Buying a first car is a step everyone dreams of. However, it usually boils down to emotions and less of technically-sound judgement. The questions most technician’s usually ask is, what is the condition of the engine, gear and shafts (collectively referred to as the powertrain) and the issues that plague the model of vehicle you want to buy.
As guided as those questions are, a lot of feedback from some technicians are usually from the limited knowledge they have and, as such, could expose the buyer to unplanned expenses.
The following steps can serve as a guide when buying your first car.
*Start with an idea of what you like and chisel it down to what you need
Being fascinated by a vehicle brand and model is a good place to start from, and a general search from car sales websites/ platforms will give you idea of the market value of such cars, either as brand new, foreign used or locally-used. Your desire should be guided by your need for the vehicle. A vehicle could be for regular city commuting, family outing, social status, business or a commercial function. It’s always important to ascertain your real need for a vehicle.
*Draw up a budget and plan how to finance buying the vehicle
The next thing is drawing a budget and planning how to finance your dream vehicle. How much are you able to invest upfront in acquiring a car, fuelling, mantainence and getting repairs when needed.
After the hard questions had been answered, you can proceed to searching for a vehicle. The easiest place to start your search is online. You will get a couple of listings of same model at different price points and usually with pictures. Browse through, make comparison and call the sellers of those you like. Ask the seller about the state of the vehicle as well as the history. Schedule an inspection appointment with the seller(s) and go along with an experienced technician for that model of vehicle.
On an initial inspection with your technician and a road test of the vehicle, ask the seller for the available documents for the vehicle. The documents include: Customs papers, proof of ownership, number plate allocation, CMR, vehicle licence, road worthiness certificate vehicle insurance. When buying a brand new car, the documents and vehicle registration are usually provided by the dealership. The documents listed above apply to vehicles.
It’s equally important when buying a foreign used vehicle to check the vehicle’s history to ascertain the claims provided by the dealer on previous owners/state of the vehicle. Vehicle history for foreign used car can be purchased on carfax, and if you are buying a locally used car, you may want to run the number plate via a stolen cars database online.
A pre-purchase inspection is usually carried out by a garage with a competent team of technicians. All systems of a car are inspected and a health report on the vehicle is submitted to the prospective owner. It may take one to four hours, but an investment in this helps you avoid surprises in the future. They may also help you come up with an exact cost of fixing the challenges on the vehicle. This step may help you negotiate further with the seller. If your seller doesn’t agree to a pre-purchase inspection, you may be better off not buying that very vehicle. Dealers with very good cars are not scared of a pre-purchase inspection.
When paying for a vehicle, it’s advisable to make an electronic transfer of funds as these can be traced and can help avoid the hassles that come with cash handling for payment. Insist on getting a receipt as well as a deed of transfer from the seller.
This step is very important as the dealer/seller is out of the picture and you will now interact with regulatory agencies on ownership and usage of vehicles on local roads. It’s important that you get a proper vehicle registration agent to help with this process. They will need to review the documents given to you by the seller as well as initiate the process of having the vehicle properly registered in your name. Pidgeonhole provides an excellent online vehicle registration and vehicle documents renewal service, and their wealth of knowledge can help you avoid mistakes often encountered when registering a car. They can be accessed via their website at www.pidgeonholeng.com
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