You’ve heard the congratulatory cheers from your friends and family members, experienced more hugs, handshakes, and cheek pinches than you’d like, and ate enough ConGRADulations! cake to feed a small village. What’s next?
A Brand! New! Car!
Don’t fret at the prospect of buying a car; it’s a fun experience that everyone should get to have, including you. Review our car buying tips below, and re-launch into your twenty-somethings with a new set of wheels.
The Essentials of Car Buying 101
You thought you finished your education?
Purchasing a car for the first time on your own may seem like a daunting task, but what it comes down to is knowing this: you’re the one in power. You make the decisions; you’re the one who decides if your salesperson deserves a commission. Once you step into that showroom—whether it’s ours at Knudtsen Chevrolet or another—you are King or Queen of its domain.
Broken down, here’s how you should proceed with buying a car.
First and foremost, you need some sort of credit. Is your credit score not up to par? Have no fear, many will work with you no matter what your credit score is. There are also a few things you can do to improve your credit score. One option for short-term credit improvement is to take out a small loan through peer-to-peer lending services like LendingTree or open up a low- or zero-APR credit card. Use these sources of credit to pay for small-ticket items like groceries, gardening supplies, a piece of cheap furniture, etc. Pay the charges off before interest rates take over. After a few months, your credit rating should be manageable.
Define a Budget
Adulting is all about finding what will make you happy—life is short, after all. But just because you think you’d look fly in that Lamborghini doesn’t mean you should buy it straight out of university.When it comes to car buying, it’s generally acceptable to budget out approximately 20% of your annual net income toward its purchase. Factor in insurance rates, yearly registration fees, estimations on maintenance and repair costs, taxes, dealership fees, and down payments—woof.
If you’re expecting to secure a car loan through the dealer, always bring several pieces of mail, identifying documents, and some proof of employment with you.
Since life can force-feed you lemons at any time, a budget is necessary if you want to stay out of that sour, debt-filled hole.
New or Used?
Ah…the conundrum that has held humankind back for decades. “Should I buy a new or used car?” The decision to buy new or used is certainly based on the determined budget, but it ultimately comes down to the buyer’s personality.Most college grads fall into the category of “used car owner.” Buying a used car is more affordable, and late-model used cars are as good an investment in the automotive world as it gets; they have mostly the same safety and entertainment features as newer models; and are low in miles.
For those who have little automotive acumen or dislike the idea of having to repair their car, buying new is an appealing option. Not only does a new car come with a warranty, but you can also negotiate dealership service and maintenance plans into the purchase. Although buying a new car is a significant monetary commitment, you are awarded all the newest bells and whistles regarding Search our new car inventory for an idea of what’s out there.
Leasing a car is another option that’s rising in popularity amongst younger adults. Similar to the idea of renting an apartment, leasing a car leaves you with nothing at the end of the term. Then again, with a relatively low down payment and monthly payments, it is often the most affordable option for college-aged adults.
Research Your Heart Out
The bulk of the car-buying journey will be in this research phase. As with any journey of substance, planning is essential to its success. With a budget set and the decision to rent, buy, or lease out of the way, you can now break out the Venn Diagrams you’d learned in elementary school to compare and contrast the vehicles you’d like.Does body style matter? Sedans and coupes are ideal for single city-bound bachelors and bachelorettes while an SUV is a better investment for married couples looking to start a family.
Is MPG important? If so, a hybrid or electric is an obvious choice, but keep in mind; they come with costlier repairs and (often) the need for a recharge station at your home. Instead, it might be best to focus your attention on some modern fuel-efficient cars, such as the Chevy Cruze.
Will you travel a lot, or are you a homebody? Do you commute long distances to work? Do certain features matter more than others? What common problems are associated with each make and model of vehicle? And on and on….
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a select few vehicles and evaluated their prices, you can start researching dealerships—reviews are a great place to begin—and schedule test drives. If you live in the Spokane area, Knudtsen Chevrolet is our obvious choice as your starting point to find everything from new cars to vehicles under $10k.
Yes. This is the fun part.
Prepare to Sign the Contract
Always expect to go into the dealership with the intention of walking away without a car. Always. That way you’re never pressured into a vehicle you might not really feel.If buying a new car, ask about incentives—many dealerships offer college discounts, have military rebate programs, etc.—that may lower your initial costs, bring up comparisons online to see if they can beat the advertised prices, discuss the options to lease or buy, and be sure to barter as if you were Don Draper. Make sure you articulate that your budget is not We’re playing hardball, here.
The process of buying a used car is slightly different; you’ll absolutely want to bring the vehicle to a trusted mechanic or dealership that has knowledge of that particular make and model. Finding hidden problems now will aid in negotiations, or completely turn you off from purchasing that car.
You’ll also want a vehicle history report to investigate how the previous owner(s) treated the car. If the report shows the vehicle had repeated repairs, infrequent maintenance service, or a litany of work performed right before it was put up as a used car for sale, it might be cause for concern. The inside of the vehicle can also be a crystal ball into the vehicle’s future problems; steer clear if there are cigarette burns, large tears, ridiculous stains, or an unpleasant odor.
Those speed bumps and tight turns feel different now that you own your own car, right? Good.
Chevrolet Incentives: College Student Discount Program
While many dealers have incentives, Knudtsen Chevrolet is proud to be a part of Chevrolet’s College Student Discount Program. If you’ve earned a degree from a two- or four-year university within the last two years, or currently attend college or nursing school, you can take advantage of this discount on any new or select pre-owned vehicles. You can even combine this discount with other specials and incentives listed on our site.
Congratulations are in order—not just because you’ve earned that piece of paper that legitimizes your ability to succeed, but also because you’re ready to slide into the driver’s seat that is adulthood.
If you’re starting your search for used cars in Spokane, feel free to come to our showroom at 1900 E Polston Ave in Post Falls, ID, for the area’s best deals on both new and used cars. Whether you’re in the market for a supremely rugged Chevy Silverado or a more compact Cruze, our inventory of vehicles is sure to please.