay lower monthly payments as well.
Talk to Your Insurance People
Insurance premiums differ depending the type of car you’re buying. A sports car with a top speed of 240km/h will have a higher premium than, say, a middle class sedan with fifteen air bags. Make sure you know what your dream car will cost to insure to avoid getting a nasty surprise after you’ve made the purchase. If the time’s not right to leave the dealership in a Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, maybe it’s time to reconsider.
Take It For A Test Drive
After all the hard work is done, treat yourself to a test drive of the cars you’ve identified as candidates. There’s nothing like the real thing so ask for the keys and head out. When you leave the showroom floor, take note of how everything in the care feels. Trust your gut and mention any irregularities to the salesperson when you return to the dealership. Small problems during the test drive can be magnified later if you do buy the car, so it's best to listen to your instincts. And if you’re absolutely over the moon with the car’s performance, try not to show it. It leaves you little to work with when negotiating the price.
Don’t Fall For The Extras
At a certain point in the purchasing process the phrase, ‘let’s look at the extras’ will present itself. Don’t get carried away when this happens. Ask yourself what is truly necessary and what is merely satisfactory. Rust proof might sound like a good idea right there, but be careful. It all costs money and at this late stage of the process you might be tired and not thinking as clearly as you should be.
Sign On The Dotted Line
But first, double-check. And then double-check again. If you don't understand a part of the contract you're signing, don't sign it. Ask the dealer to explain. Take your time before putting ink to paper and make sure all the Is are dotted and Ts crossed. And after all that’s done, grab the keys from the dealer and drive off with your brand new - and well thought through - purchase.