Tips for First-Time Car Buyers

Whether you’re looking for used cars for sale or brand new cars from the dealership, when you buy a car for the very first time, there’s a bit of a learning curve. After all, this will most likely be one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life considering that the average price of a car in 2019 was well over $30,000.

Even if you find used cars for sale and purchase a car that’s a year or two old, you’ll still be spending—at least—a few thousand dollars, so you should take this purchase seriously and create a plan. Of course, it’s tough to make a plan when you don’t know what to plan for. Fortunately, here at Hawk Auto, we’re all about making the car purchasing process as simple and stress-free as possible, whether this is your first or fifteenth car buying experience. Part of making that experience better is education, so this post will lay out educational tips for first-time car buyers.

By the end of it, you’ll know how to search for potential cars, narrow down your selection, and ultimately find the one that fits your needs best.  

Establishing a Budget

Before you look for used cars for sale or step on the lot of a dealership, it’s important to establish a budget for your purchase. By doing this early, you’ll narrow your search down before you even start looking for a car which will save you a ton of time. Plus, when you have a budget ready before you start looking, you’ll be less likely to fall in love with a car that’s over your budget. That’s a good thing because if you do end up finding a car that you really like and taking it for a test drive before you realize it’s too expensive, it’ll be hard to let go.

As a result, you’ll either have to let the car go, which will be disappointing or you’ll make a rash decision and buy a car that you can’t really afford. Both situations are unpleasant, but establishing a budget before you start your car search can prevent either one from happening.

Decide on New vs. Used

Another thing you can do before starting your car search is to decide whether you’re going to buy a new car or a used one. This decision will greatly affect your search and budgeting because new cars are far more expensive than used cars. So if you decide to go with a used car, you open up more options regarding what kind of car you can afford. For example, a brand new Mustang might be out of your reach, but if you’re looking for used cars for sale, an older Mustang may be a completely reasonable choice.

Get to Know Your Car with a Test Drive

You might think you can buy a car solely by the way it looks, but part of what you’ll come to enjoy about the car you buy is the way it drives. For this reason, it’s extremely important when you’re looking for used cars for sale that you take it for a test drive. Pay attention to what it feels like when you accelerate and when you stop. Feel the way it handles and how the seats feel. If you plan to be in the car quite a bit and like to listen to music, turn on the radio and check out the speakers. Ideally, your first car will be your car for at least a few years so you should make sure you like as much about it as possible.

Explore Your Options

Some first-time car buyers may have no problem with checking out a few different car options, but others may feel pressured to rush into a decision. As we mentioned earlier, this is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life, even if you find used cars for sale, so take your time. Even if you really like the first option you see and take for a test drive, find another one or two options to try before you sign on the dotted line. You may be surprised by the differences in the feel of driving one car versus the other.

Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Used

Some car salespeople may try to make you believe that it’s better to buy a brand new car. But you can save a significant amount of money without sacrificing any value when you buy a used car. And that’s especially true if the used car is certified pre-owned because that means the car has been inspected and certified by the manufacturer or another agency that provides official certifications. Often, certified pre-owned cars will come with favorable warranties and financing that make them a far better value than a new car.