The Car Buying Process: Your First Car

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Buying a car is as exciting as it can be overwhelming, but the good news is that you’ve started at the right place: here. To help make the process easier, we’ll give you some tips on laying out an effective car-buying plan.
 
#1: Identify your budget.
Always ask yourself:

  • How much can I afford for a down payment?

  • If I finance, how much can I comfortably afford to pay each month?

  • How much can I afford for insurance? (Always call your insurance agent and ask for a rate quote for any vehicles you’re interested in before you buy).

 
#2: What matters most to you in a car?
Identify the things that matter most to you in a car (gas mileage, space, cargo room, etc.). Once you know the type of car you’re looking for and your budget, do a search for “best (car/truck/SUV) under (your budget).” Take your time with this step. Jot down a list of every car you’re interested in, and over the course of a week or two of thorough research, narrow that list down to five cars.
 
Before you plan any test drives, it’s always a good idea to get some advice from an unbiased source who knows the ins and outs of car buying, like AAA Auto Buying. Their friendly team of auto experts know how overwhelming the car buying experience can be, and they’ll work with you to make buying your first care stress-free and fun. All you have to do is tell them exactly what you’re looking for in a car, and they’ll find it. They’ll even lay out all of the financing options available to you, without the pressure you get at many dealerships or car lots.
 
#3: Take a test drive, wait, and then buy.
Test drives will help you narrow down the list even further. If you’re looking to negotiate the price on any car (which you always should), be patient and don’t rush into any commitments. Once you’re ready to buy, it always helps to bring along a friend or family member who has car buying experience in case you need any last minute advice.
 
For more tips on car buying, check out http://carolinas.aaa.com/buyvehicles/Pages/Car-Buying-Process.aspx.

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