By Jonathan Martinez, Contributing Automotive Writer
Do you remember purchasing your first car? When I bought my first car, I was so excited that I said yes to everything they offered me. Extended warranties, paint protection, lo jack and window tint, tire guard, etc, etc, etc. It felt great to make all those choices, and to top it off, a payment that I thought I could afford. I still get a rush when I think about it!
But, did I make good decisions? There were a lot of questions I did not consider, or ask. What about insurance? How much coverage? How to finance it? Who to finance it?
These are questions you should ask yourself before you get involved with buying a car. Don’t look for information at the dealer when all the answers are available on the web. When you ask a dealer “are you giving me a good deal?” , the response to be is going to be an excited “YES!!!”. His commission depends on it. Very few dealers are upfront, they can’t afford to be. The car business, is a business, and they are there to create as much profit as possible.
The best deal is one that you understand everything you are committing to. Get a credit report from an online source and gage yourself. This will guide you and also, let you know if you have any derogatory credit marks, or bad marks that should not be there. Once you have an idea of what your credit is, you will know where you stand and what kind of interest rate you qualify for. If you belong to a credit union, give them a chance to earn your business. They are non-profit and work well with individual clients. Many credit unions have open enrollment, call around and ask.
You must know what the cost of your daily life is, and see if you can live with putting six months of car payments with insurance away monthly. For example, if you figure your payment and insurance is 500.00 all together, you will have 3000.00 to put down and will have adjusted your budget to afford the car. Once again, you will have a good down payment. Make a deal on the price of the car first. Don’t negotiate the payment. Note, a good guideline for your payment of the car should not be bigger than 18 percent of your net income. Being on the job for a year is usually a requirement. Another important fact, you are going to be in this car purchase anywhere from 3-5 years. Stay away from the long term finance, it will cost you less money in the long run.
Have fun shopping!