When it comes to choosing ideal travel companions, the right car or truck can be the most important travel companion you can choose! Think about it; regardless of who’s riding shotgun, your vehicle will be with you on every journey whether that means epic road-trips, or simply driving back and forth to work.
Obviously, everyone wants the best and has some idea of what that perfect car or truck looks like: Leather seats, cherry red paint job, amazing sound system, rearview camera, the list goes on and on. That said, the real challenge of choosing your perfect vehicle, is making sure you get the best you can at a price you can afford. To take your ‘dream vehicle’ out of your dreams and into reality; here are some things you should consider:
How good (or bad) is your credit?
Oh, credit, the looming number that affects many of those big purchases we all want to make. Buying the perfect vehicle outright is a great idea… however option that doesn’t apply to most people. Your credit essentially shows how reliable you are as a borrower and if you are making on-time payments for your existing debts. Of course, the higher the score the better, however low credit score does not automatically disqualify you – though it may mean that you receive higher interest on your loan. At Fallon Ford-Toyota, we offer online credit approval so you can keep in mind how much you are approved for before coming in to purchase a vehicle. Knowing what you can afford ahead of time is a great place to start.
Can You Afford It?
Think about your existing expenses; mortgage/ rent, utilities, phone bills, food, and groceries. These things can add up quickly. Where does your perfect new car or truck fit into this? A good way of determining what you can realistically pay, is to use the 20/4/10 Method. That is; 20% down payment, a term of no more than 4 years and a monthly payment that does not exceed 10% of your gross income. The longer a loan lasts, the more you pay in interest. This means you begin to pay more than what you may have budgeted for the vehicle across the life of the loan. To know your gross income, you’ll want to consider how much money you are making yearly (and it is good to consider that circumstances may change- life happens). As far as putting down 20 percent, one option is also trading in your current vehicle (if you have one) and using the money from that towards your new purchase.
What are your ‘must haves’?
If there are features you know you want, make a list in advance. This shouldn’t be a list of ‘wants’, but a list of ‘needs’. For example, if you’re shopping for a family vehicle and there are 6 members of your immediate family you plan on driving around daily, then third-row seating might be on that list. If a backup camera is something you can’t imagine living without, then add it to the list, etc.
What is your absolute price limit?
It is important to take all of these factors into consideration and determine what your absolute price limit is. You may get to the dealership and find that you have stumbled upon the perfect vehicle that exceeds all of your expectations and you are willing to pay a little more than you planned on. Keep in mind what price you can reach for, but also know the absolute stopping point in price. Knowing this will assure that you choose a vehicle that you love while still being practical.
In the end, the car or truck you choose should be the one hits as many of the ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ as possible. Fallon-Ford Toyota can help you find that perfect vehicle so come in and speak to one of our specialists today! New or used, we have the perfect vehicle for you.
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