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Hastings & Hastings’ Guide to Buying a New Car

July 8, 2016 Hastings and Hastings

Here at Hastings & Hastings our goals are twofold. First, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of accident victims through legal actions while helping them put their lives back together following an accident. Second, we are we are committed to helping people stay safe in their daily lives by promoting accident prevention. We value these goals because they are community focused on a micro and macro level. We aim to help specific individuals knowing that individuals form the fabric of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area. We also hope to influence the safety and well being of the community as a whole.

With the help of a legal team that has over 90 years combined experience working in the field of personal injury law, we have worked to make the Hastings & Hastings blog THE best source for information regarding a wide range of topics from personal injury law and shopping for car insurance to highway safety and accident prevention. Today, we are going to discuss an issue that everyone will face one day in their life. The need to buy a new car. Whether your old car is getting long in the tooth, or it was damaged in an accident, or you are just ready for a change. Eventually, the time will come when you need to buy acar. Do you feel prepared

Buying a car is not something most of us do very often. For that reason, it is okay if you feel unsure about how to best go about the process. Buying a car is a big deal. It is a large financial commitment. You are bringing something into your life that will, hopefully, be around for a very long time. When it comes time to buy a new car, you want to make sure you get things right. Today, Hastings & Hastings offers our guide to buying a new car.

Wandering Through the Wilderness: How to Get Started

Alright. Whatever your reason may be, you have decided to buy a new (for you) car. Well, what are you waiting for? Why don’t you just go out and get one? Because it really isn’t that easy is it? A million questions, concerns, and ideas probably started bouncing around in your head the moment you decided it was time to buy a car. As always, the way to tackle a big problem or project is to break it down into smaller problems and to do things step-by-step. That is exactly the approach we are going to be taking.

Before you think about leasing vs. buying, finding financing, securing insurance, or negotiating about the specifics of a warranty, you have to decided what type of car you want. There we have our first step – picking out a car.

Now, we have to put together a whole new set of steps. First, you need to decide what matters most to you in a car. Are you primarily concerned about value, about maximizing the value of the car and minimizing the totally costs regardless of how time consuming that process may be? Are you primarily concerned about the appearance/function/features of the car? Is safety your number one concern? Are longevity and reliability the two most important issues for you?

Make a list of your primary concerns. Order them from most important to least important. Decide which issues are non-negotiable and which ones you are willing to have a little wiggle room on. Currently, there are 226 different car models sold in the United States. The availability of so many options can feel paralyzing. Creating a list of priorities and concerns will help you narrow down your options and give you an easier starting point.

Now that you have started narrowing down your options, it is time to get more specific. This is when you can use specific details to further eliminate other options. How many seats do you need? Do you want a hatchback or a sedan? Do you need four-wheel drive? Do you care about towing capacity? Answering each of these questions will help you narrow your search and get you closer to picking out a car.

Of course, there is one important issue which takes precedent over all of these concerns. It is one we will address now. Budget.

Establishing a Budget: Calculating What You Can Afford

You can have all the wants, dreams, and desires in the world, but when it comes down to it, you should never step out of your budget when purchasing a car. Figuring out the affordability of a car can be complicated. There are many factors to consider beyond just the sticker price you see in the showroom.

Every household and family is different, but when establishing a budget for a car there is a simple formula you can follow. Begin by taking 10 percent of your gross monthly income. This is the amount of money you have BEFORE you pay your bills. Next, subtract the value of your monthly insurance premium from this 10 percent. Now, you have an amount which you can use to make monthly car payments. There is nothing wrong with stretching this amount and using up to 20 percent of your gross monthly income if that is something that works for your family. It is all about finding the right, unique number for you and your family.

Remember, cars begin losing value the moment you drive them off the lot. You want to avoid getting yourself into a difficult to manage financial situation. Reselling a car to recoup sunk money almost never works.

Discussing Price

By now you have a budget and a small list of cars that could potentially fill your needs. Now it is time to do some real shopping. To do this, you are probably going to head out to the dealerships. You are almost always going to enter into negotiations over the price of the vehicle when buying from a dealership. It is a good idea to become familiar with many of the pricing terms they may use.

MSRP: MSRP stands for “manufacturer’s suggested retail price.” This is a number that is established by the manufacturer of the car, not the dealership itself. By law, this price must be prominently displayed on any vehicle sold in the Unites States. This is not the final price of the car. Vehicles often sell for higher and lower than the MSRP.

Invoice Price: Knowing the invoice price of a car is a very useful tool when negotiating with a dealer. This is the price the dealer paid for the car. You would think that selling the car for anything less than the invoice price would result in a loss for the dealership, but there is a little more to the story than that. Often, incentives or other factors may lower the true cost for the dealership. However, knowing this number gives you a general idea of how the dealer may be able to go in negotiations.

Fair Purchase Price: Kelley Blue Book’s Fair Purchase Price, updated weekly, is one of the best ways to determine the fair price for a vehicle. It shows the actual price consumers are paying for specific makes and models. It depicts only real transaction data independent of influence by dealers or manufacturers.

Using all of these tools in conjunction traditional bargaining techniques can help you get the best possible deal on a vehicle.

In Conclusion

Purchasing a car is a major decision. One you shouldn’t take likely. As you can see, there is a lot to consider when car shopping. You must pick one perfect vehicle out of a selection of over 200 makes and models. You have to balance your finances and establish a monthly budget. Finally, even when you know what you want and how much you are able to pay, you have to negotiate with a dealership. And we haven’t even mentioned financing, warranties, and buying vs. leasing, all topics we will discuss later this month. However, now you should have the tools you need to start the process.

If you have been involved in an accident of any kind, it is important to explore your legal options. Call Hastings & Hastings today at (480)706-1100 to schedule a FREE legal consultation. With over 35 years defending the rights of accident victims in Arizona, Hastings & Hastings has the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.