If you’re a newly-qualified motorist looking to invest in your very first car, then you might find yourself slightly bewildered by the range of options in front of you. This is a big investment, and you’ll want to ensure that you get it right.
So, what steps might you take on the way to purchase, and how can you avoid the more common pitfalls?
Set a budget
The first thing to do is to work out exactly how much you have to spend at the end of each month. This figure should cover any repayments on the vehicle itself, as well as things like tax, insurance, maintenance, and fuel. You’ll also need to pay for an annual MOT test, the cost of which might take you by surprise.
By setting a budget ahead of time, you’ll remove the possibility that you’re going to be shopping outside of your chosen price range. If your purchase ends up hurting you financially, then you’ll almost certainly come to regret it in the long run.
Check the history
If you’re buying used cars, then you’ll have to perform a few extra background checks to make sure that the car is as it’s described. Establish whether the car has any outstanding finance attached to it and whether it’s ever been stolen or written off. Does the mileage match what’s on the odometer? Any discrepancies should ring alarm bells.
Naturally, you’ll also want to inspect your purchase and take it for a test drive. If you’re prevented from doing so, then walk away from the deal.
Don’t buy the first car you see
If you find that you’re excited by the first car you look at, then you might be tempted to act on impulse and buy it. Resist this temptation. Make a list of the criteria you need, and then make a list of the cars that fit the criteria. If you find that you keep coming back to the first car, then invest – but only if you’re informed about it.
Always shop around for insurance
By the same token, you’ll find that you need to shop around when it comes to insurance, too. Some companies will seek to charge new drivers a hefty premium because they offer more risk than everyone else. You can save money by looking at several different insurers.
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