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Buying A New Vehicle

Step 1: Know Your Shopping Style

Even with the large amount of automotive information available on the internet, many people still purchase new cars within only a few days of making the decision to buy. This leaves a huge opportunity for a buyer to be sold a car, that he or she may not actually have wanted, rather than making an informed purchase decision to buy a car.


Remember, as the buyer, you should be the one in control throughout the entire process, and you should be making many choices along the way before you even step into a dealership. With so much reliable information available, even if you already have a strong preference about the vehicle you want, if you take some time to do some research and be open-minded you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.


Here's one way to start: Take a look at the following list of different types of shoppers and decide which one best describes you. After that, begin your vehicle search by using one of the convenient short cuts shown below, or simply follow all 10 Steps to Buying a New Car to cover all the bases.


Value Shopper

You want a good price, but you are willing to pay for quality.

Short Cut: Check out J.D. Power quality ratings on the vehicles you are interested in.


Image Shopper

You are concerned with what your vehicle says about you. Does it project a desirable image?

Short Cut: Review the top most researched vehicles in the category you're shopping.


Methodical Shopper

You enjoy the chase as much as the conquest, and cover every base, becoming somewhat of a new-car expert.

Short Cut: Go through the entire "10 Steps to Buying a New Car" process.


Safety-Conscious Shopper

You want a safe and reliable vehicle you can trust to keep you and your family safe on the road.

Short Cut: Read about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's new Government 5-Star Safety ratings system


Whatever your shopping style, the information you gather and the effort you put into the process will serve you well and help you avoid the buyer's remorse that often accompanies automotive purchases.


Step 2: Narrow Down Your List

Let Your New Vehicle Find You

With over hundreds of new makes and models available, how do you narrow down your list? To some extent, your lifestyle can help. Imagine the activities you'll experience in your new vehicle. If you have small children, you need something that's roomy enough for everything you have to take with you and is also strong on safety features. Or perhaps you care more about performance or style. Or maybe you have a job in sales and need something suitable for taking clients to lunch. If it has to haul or tow something, the choices are pretty obvious. 


When considering the purchase of a car, everything counts: Number of seats, number of doors, size, performance, color, style, comfort and sometimes even towing capacity. The key is to narrow your search by creating a short list of choices before ever stepping into a dealership. Where to start? Well, with the convenience of the internet and great sites like kbb.com, easy-to-use decision guides can help you narrow your list of candidates in a short time. 


Side-By-Side Comparisons

Another tool that will help you narrow your search is the Side-By-Side Comparison, which allows you to compare specifications and see which features are standard or optional on each new car. This is an especially helpful exercise when you are down to just a few vehicles and want to compare finer points or features. 


These easy-to-use internet tools put you in a position to effortlessly analyze your choices before making your final decision. Avoid making the common mistake of impulse buying. A minor delay in automotive gratification is worth the time spent, especially when receiving that information from a trusted source. Kelley Blue Book takes pride in serving you with the information you need, when you need it the most.



Step 3: Calculate What is Affordable


Let Your Budget Do the Driving

When considering a new vehicle purchase, the lines of affordability can easily become blurred due to the varied financing options available. A wise buyer shops for a new vehicle based upon what he or she can truly afford. Keep an open mind and you could be pleasantly surprised by the list of vehicles within your price range. 


Affordability is a multi-faceted issue because the car-buying process can consist of several financial considerations. It will help if you determine, accurately and honestly, what your current car is worth, how much of a down payment you can make and a reasonable amount you can handle for monthly payments. Some careful thought and cold, hard honesty will pay big benefits later. Far too many buyers shop for cars that are beyond their budgets, want small down payments, drastically misjudge their capabilities regarding monthly payments and then want to reduce the monthly payments by stretching out the lengths of the loans, all of which leads to trouble in the future.

Another key element is deciding what to do with the current car. As a general rule, it may be worth more to sell it yourself, to a private party, than to trade it in. But many people don't want to take the time and make the effort to do that. You should understand that if you trade it in you will probably not get as much for it as if you sell it yourself.

The biggest issue for most buyers is the price of the new car. Fortunately, determining the MSRP is easy, and figuring at least a range for a realistic transaction price is also not terribly difficult.

Step 4: Do Your Research Online

What makes a new car the best new car for you? 


With the incredible amount of data available, what specifically should you research? There are pricing and equipment options to consider, but what else should be of concern? Other important facts to discover include information about safety, quality and five-year cost of ownership. These ratings can help you achieve some needed peace-of-mind. Then, follow up by researching owner opinions and expert reviews. 



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