Buying a car is a hassle. Whilst pregnant with my our little girl, we traipsed all over Melbourne looking for the best deal for the Ford Focus I had in mind. At the time we decided to take out a personal loan for the car with the intention of paying back the loan ASAP, which we did.
We found a great little Zetec from a respectable looking guy in St Kilda who lived near the beach. We took it for a ride around the block. He gave us a neat sales pitch and we happily gave him a small deposit ($100) before walking away to do our checks and research on the car.
Beware of scammers when buying a car
The finance company came to our rescue when they discovered a flaw in our plan. Their super-sleuthing unveiled that our ‘respectable’ looking and honest-sounding man in St Kilda was more of the dodgy not do-good type. Further digging around revealed his company owned the car. Even worse – the company was in liquidation!
Eventually we purchased the Ford Focus from a young woman we’d been keeping our eye on. She was leaving the country in a few days and was getting desperate for a sale. I was also very close to popping out my little peach, so the sale was timely at both ends. Despite a few very odd scratches around the door (where she’d had trouble finding the driver’s door keyhole), the car was a gem.
Of course, I still daydream about owning my dream car. I can picture myself in a sporty little Mini Cooper or a big bad-ass Chrysler. Not sure which yet. I’d like a car with all the trimmings. As a typical mum who lives in her car, I’d like a more luxurious vessel for providing me a home between lives! One between laundry loads and life at the office!
12 top-notch tips for buying a car
- Decide whether you wish to buy a new or used car. Remember, that new cars lose value the minute you drive them out of the car yard.
- Test drive the car you wish to own. At this point avoid actually buying it. Move into research mode.
- Compare cars online to find the best price for the car you wish to own.
- Compare prices online and do your homework.
- Do research on the vehicle’s reliability, fuel efficiency and safety history.
- Check the vehicle is not under finance etc. Google a ‘Car Buying Checklist’ for your region and work down it meticulously.
- Get the car checked out by a mechanic and do all the regular checks on your checklist.
- Try to do your deal over email, so you have all the questions answered in writing. Keep a paper trail.
- Make an offer, go in hard and be ready to walk away.
- Try not to make any emotional buys. There are plenty of cars around waiting for an owner.
- Unless you are in business and you can get a deduction avoid buying a car under hire purchase. If you have to do this, pay the money back as soon as possible. E.g. Within a few months if you have the money.
- Don’t purchase a car that is beyond your needs or buy a car if you can’t afford it.
Most importantly, buy a car that fits your budget and lifestyle. Do you really need a massive 4-wheel drive if you live in the inner city? And finally, once you have your beautiful new car – look after it. Maintain it well and service it regularly for resale purposes down the track. Enjoy life in your new car. You deserve it!