I’ve mentioned before how I rushed into buying a new vehicle when mine started to slowly make it’s way into the grave – and how I am kicking myself for not thinking things through a bit more. Even though buying a car is stressful (not to mention the high-pressure sales people on top of it!) I should have taken more time to make the right decision for me.
Don’t get me wrong – I have a nice vehicle, I got a decent deal, and it’s nice to walk out and not have to worry if it’s going to start or not. But for a payment that is half my mortgage, well, I should of thought things through a bit more. So to avoid car buyer remorse like me – and so many other people rushing into a new purchase – take your time, and ask yourself these few simple questions.
Have I done my research? Do you know what you want, what you absolutely have to have? Have you figured out a budget, what type of vehicle you are looking for, are you leasing or purchasing? Make sure you show up educated.
Did I Test Drive Long Enough? Never ever feel guilty for wanting to spend more than 10 minutes test driving a vehicle that you will be spending the next 5-7 years in, not to mention your hard earned money on. Drive it and make sure it meshes well with you -and your driving style and commute.
Can I Drive This in Winter and Summer? Sometimes a big 4 wheel-drive SUV is super attractive in the middle of winter – or a convertible sports car in the summer.But make sure whatever vehicle you pick, that you are comfortable driving it 24/7/365.
Do you have a young driver in your future? You might not want your 16 year old to learn to drive on your new sports car – unless you have a back-up vehicle, assume they will be learning on your new precious.
Did You Check The Insurance? I don’t know why after 10 years in the business I am still surprised when someone purchases a new vehicle and is shocked on how much it cost to insure it. This is something you should be doing before you even start the financial paperwork. Your insurance agent can give you a general idea of the premium based on the year/make/model of the car an the coverages you need. Remember, when you lease or get a loan on a vehicle you are required to carry full coverage, so make sure you call and check the rate so you can put that in your budget.
Do I Bite the Bullet – and not rule out the minivan? I was all against having a soccer Mom van too. Trust me, I feel your pain. But when you load up the fam to take them on vacation and you don’t have enough room – well that van is going to look appealing. Not only are they spacious, but they have some pretty cool features now too.
Am I Being Realistic? Do you really think your family of 4 is going to be OK in a sub compact vehicle? (I’m gonna answer this one for you – no). Trust me, it’s better to have too much room, than not enough.
Do I Know How Much Maintenance is Going to Cost Me? If your oil changes are going to run $150 a pop and can only be done at the dealership – or it cost more to replace one tire than it does to pay your house payment -you may be in a bit over your head.
How Long Will I Be Paying on This Car? Sometimes it seems almost too easy when you get the car payment you want, but how long is it for? Some banks are up to 9 years for an auto loan. If you are anything like me, I start getting a 7 year itch -who wants to still be paying on a car you are ready to get rid of??