Eventually, a day arrives when we look at the vehicle we own and we realise we would like to buy a new one. For the majority of us, it’s potentially one of the most expensive purchases we'll ever make. Usually, it’s accompanied by a mixture of excitement and a little anxiety. If we do get it wrong, circumstances may make it very wrong indeed.
One way to reduce the room for error is to complete each purchasing stage in the right order.
At the simplest level, there are five psychological stages involved in a purchase:
- Need recognition (we feel the need for a new car).
- Product research (we learn what’s out there).
- Evaluation (we carefully consider everything learned through our research).
- Purchase decision (we carefully select the most suitable car); and
- Post-purchase behaviour (we react positively or negatively to the choice we have made).
When people make bad buying decisions, they usually miss out the product research stage, hence, allowing their excitement taking them to a point part-way through the evaluation and then rapidly on to the purchase decision. We all make that mistake at some point, as it’s part of being human. However, to avoid a very expensive mistake, here’s how you should research your new car purchase.
- First, define your present and future needs. Where will you drive, how often, and how many people will come with you? What matters most to you out of the car’s features? For example, do you need to tow or have you somewhere easy to park?
- Next, check your financial position. How much can you afford for a monthly repayment on a loan? This is can be usually around 20% of your take home salary.
- What works best for you, leasing, buying through a finance deal, or buying outright? With leasing you won’t own a car at the end of the deal, but when buying, you will.
- Which model cars fit the above? You may be dreaming of a particular vehicle, but it’s important to see what other vehicles would meet your needs. There may be a more suitable or better priced vehicle out there for you than your dream car. Research the different vehicles in your price range online. Read plenty of reviews, including those from people who have owned those models for a number of years and know which problems can potentially arise and/or what are the good points of the models you're interested in.
- Consider all the hidden ongoing costs of your preferred car. Look at registration, insurance, warranties, maintenance, running costs and depreciation if the vehicle is being purchased for your business.
- Do an online search for examples for sale in your region. This will give you an idea of the price it’s selling for in different local dealerships, as well as privately. Hopefully you’ll potetially see several examples that look interesting enough for a closer look.
- Arrange to test drive the vehicles. Use your research to make a list of questions and features you’re going to check for. When you test drive the car, take your time and make a list of what you like and what might you prefer.
- After driving a few cars, you should hopefully have a good idea of which is worth looking into more. Now it’s time to start to explore the type of finance that is available from car finance providers.
By being equipped with as much information and practical experience as possible. You should be able to make the best possible purchase decision. Your post-purchase behaviour will reflect pleasure and satisfaction with your new car. We're happy to help make it happen for you.
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