So you’ve decided that buying a car is now at the top of your priority list? Maybe you are welcoming new family members or you’ve calculated that your monthly commuting expenses are burning a hole in your pocket. In any case, it is not a decision to be taken lightly and I’m assured you aren’t taking it lightly either. It is after all; a huge investment, a big purchase, one that requires years of savings or years of loan installment payoffs. So it makes sense that you find yourself sweating over every little detail; the make of the car, the model, the ideal price range, the loan coverage, etc. It doesn’t help that almost everyone you meet will have some golden nugget of wisdom for you when it comes to buying a car; from your uncle to the kids playing cricket outside your house; everyone will have an opinion and their abundance can get a little overwhelming. Here are some tips that can help you narrow down your concerns and streamline your focus-
1. Ascertain your needs and select a model accordingly
The very first thing you need to keep in mind is what exactly do you, dear buyer, require? The market is inundated with new makes and models and in order to avoid getting swarmed; at the dealership or buying a car that you later regret, you need to keep yourself in mind. Perhaps you need a bigger vehicle with increased seating and that happens to take precedence over other features. Or perhaps you find yourself travelling long distances quite frequently and need a car with good mileage. Maybe your work requires you to haul around big tools and you need better storage space or maybe you live in a metro city and would not have enough garage space so you’re looking for a more compact model. The idea is to chip away all the unnecessary concerns and recognize which feature takes primacy for you, and then zero in on it. Once that is done, get started on the research!
2. Figure out your ideal price range
Now that we have decided on the key features that you’ll be looking for when buying a car, it’s time to determine your price range. Buying a vehicle without considering affordability can lead to problems in the future and this seems like common knowledge but haven’t we all seen at least one person in our immediate circles who seems to have made this mistake? This is because car dealerships, like any good store, are designed to sell you on more and more expensive items. How many times have you walked into a supermarket to buy one bottle of oil but walked out with a whole skincare routine’s worth of items because the nice lady at the counter sold you on the benefits of a new anti-aging line launched by some company? I know I’m guilty of it, so be cognizant of your ideal price range and politely turn down more expensive options when you visit the dealership.
It is also important to note that the On-Road cost of the vehicle will differ from the store price. This will include road tax payments, insurance charges, registration, and dealer handling charges. There will be further costs when it comes to maintenance and fuel. Moreover, many metro city societies charge parking costs. Therefore, it is necessary to keep your budgetary allowance in mind and do enough research to avoid overspending.
3. Be smart about Pre-Financing
It is highly unlikely that an average person will have the ready finances to carry out a purchase as big as this without taking out a loan or working out some form of monthly payment plan. With those, come the inevitable interest payments. But you can make the situation more suited to your advantage by getting pre-approved for a loan. A pre-approval is a provisional approval from a lender with calculated terms such as the loan quote, the rate of interest, and the term for payment. This will not only help you during price negotiation later on, as it lets the dealer know that you’ve done your research and, but also helps you in the budgeting process. Once you have an estimate of the amount at your disposal, you can go about car shopping without any uncertainty. It will also prevent you from taking up dealership financing, which can, can charge a higher rate of interest. Again, research is key! The internet will be your best friend during this time and don’t forget to compare rates offered by various lenders to make sure you get the best financing options available.
4. At the dealership
Armed with all the knowledge you have gained, you can now walk into a car dealership with confidence. Here are a few things to keep in mind-
- Festival discounts and Sale seasons- There are several times in a year when dealerships around you give out handsome discounts as a part of promotional offers during festive seasons. Sign up for newsletters of various dealerships in order to get updates about these discounts
- Negotiations- Getting pre-approved for a loan and having a ton of research at your service will make sure that you aren’t sold a vehicle that is out of your budget. But before you go to the dealership, check out the In-Store price of the car; in order to ascertain the price the dealer paid for the car so you have an idea of the approximate price you can reach through negotiation
- Free accessories and warranty- Many stores give out accessories such as floor mats, toolkits, first aid boxes, alloy wheels, seat covers, and minor items; like cup holders and fresheners, at the time of buying a car. Make sure to avail them to make your life easier as these items sure do come in handy.
- Test drive- Always take the vehicle for a test drive so you can get a feel of the driving experience. And how it would work on the roads you’d most likely travel. So for example If you’re more likely to travel in heavy traffic, check out the brake sensitivity, etc.
5. Car Insurance
Any customer in India buying a vehicle is required by law to get Third-Party insurance; which covers bodily injury or damages caused to any third-party vehicle or property caused by the insured vehicle. Besides this mandatory insurance policy, buyers also have the option of getting a comprehensive insurance plan; which provides extensive coverage- both to the third-party as well as the insured vehicle. There are several policies available on the market and again, research is compulsory. Compare and contrast the rates and extent of coverage provided by several policy providers; in order to find the best fit for you and once you’ve got that covered, Happy driving!
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