And I finally got a car! After months of using the public transportation, I was able to snag this beauty. It wasn't an easy choice and it gave me sleepless nights but I was able to finally get one. Hopefully, the tips I give here would help you out.
1) DO YOUR RESEARCH. Go online and pick a car that is perfect for your needs. I got a SUBARU FORESTER because it's an AWD and it has the cargo space I want. The AWD would be perfect since there's snow in my place during the winter. I went with the base model since I don't think I need all the upgrades anyway.
2) VISIT A DEALER. Go to a dealer and get your questions ready. I went to SUBARU and TOYOTA before finalizing my choice. When you visit, make sure to maximize it. They'll let you test drive the car that you want. Before I settled down with my pick, I drove 3 cars. A Forester, Rav4, and an Outback. They could even let you borrow a car for a day.
3) BUY DURING A SALE. I was lucky that I bought my car during the labor day weekend. During this time, dealers are trying to sell their recent model as the new ones for next year are coming in. Usually, these are 0 APRs when you go through financing or they would give cash discounts outright. APRs is the interest that you pay when you borrow money for your new car. Getting 0% would mean the best since it's basically borrowing money for free. In my case, since I just newly migrated here, I don't have a long credit history, my credit score won't allow me to get that 0%. A work around would be to have a co-signer. Usually, it would be a close relative that has been staying in the United States that could accompany and sign the papers with you. Here, the financing office could use their credit score and let you get that Apr. During the time that I bought, I heard that having a 720 and above would get you that 0%.
4) BE DECISIVE. When I bought the car, I stopped myself a couple of times just because I needed to think about the cost and I kept on procrastinating. When I decided on what to get, the model I wanted was already gone.
5) DECIDE ON A DOWNPAYMENT. Paying for a car is quite important. The downpayment would also equate to how much your monthly payments would be. Make sure that you work around your budget.
6) GET INSURANCE. Before you buy a car, check out and shop for insurance. Insurances are usually good for just 6 months but it would also depend on which state you are living in. Since you are just starting out, the monthly payments might be a bit high. If you go online, they could give you a quote right there and then. To give you an idea, I'm paying almost a hundred dollars per month. If you've been driving for a long time, it could go down.
7) TIME EVERYTHING. Once you pay and get a car, the dealer would usually have it go through detailing. As such, it might take another day before you could get it all dolled up. BUT, there has been instances that some buyers would insist on getting them on that day right there and then. They have this right but I opted for mine to be fixed and cleaned first.
8) ASK FOR DISCOUNT or add-ons. It would be best to know and see the at-cost amount of the car. By going through the different websites online, you could compare the real price each unit has. It doesn't also hurt asking what else you could get for free. When I bought my car, I was able to see the AT COST amount and get free tint as well. Plus, they delivered the car to my place of residence after everything was done.
9) DON'T FORGET ABOUT PAYING FOR THE TAX. Where I am, the tax added around $3, 000. This plus other payments would definitely add to what you're paying monthly. SO, remember about adding a little buffer in your monthly budget.
10) ENJOY THE RIDE! One tip I need to learn is to use the car. It can get scary at times since the rules of the road is different from Manila but you got to start somehow. Look at that beauty. Love the color!
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By the way, the dealer takes care of the registration for one year. You get a temporary one that is good for a few weeks. In case you haven't seen it, in Arizona, you only get one car plate for the back. Interesting right? Enjoy Driving!
Disclaimer: This was written based on my experience and opinions. Information here might not be up to date or might be inaccurate. Please visit the state's DMV website for your inquiries. I'm not a subject matter expert on buying cars and the state law.