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If you’re a first-time car buyer and new to online car buying, there are a few things you need to understand and keep in mind before you start the purchase process.
First of all, online car buying is super simple and ultra-convenient. You get to research and shop for your dream car from the comfort of your own home. There are no pushy salesmen to deal with, no haggling, or head games.
It's just a straightforward process where we find exactly what you tell us to look for. Oh, and once we find it and you make the purchase we deliver the car right to your driveway. You’re welcome.
While online car buying is completely different from traditional car shopping, there are some similarities and things you should be aware of before you start clicking, especially if this is your first car purchase.
So, buckle up while we take you through three key components of a new car purchase: your down payment, monthly payment, and insurance.
When it comes to your down payment, you need to assess how much money you are comfortable parting with on the day of the sale. In other words, this is the amount of money you want to put towards the total cost of the car up front.
Although most dealers would prefer you fork over anywhere between ten to twenty percent of the car's total cost as your down payment, increasingly the average down payment is closer to five percent.
That said, there are plenty of consumers who put zero dollars towards a down payment. The choice is yours.
What you want to consider is how much you intend to commit to your monthly payments. Generally speaking, a larger down payment up front will result in lower monthly payments on average; while small or zero down payments will return much higher monthly payments.
Something else to consider is the length of your loan term. You want to avoid extending the length of your loan term as much as possible. Some consumers make the mistake of lengthening the life of their loan so that they can make smaller monthly payments.
The trick here is that you'll end up paying more overall, thanks to interest.
A word of caution about down payments. While it's true that a sizable down payment can help lower your monthly payments, be sure to consult with your online car dealer about finance specials and options, especially if you have outstanding credit.
Consumers will strong credit scores might be eligible for interest rates as low as one percent, in which case, holding onto some cash might be a more financially savvy option compared to shelling out more than necessary.
With a low APR you might only accrue a small fraction of interest over the course of your loan, in which case, you'll get more bang for you buck by allowing your money to mature in your bank account.
Once you've established your down payment and understand what your monthly payment will be, as well as the length of your auto loan, you want to be super vigilant about submitting your payment on time.
A monthly payment on an auto loan is like a double-edged sword.
How so? Well, if you're making your payments on time - or better yet, early - your credit gets a serious boost.
However, if you are late with your monthly payment, or worse - if you miss your payment entirely, your credit will take a ding. Keep it up and that ding will turn into a serious hit.
Now, this is problematic not just the next time you need to secure an automotive loan at a reasonable rate, but anytime you need a loan or other line of credit, whether for a house, small business, or just basic line of credit.
A smart, actually a no-brainer way to manage your monthly payments without worry or mishap is to set up automatic payments from your checking account online.
Doing this will save you from negatively impacting, however inadvertent it may be, your overall credit score. You don't want your auto loan to become a scary chapter in your credit history, so set yourself up for success by creating automatic online payments for your auto loan.
No doubt you're already familiar with insurance, at least as a concept. Insurance is designed to protect you from misfortune, or as Dean Winters says in the Allstate commercials, "From Mayhem, like me."
Now, there are plenty of car insurance agencies to choose from. We suggest you shop around and do some comparative research before you sign up for one coverage over another.
Depending on your driving record, credit score, and other factors, including profession - some places of employment offer breaks on various insurance policies - you'll be able to find the right insurance plan for you.
Similar to your car payment, you can elect to pay your insurance premium on a monthly basis; however, some companies offers one annual payment, so you can pay it and forget about it. Another option is to make two payments, one every six months, to cover your annual auto insurance.
Whatever payment schedule you choose, we recommend you set up automatic payments for this, too. Late or missed payments can jeopardize your coverage, which means that if you are in an accident of some kind, the coverage you think you have may, in fact, have been canceled. Now you're really up a creek…
Speaking of accidents, mishaps, or - ahem- mayhem, make sure you are practicing safe driving behind the wheel, and not just for your own physical well-being and the well-being of others.
Bear in mind that things like traffic tickets, fender benders, and other kinds of auto accidents or collisions will negatively impact your insurance in that you can expect your insurance premium and your required payment to rise.
This holds true even if you were not found at fault for the accident. So, be careful on the road. Practice good defensive driving and stay alert. In other words, put the phone down. Safety first.
Actually, speaking of safety, some insurance agencies will reward you for safe driving and a clean driving record over a specific duration of time. For some, your record is evaluated every six months, and for others, it's done on a yearly basis. From there, your insurance premium is adjusted accordingly.
Don't be daunted by your first car purchase. You're already making life so much easier for yourself by opting for online car buying. We encourage you to take similar convenience measures with respect to your payments.
Heed our advice and you're sure to enjoy the ride!