Top 3 Tips for Buying a Vehicle

Buying a new or used car is a purchase that you should not take lightly. It's not like buying a new pair of jeans or a microwave, is a major monetary investment that could affect your life for many years to come.  Plus, it can also have an affect on your credit score, which has a major impact on your ability to purchase a home, get auto insurance, and other important areas of your life.  Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind when purchasing a new or used vehicle.

Know Your Spending Power:  Walking into a showroom, you'll want to have a general idea of how much you can spend on a vehicle. First, determine your monthly budget. Take into account all of your fixed costs such as housing, insurance and utilities, and then your variable costs, such as food, entertainment and clothing. Figure out how much you could spare each month on a car payment. Also remember that you'll be paying for auto insurance as well. So, research some car insurance quotes from a variety of providers, based on a rough-idea of the car you want to purchase. This will give you a general idea of the additional monthly cost of auto insurance. Then, contact the three credit history companies, and find out your credit score. This will determine if you need to save a lot of money for a down payment, or if you can get financing for the entire vehicle. If you have excellent credit, you will likely be able to get financing for a more expensive car, but remember what your monthly budget allows for a car payment and keep it below that number! Here are the phone numbers for the three agencies:

•    Experian: 888-397-3742
•    Equifax: 800-685-1111
•    TransUnion: 800-888-4213

Forecast Your Needs: You will likely own your new or used car for five to ten years. Try to imagine what your life will be like in the future. Will you be getting married soon? Then forget the sports car and look at a vehicle which could transport children if necessary. Will you be graduating college and moving to a big city for work? Then, consider a small, fuel-efficient vehicle ideal for urban environments. The bottom line is, don't buy what you need now, but what you will need now and in the future.

Do Your Research:
Once you have a general idea of the type of vehicle you want, start your research on the Internet. Find out about its safety-rating, fuel efficiency, resale value, recall history, and other factors that are important to you. Also find out what other consumers are saying about the vehicle. Are they happy with its performance? Has it lived up to its promises? Remember to also see how much auto insurance will cost for the vehicle. Its important to get a few car insurance quotes from insurance agencies to see how much you'll be spending each month to insure the vehicle. Some cars and trucks have much more expensive car insurance quotes than others. Then, research the price of the vehicle from several different venues. For instance, see how much they are being sold for on Craigslist, eBay, and from auto dealerships around the country.

Armed with all this information, walk confidently into the dealership and find the vehicle you want, at the price you want to pay. If you ever feel pressured or unsure, walk out of the dealership. This is a buyer's market, and the consumer is in control.

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