Don’t let the stress of buying a car in Houston Scare you. Despite the 50 dealerships along every freeway, the process can be made very simple. But when you prepare well for buying a car and deal with a professional, customer-centric dealership, the process can be pleasant and even fun. Here are some steps for removing the unknown and reducing stress the next time you shop for a car.
1. Know What You Should Spend on a New Car
Before browsing the nearest Toyota dealership, understand what you can spend on a car. If you don’t have a budget, you might find yourself pining after a truck or car you simply can’t afford. First, take a realistic look at your monthly income and expenses.
How much can you afford to pay each month on a vehicle? Next, check your credit report to get a FICO score so you know what type of interest rate you might be dealing with. You can use a number of online calculators to find out how much vehicle you can afford at certain monthly payments and interest rates.
What to Spend on a New Car Checklist: Things to Consider
- FICO Score / AKA Your Credit and Borrowing Power
- Financing a Car or Paying Cash?
- What Problems is Your Car Saving?
- Can You Save Money by Buying a Car?
- What is the KBB (Kelly Blue Book) Value?
2. Understand What You Need in a Vehicle
Once you know how much you can spend, figure out what you need in a vehicle. If you’re planning to use the vehicle for outdoor labor that involves hauling large objects or loads, you’ll need a truck. Families that travel a lot might want a comfortable sedan that gets good gas mileage, and if you regularly haul a bus-load of kids, you’re probably looking for an SUV such as the Highlander.
3. Do Some Research Before Buying a Car in Houston
A good Toyota dealership gives you all the facts, but it doesn’t hurt to show up prepared. Start with information from the manufacture’s and dealership websites, and do some outside research to find out more about the models you are considering and possible pricing.
Ready to Learn? Find out, “What Kind of Car is Right For Me?” now.
Remember that the Internet provides valuable information, but it isn’t always infallible, so use the data you find as a starting place to ask intelligent questions when you’re at the dealership.
4. Find a Local Dealership
When buying a car in Houston, you probably want to work with a local dealership known for good deals and honest business practices. You can research dealerships online to find a convenient location.
5. Take a Test Drive – Or Two
You might think one vehicle seems perfect for you and your family, but a few minutes behind the wheel shows you that the car isn’t quite right for you.
A test drive lets you get a feel for how a vehicle will fit your needs.
When buying a car in Houston, test drive several makes and models to get an appreciation for how you feel about different interior and exterior options. If you are shopping used cars, you can even stop by your personal mechanic to have them give the car a quick look and a stamp of approval before you make a purchase.
6. Work with the Dealer on Financing if Necessary
Unless you’re prepared to pay cash when buying a car in Houston, you’ll need a lender to back your purchase.
Either come prepared with a loan from your own bank or work with the dealer for financing. Dealers can often get you a better deal on interest rates and terms because they work with a number of banks at one time and can present you with those options.
Toyota financing can be pretty forgiving with credit; just be prepared to answer some questions.
7. Enjoy Your New Car
Finally, roll off the lot of your favorite Toyota dealership and enjoy your new ride. Make sure all your questions are answered before you leave so you don’t have to worry about your new purchase, and ensure insurance transfers are handled before tires hit non-dealership pavement just in case a freak accident occurs.
Once you know the right steps to buying a car, the process is less stressful and you might find that it goes faster than planned. Enjoy your new car – and look forward to your next purchasing adventure.