In this edition of ‘TDC Contributions’, TDC’s good friend Nick Paquin provides some sage advice for first time car buyers, drawn from his own experiences. If you have an interesting idea or a well written article for ‘TDC Contributions’, send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turbos, superchargers, and V8 engines are amazing qualities in cars, but they’re not the things someone might aim for when buying their first car after college.
Most recent college graduates are heading into the work force with an enormous amount of debt. Typically, the first car someone will buy will be either a standard entry level car like the Nissan Versa or Kia Rio, or they may head for a used car. Even though these more sedate cars might not be what someone is really excited abut buying, they do have certain qualities that can make then a great buy.
Tim Hogan, a sales representative for Bonneville and Son’s in Hooksett New Hampshire, explained that most dealers have “first time buyer” programs. These programs usually apply to recent graduates who have never bought a car and have little to no credit. These programs offer a unique opportunity for them to get a lower interest rate on a car, rather than going through the bank and carrying a higher interest rate. The program also saves the buyer some money and gives them a chance to re-finance after about a year of payments.
If a new Rio or Versa doesn’t tickle a buyer’s fancy, then they will be pointed into used car territory. And in this territory, especially with a first time car purchaser, there are many chances for someone to spend too much money on what could be a beater or lemon because the salesperson might just see dollar signs when helping a nervous young adult. Through my own personal experience of purchasing vehicles, and test-driving numerous cars, there are a couple of important rules that should be taken into consideration before visiting a dealership or talking to a salesperson.
First – A buyer must know his or her own financial situation. Too many times people go to buy a car and when they get there, realize that the price they want to pay doesn’t even come close to allowing them to buy the car they were looking at. Paul Schmitt at Kia in Concord, NH stated that most people aren’t aware of their credit score and because that factor directly applies to the purchase of the car, some people are in for a rude awakening.
Next – Buy for purpose, not pleasure. Until a buyer can afford the amazing car they really want (it wouldn’t matter if it’s uncomfortable or that it drains gas as much as final exams drain college students), they should try and be realistic with the purchase. A buyer should know what they are primarily going to use the car for and buy one that fits that specific purpose.
Finally, buyers should educate themselves. Once they have found the car they want, whether it is new or used, research that car. Knowing more about the particular make and model of the car than the salesman, makes someone stronger and leverages his or her options when it comes to making that first big automotive purchase.
-Written By: Nick Paquin