From budgeting and auto loans to choosing a vehicle, there are a lot of factors to consider when preparing to buy a car. For first-time buyers, the process is often overwhelming, especially when it comes to the financial aspects. Fortunately, you can avoid the most common buyer mistakes with these four expert tips.
- Determine a Realistic Budget
Your budget should be the most important factor in your car purchase. You should only shop for vehicles you can afford or risk putting your financial future in jeopardy. When determining your budget, don't forget to factor in loan interest rates as well as operational and maintenance costs, like fuel, car insurance, and regular oil changes.
- Consider Your Vehicle Options
One of the biggest decisions buyers make is deciding between a new and used car. New models are available across a variety of price points, but depreciation causes drastic drops in value after leaving the dealership. A new vehicle can lose 10% of the purchase price in the first month and over 20% in the first year. That’s why most first-time buyers are better off selecting a quality pre-owned option with low mileage.
- Save Up for a Down Payment
Unlike mortgages, auto loan lenders don't always require a down payment, but choosing to wait until you have some cash saved can make all the difference in the buying process. Offering up a down payment reduces your long-term expenses because you won't have to pay interest on that amount. Additionally, it's likely to increase your chances of loan approval since you're investing from the get-go.
- Secure an Auto Loan Pre-Approval
A common mistake among first-time car buyers is saving the financing process for the end of the journey. Applying for an auto loan pre-approval cuts out the what-ifs of the scenario by knowing how much you're allowed to spend. It also shows sales associates you're serious about the purchase, which can save you a substantial amount of money when they go above and beyond with deals to secure your buy.
Ready to buy your first car? Turn to Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union for stress-free auto loan options. With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-3700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.