Three Things to Consider If You’re Shopping For Cars


If you?re looking for a car, you might feel overwhelmed with choice among all the new and used cars available on the market. What?s the best value for your money? Do you want to look at cars or at trucks; and what about SUVs? Should you be hunting for new or used cars? Do you want a luxury car or a performance vehicle? A lot of these things will come down to your personal preferences, but there are some things worth considering no matter what type or color you prefer. Here are three important things to think about when looking for any car:

Used Cars Are Worth Looking Into

You might be thinking about a used car only in terms of saving some money, but shopping for a used car might not only save you money, but also provide you with a great deal on a reliable vehicle. Of course there are some real lemons out there; but there are also great cars at decent prices that will be reliable for years to come.

The average car in the United States goes through three owners, and three out of every four vehicles sold or traded in America are used. That means there are plenty of good cars out there just waiting to be picked up. To find the best value, you can look, for example, look for certified pre owned vehicles. These have a maintenance history and have been checked carefully before being sold. You’re also a lot safer buying a used car from a reputable dealer rather than privately.

Factor in Depreciation

If you are considering new vs used cars, depreciation is a big consideration. As soon as a car is bought and driven off the lot, it loses a fairly large chunk of its value. This doesn?t mean you can?t buy a new car, but there are some things to think about. Depreciation matters a lot if you?re keeping the car for fewer than five years. If you plan on keeping it longer, depreciation isn?t nearly so much of an issue.

Certain cars hold their value much better than others. The depreciation depends on the make and model, under what conditions it has been driven, how well the car has been maintained, and even things like general popularity and the price of gas.

The GMC Terrain, for example, has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as #7 of 18 in the best compact SUVs category. A car with a rating like this will hold value longer than one without such an endorsement. But just because a car depreciates quickly doesn?t necessarily mean it?s worthless. It just means that people don?t want to pay a lot for that model used. There can be many reasons why, and it’s worth doing your homework.

Consider Both Buying and Leasing

There are advantages and disadvantages to both if you’re looking at new cars in particular. Leased cars do away most of the hassles of long-term maintenance. You get a reliable new vehicle every few years and never have to worry about selling it. But buying has advantages, too. Obviously once you?ve paid off the loan the vehicle is entirely yours to keep, sell, donate, or do whatever! If you?re able to buy the car outright, you save a lot of money off a loan or a lease. And paying off a car loan increases your personal equity.

If you?re trying to decide, consider what savings you have and how much you can put down for a down payment. Think about your monthly cash flow and whether it can cover a loan (usually more expensive) or a lease (usually less). How much do you need to drive? If you go over a certain mileage on a lease, you?ll have to pay for each mile.

88% of people in the United States owned a car in 2014, and that percentage doesn?t change much. You?re likely one of the ones who do, or you soon will be. As you consider your options, look for dealers who can help you make informed, wise decisions on the best value for your money.

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