(ARA) - It’s been said that buying a car is the second biggest investment anyone will make in his or her lifetime. But those who try stretching their budget to afford that car can turn the investment into one big headache.
Before setting out on the journey for your new ride, it’s best to know the limits of what you can afford and stick to them. Simple research and cost management can help you avoid problems from the get-go.
* Calculate your total monthly expenses and determine the remaining amount available from your monthly income.
* Estimate and include fuel costs in your expense calculation, especially if the vehicle will be driven to work or school everyday.
* Check insurance rates. They’re normally lower for used cars versus new ones, but will vary based on the individual and specific vehicle.
* Take into consideration other associated costs like personal property taxes, license and registration fees.
A good rule to follow is that your monthly loan payment should be no more than 20 percent of your remaining monthly income. Lenders will typically expect a minimum down payment of 10 percent, but if you can afford to put down more, do so. Increasing the down payment will cut down on the principle of your loan and lower your monthly payments.
Buying a new car has its obvious advantages, but when working with a limited budget, price is normally the driving force behind one’s decision. On average, the cost of a used car is about half that of a new one. Given the improved quality of cars over the last decade, there are increasing numbers of reasonably priced used cars available in good to excellent condition.
According to the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association), franchised new-car dealers sell over 19 million used cars per year. Consumers can utilize numerous Internet sites that provide tools, like Carfax’s Hot Listings, to help them find used cars in their price range and location. Hot Listings provides users with a directory of vehicles available at local dealers that match specific search criteria. A free Carfax Vehicle History Report is provided for each vehicle.
Mike Tompkins, who purchased a used car, agrees with the value of services like Carfax. During his search, he discovered that the car he was buying had been in an accident, though it was eventually cleared through an inspection. “Twenty dollars could save you a lot of headaches,” he says.
Once you’ve settled on the pre-owned vehicle of your choice, it is strongly recommended to have the car inspected by a qualified and trustworthy mechanic. Make sure to check the vehicle’s history by purchasing a Carfax report by visiting Carfax.com. Any problems that either the report or mechanic may uncover can either be used as bargaining tools to help lower the cost of the vehicle or as proof to avoid the deal altogether.
Courtesy of ARA Content