Essential tips to consider when choosing your car

When it comes to expensive purchases, cars are up there with property and holidays. It's easy to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the car of your dreams. That's why it's important to do your research on the ideal car, and to find the finance option that suits your circumstances.

A third of Australian buyers don't consider their finance options until a week before the purchase, with more than 50% of people making decisions about finance in this final week. But just because you're not making a decision until it's time to buy, that doesn't mean you can't review your options beforehand.

What should you consider when choosing a car?

There's a lot to think about when purchasing a car. Make, model and year are usually on the list. Most people also weigh up whether to buy a new or used car, a three-door or five-door, and an automatic or manual vehicle. On top of all that, you'll need to decide how to finance your purchase.

When you’re looking at cars, consider:

Lifestyle: Think about your needs – seating, storage and towing capacity, and extras like GPS, digital radio and alloy wheels.

Reliability: It’s worth researching the various brands and models to avoid buying a lemon.

Safety: Check your preferred vehicle's safety rating.

Fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions: New cars have a yellow Fuel Consumption Label on the windscreen showing fuel consumption per 100km and CO2 emissions.

Warranty: Warranties can vary significantly depending on the dealer.

What should you do with your current car?

If you have a car that you need to sell before purchasing your next vehicle, you have a few options:

· Private sale: Likely to be the most profitable, but it can take time and effort. You'll need a roadworthy certificate if selling a registered vehicle. Plus, you'll need to list the car and meet with potential buyers.

· Wreckers: For cars with little resale value, you can get a few dollars by selling to a wrecker for scrap metal.

· Trade-in: This is sometimes the easiest option. You won’t get as much as a private sale, but it’s quick and convenient.

What else should you include in your budget?

The advertised price probably won’t cover everything you need to get the car on the road and keep it running. Make room in your budget for:

· Running costs and insurance: High-tech and luxury cars can be expensive to repair and insure. Check the price of servicing, spare parts and insurance before buying to avoid any costly surprises.

· Additional costs: Don’t forget to budget for additional costs such as registration, dealer delivery charges and stamp duty. The stamp duty or transfer duty will vary based on the requirements in your state or territory. For further information about the stamp duty, visit the relevant government website for:

· Victoria

·New South Wales

· Queensland

· Tasmania

· South Australia

· Australian Capital Territory

· Northern Territory

· Western Australia

What are your finance options?

When it comes to buying a car, you can supplement the money you have saved with a car loan. Similar to a personal loan, car loans allow you to borrow money against the value of the car, which you repay over a fixed term.

If you're in the market for a new ride, get your finance options sorted early, so you can shop with confidence.

Ready to buy a car? Search and compare car loans today.

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