Throughout your life, you are bound to make some pretty big purchases. Remember when being in 6th grade and spending $20 on a CD felt like a huge splurge?  Well, as you grow up, you start thinking about paying for some big things, like going to college, and maybe even buying a house.  One of these first purchases might be the purchase of your first car. For some, this may even qualify as your first “adult purchase.”  You must research the product and answer many questions. Having a vehicle is becoming more and more essential around the country, unless you are in a place where public transportation is one hundred percent reliable.  So, congratulations on taking your first step toward buying a car! It is an exciting journey, but there are often unexpected speed bumps. There are many extra steps involved in purchasing a car, such as insuring it, getting a title in your name, and maintaining the vehicle during its lifetime.  With any luck, these tips and tricks will prepare you to make this big purchase, with full knowledge of what else you will get.

Initial Purchase… Plus Tax

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Your first question when it comes to buying a car should be if you are looking for new or used.  If you’re looking at a new car, they will be more reliable for longer, but also a bigger purchase.  Whereas a used one may be more affordable, but may not be efficient for you as long. Finding the type of purchase you want to make and creating a budget for your purchase should be the first step to finding a new vehicle.  

Nowadays there are a whole list of ways to find cars.  You can shop through online sites such as CarGuru, at a Volkswagen dealership in Rockaway, NJ, or even find a friend trying to sell on Facebook Marketplace.  Each of these options provides unique advantages and challenges. Online sites can compare several cars in your area and gives you a broad range of options and information.  Sometimes this is helpful to compare two different makes or models you’re considering. A dealership can be a useful place to go if you would rather speak with someone in person.  Car salesman have a reputation of being helpful, but also sometimes sneaky about adding to their prices. Be ready to hold your ground and haggle if it comes to price. Another option is buying from a friend.  This can be useful to cut out a middle man during a transaction, but you also have no guarantee of the car’s quality seeing as it hasn’t been tested.

Pros and cons exist with every car buying option. So, choose the one that feels best for you, and let’s get started!  Whatever car you choose and wherever you buy from, there will be some additional costs to be aware of. For example, we know that sales tax is added on all purchases, so tax is a part of your car purchase as well.  For something that costs anywhere from $10,000-$50,000 that sales tax can add up. Even though this tax will be added to the total cost and can be financed, it is an aspect to factor in your budgeting.

Financing

If you have never taken out a loan for a large purchase, the idea of financing a car may be foreign to you.  However, there are certain ways to help make your car loan affordable and worthwhile for you.  First, if you can afford to pay up front, this may be best for you.  Cars lose their value, once you begin to drive them, so you don’t want to be paying for a car for years.  Another tip for financing your vehicle is to put money down up front. If you can afford to pay for a portion of your vehicle, you must squeeze out less every month, and keep the term of your loan short.  The goal is to be paying back money on a car loan for as few years as possible. If you’re lucky, your car will last you for a long time, even if your car loan doesn’t.

The Title and Plates

Something often forgotten about car buying is the extra steps you have to take with your local BMV.  Every car on the road has to be registered within the state where you live. Depending on how you bought your car, the dealership may help you with this process of you may be on your own.  Either way, there are many online resources that can help you through the process.  Every new or used vehicle requires a new title and new plates for every new owner.  These steps are easy to follow, but can be expensive. Be sure you are including this into your budget.  You may be in trouble if you are driving around unregistered and without up to date license plates.

Insurance

Being a car owner goes beyond just driving with your windows down and cruising in your new wheels.  You have a responsibility to yourself and the other drivers on the road to be safe. Not to mention the responsibility to protect this huge purchase you just made.  So the next step after buying a car is having it insured. Check out the multitude of insurance agencies out there. You can get quotes from different sites to check their coverage and cost.  Feel free to ask family and friends which agency they go through; word of mouth is one of the easiest ways to find a company that is right for you. Accidents happen. That’s why we call a motor vehicle accident attorney and make sure we are covered with good car insurance.

Repairs

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Once you get through the initial steps of buying a car, insuring it, and settling all the details, you get to enjoy your vehicle.  With any luck, you get to do so without any issues for a few years. However, as cars drive, they deteriorate and break down. It is common to have to get repairs on your car.  You need to change your oil every 3,000 miles or so and change your tires whenever they wear out. Some of these are typical responsibilities of driving. There are also some things you cannot plan for.  Perhaps you need to buy a new engine or look into remanufactured cylinder heads.  Either way, finding a good mechanic will be a good step for your car buying adventure.  Be sure you find someone you can trust who will help keep you in your vehicle for years after you buy it. Enjoy your purchase for many years, you’ve earned it!