There are many notable milestones that you’re going to hit in your life: high school graduation, your wedding day, the birth of your first child, and the day you buy your first new car. Sure, all of these highlights of your life can be absolutely exciting and wonderful, but there’s something unique and scary about driving a brand-new car off the dealer’s lot. After all, your spouse is only going to grow more beautiful to you every single day. Your new car, however? Its value plummets the moment you sign on the dotted line.
Buying a new car in South Florida can be both terrifying and exhilarating decision, and it’s not one that should be taken lightly. Before you fork over a huge chunk of change for your new set of wheels or start thinking about that custom license plate, make sure you ask yourself these four essential questions first. Not only can it help you prevent buyer’s remorse, you can also help ensure you’re happy with your decision for years to come.
1) What kind of car do I need?
There are so many different types of vehicles out there for you to choose from. There are SUVs, convertibles, hybrid gas-electric cars, mini-vans, and even itty-bity little economy cars with incredible gas mileage. Before you make a final decision, you need to take a hard look at the type of car you need, though. Are you mostly using this car to get mostly to and from work? Or do you consider your vehicle an extension of yourself and plan on spending hours in it each week? You don’t want to spring for a convertible, for instance, if you’re not going to be able to take it out for a joyride every weekend. Conversely, an SUV may be overkill if you’re just driving your car to school and back.
2) Can I afford this car?
Man, this is a toughie. We all dream of having that luxurious sports car that’ll make us look like the epitome of cool. When you drive that BMW 335i home, heads will turn, and you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood. While the idea of having a top-of-the line luxury vehicle may seem like a great idea when you’re swooning over it in the dealer’s lot, ask yourself: can you really afford those car payments? A hard look at your budget can be a real eye-opener and can help prevent the walk-of-shame (drive-of-shame?) if you ever find that you can’t keep up with the monthly payments. Instead of splurging, plan for a car you can afford right now, and continue to save up for the car of your dreams. Trust me, it’s worth waiting for.
3) Is maintenance of this car expensive?
On the same note as car affordability, sometimes cheaper isn’t always better. Sure, this car may currently be in your budget as-is, but what are its maintenance and upkeep costs in the long run? Sometimes it’s a good idea to plan on spending a little bit more for a better-quality vehicle. Make sure you check the average costs of repairs for the vehicle before you buy it. Other things to look out for are insurance costs, fuel mileage, and even tax incentives. They can all add up, leading to hidden, unplanned, costly fees.
4) Does this car fit my current lifestyle?
Just like you don’t want to drop major bank on a sports car that you won’t even get to fully enjoy, you also need to consider your current and future lifestyle. Yeah, that cute little red number may look great parked in your garage, but what about camping trips or day-trips to the beach that require room for your surfboard? Or what if you suddenly discover that you have triplets on the way and that two-seater isn’t going to cut it anymore? On the other hand, why spring for a mini-van if you’re not planning on having kids at all? These are all things you need to know before you sign off on a new car, my friend.
Getting a new car can be so dang thrilling. Whether you’ve saved up for years, or you’re feeling the itch to impulsively buy a new vehicle right now, you don’t want to have buyer’s regret the second you drive your new car home. By planning ahead, and asking yourself these four important questions, you can help avoid any potential disappointments that can try to tag along for a ride, too.
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Photo credit: Malcolm Garret (main), Ivandrei Pretorius (editorial 1), Mat Brown (editorial 3)