Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

6 Factors to Consider When Buying Your First Car

Buying your first car is hands down one of the most exciting milestones in your life. However, with so many factors involved in making such an expensive purchase, it is common to be confused about the what-ifs.

Approaching the decision to buy a car involves a lot of variables, including looking through the best online car buying sites, checking the kind of budget you have, considering if you want to buy a new or used car, etc. 

In this guide, we will take you through all the important factors that you need to consider before buying your first car.

1. Budget

It goes without saying that when you are making such a hefty purchase, considering your budget and finances is crucial. Establishing a realistic budget is essential to ensure that you can afford not only the purchase price but also the ongoing costs associated with car ownership.

When considering the budget, you have to pay close attention to the purchase price and also the allied expenses like taxes, registration fees, and any additional accessories or add-ons you may want.

Besides that, you also have to pay attention to the financing options if you aren’t paying for the car upfront. When exploring the options, explore your loan options, interest rates, and monthly payment plans.

2. New or used

The next factor that’s worth paying attention to is whether you want to buy a brand-new or a used car. Deciding between a new or used car is a fundamental choice that can significantly impact your budget and the overall value you receive.

To be fair, each of these options comes with its list of pros and cons.

  • With new cars, you get warranties, reducing the risk of unexpected repair costs. Furthermore, they are equipped with the latest technology and safety features. Not to mention that their fuel efficiency is better than a used car.
  • With used cars, you can buy a car at a much lower cost than a new one. Also, they experience less depreciation compared to new cars, which can lose value rapidly in the first few years. You also have a broader range of options to choose from based on your budget.

Whatever you choose, it is ideal that you sit down, do your research, and prioritize your long-term goals with the car in your life.

3. Researching makes and models

Once you have decided how much budget you wish to set aside and the kind of car you wish to buy, the next step in your car buying journey is to research different types of makes and models.

You want to look through consumer reviews, reliability ratings from organizations like Consumer Reports, and discussions on automotive forums can provide valuable insights into a vehicle’s dependability to make your decision.

Also, when checking out the make and model, ensure that you pay close attention to the size and the shape of the car too. Do you need a compact car for city commuting, or do you require an SUV for a growing family? Assess how the car’s size and features align with your intended use.

Lastly, you have to prioritize the resale value of the car down the road. Since cars are depreciating assets, you want to buy one that will offer comparably good resale values.

4. Inspection of the car

Whenever we buy something new, we try it and assess it. Be it for clothes, homes, or your car. Irrespective of whether you are buying a new or a used car, proper car inspection is mandatory.

Some of the factors that you have to prioritize are:

Vehicle history report – Obtain a vehicle history report using the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This report provides information about the car’s past, including accidents, title status, and maintenance records.

Test drive – It doesn’t matter if it’s a new or a used car, a test drive is mandatory to assess if it’s something you are comfortable driving and spending your money on.

Inspection by a mechanic – If you want to take things up by a notch, we’d recommend you hire a mechanic to let them inspect the car and its efficiency. This comes in handy especially if you are buying a used car.

Lastly, we’d recommend that you always negotiate the price. And, not just for used vehicles, even for new vehicles, you have the margin to negotiate your prices and reach a price that works for the seller and for you.

5. Understand ownership costs

The last thing that you need to pay close attention to is the ownership cost. Owing a car comes with recurring costs that you have to pay without fail if you want your car to be driven on the road.

From insurance to maintenance and the depreciating cost, there are several factors that you need to pay close attention to when it comes to owning your vehicle.

When you are buying your first car, we recommend that you contact insurance companies to get quotes for the cars you’re considering.

Furthermore, research the typical maintenance costs and the availability of affordable parts for the specific make and model you’re interested in. Also, remember that new cars depreciate faster than used and older cars, so make your choices accordingly.

6. Resale value

Down the line, maybe 10-15-20 years later, you will want to sell your first car and upgrade to a better one.

In such scenarios, you want to prioritize the resale value of the car. Some cars hold their value better than others, meaning you could get more money back when you decide to sell or trade in the vehicle. Research the resale value of the car you’re interested in to understand its long-term financial implications.


If you are in the process of buying your first car, don’t rush things. Take your time to assess what’s right and check out your available options. Sometimes, it’s okay to slow down and delay the purchase if you are sure that you will make a good decision with the car purchase in the long run.