Five questions to ask yourself before buying a car

Find out know what car's right for you and your budget with our handy tips

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GN Focus

There are some amazing car deals in shops across the UAE right now, but buying a car comes with, in most cases, a loan, maintenance fees and other expenses. How do you know what car's right for you and your budget? Read on to find out!

How much car can you afford?

Take a look at your budget and figure out how much money you’ve got left after the basic needs of rent or mortgage and utilities. Come up with a monthly number and run it through an online calculator to see how much car that will get you.

For example, Dh1,500 a month for 48 months will buy you Dh72,000 of car, assuming a Dh14,000 down payment, and a low interest rate. Never extend a car loan beyond 60 months as you run the risk of owing more than the car is worth.

Does it fit your lifestyle?

People often have an emotional reaction to cars and make a purchasing decision based purely on looks or performance. But for those whose hearts aren’t set on a particular vehicle, a few lifestyle considerations will help narrow the search. Ask yourself questions such as: Do you have kids or plan to start a family soon? Do you find yourself occasionally renting or borrowing a larger vehicle for big furniture or hardware store hauls? Do you like to pack your car with friends to head to the beach or rarely have passengers? Do you want a connected car that would add to your productivity and perhaps increase resale value?

The answers should narrow down your options. Then compare fuel economy and cargo volume for each of the ones you like. 

Research the model

Once you’ve narrowed down your search you must still research each model thoroughly to understand its weak points, typical repair and cost intervals and price points. Online blogs for that model vehicle can be a great help.

To lease or to finance?

Leasing a car is similar to financing the purchase of the car in many ways, but there are some key differences. You might be able to get more car for less money by leasing. That’s because a car loan is based on the full price of a new car, while a lease is based on only a percentage of the car’s price.

With a car lease, you only pay the difference between the car’s price and what it’s expected to be worth at the end of the lease, which is a car’s residual value. However, if you do decide to finance a car, be certain you will still love it six years from now. 

Let the salesperson do most of the talking

Once you’re in the dealership a good tip is to let the car salesperson ask the questions and only answer those questions. Don’t say you love a certain car and don’t share anything about how much you can pay, both in terms of the total price and monthly payment. Be polite but play your cards close to your chest.

Right now it’s a buyer’s market, so keep them guessing and you could snap up a great deal.

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