Five Essential First-Time Car Buyer Tips
Things to Know Before Buying a Car
By Tayler Steen – Auto Consultant
Auto House Tempe
Buying a car is a big decision, especially for first-time car buyers. There are a few things to know before buying a car. Do your research before buying, and you’ll make the right choice for your needs. Here are five essential first-time car buyer tips to keep in mind when starting your search:
- New or used? Most first-time buyers are just getting started establishing credit, so it can be harder to buy new, especially in the current market conditions. The supply of new vehicles has been restricted since the onset of the pandemic, with long waiting lists plus a premium price tag often above the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). Subsequently, the price of used cars has also been rising, but there are still plenty of great deals to be had. Buying used also helps you avoid the depreciation drop—new cars automatically lose value from the moment you drive off the lot: up to 20% of their value in the first year!
- Do some research. Consider what’s most important to you: price, features, safety/reliability, fuel efficiency, or the wow factor. As a first-time buyer, your biggest concern will likely be the car itself. It’s understandable: you’re going to be spending a lot of money on this purchase, and you want to ensure it’s worth the investment. Before you go shopping, do some online research on your preferred vehicle type—SUV, car, or truck. You can also compare prices on different makes and models in your area with independent online tools like Edmunds or Kelly Blue Book (KBB). Also, check out reviews from trusted sources like Consumer Reports—these can give you important details about certain cars’ reliability and performance stats.
- Set a down payment and budget. It’s best to have a good cash down payment saved before buying, especially if you’re still building credit. If you plan to finance, here’s a good rule of thumb: for every $10,000 you’re looking to finance, you’re looking at an estimated $250 monthly payment. So depending upon your price range, we can guide you to the best options that would fit your budget. Don’t forget to factor in first-time car insurance when figuring out your monthly car budget—for extra convenience, you can get an estimate from our sister company, The Coverage Pro.
- Choose Auto House for your new ride. After your research is done, it’s time to choose where to start looking for your new ride! Here at Auto House, we have a huge inventory of quality used cars available online or in our climate controlled showrooms and a wide range of new cars, as well. The price you see posted is the price you’ll pay (plus applicable sales taxes, license, and registration) with no hidden dealer markups. You’ll work with the same person from start to finish, unlike other traditional dealerships, and there are no high-pressure sales tactics—ever. One car, one consultant, one great deal.
- Private sales: If you decide to purchase a car privately rather than through a dealership, there could be more flexibility in pricing negotiations as there aren’t any overhead costs involved with selling something privately. However, there are higher risks. If you choose the private sale route, be sure to have the vehicle inspected by a reputable mechanic (we know some great ones!). Auto House performs a comprehensive inspection for every vehicle we sell—if it doesn’t meet our high-quality standards, it’s definitely not good enough to sell to our customers.
Finally, remember that many different types of vehicles are available at various prices and features. You might find something ideal in just a few days, or it could take weeks or months to search on your own. Skip the hassles. Shop the Auto House inventory, let us know which vehicles you’re interested in, then test drive at home or at one of our showroom locations, and be in and out in about an hour!