At People’s, we aim to help you make smarter financial decisions so here are some great tips to help you along your car-buying journey.
1. Establish a Budget
Before you get your heart set on that flashy red sports car, you’ll have to make sure you can afford it. A good rule of thumb is to not spend more than 15% of your monthly household income. So if you earn $3,000 a month, it may be best to avoid spending $450 on your car a month, including insurance, gas, and other car expenses.
2. Get Pre-approved
Auto dealers don’t just want to sell you a car, they also want to provide you with an auto loan. This is because they generally receive a commission or fee on auto loans they coordinate with–whether from the auto manufacturer or local financial institution.
Being pre-approved for an auto loan will let you know how much money you can realistically borrow and at what interest rate. Apply online or come into one of our branches to receive a vehicle loan preapproval.
Take a look at different auto loan rates online from various financial institutions and you’ll discover they won’t even tell you the actual rate. We typically offer lower interest rates, and at People’s you can become a member easily if you live, work, or worship in Clark, Cowlitz, or Skamania Counties. Then, apply for preapproval. You can often do this online.
3. Do Your Research
Once you’ve established a budget, start researching the vehicles you’re interested in to see if they match your criteria. Do you need a gas-efficient commuter car or an SUV for weekend adventures? Also, think about the driving conditions you’ll face throughout the year.
Vehicles also come with different trims. Base models will have limited features while premium models will come equipped with all of the latest bells and whistles, like Bluetooth, remote start, and leather interior.
Once you’ve digested all of this information, think about what you want and what you absolutely need to help narrow down your list.
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4. Take a Test Drive
Test drives are an important part of the car-buying process because they let you get a real feel for the car. Take at least 30 minutes on your test drive, taking it through town and on the freeway. Consider how well the car performs, how spacious it is, the views it provides, the infotainment layout, etc.
5. Negotiate – Determine the Right Price
You’ve settled on a car and have done your research, now it’s time to determine the right purchase price. Along with NADA, there are many car listing apps that will help you determine what is considered a: “fair deal”, “good deal”, or “excellent deal” based on the car’s year, trim, condition, and features. Use this estimate to your advantage and negotiate with the auto dealer to settle on a price.
6. Read the Contract Carefully
Once you’re finalizing the deal, you’ll want to read your contract carefully before signing. Make sure you’re aware of any warranty agreements, financing agreements, and fees.
Take Your Time
We understand this may be a lot to take into consideration, but buying a car is a big investment so it should be treated as such. We hope these tips make your car-buying process easier and less stressful! If this is your first time buying car, consider People’s as your lender. We offer a First Time Auto Buyer Program with low monthly payments and no-cosigner needed!Back to Auto Loans
6 Tips for Buying Your First Car in Vancouver WA
Serving Greater Vancouver WA