Moving To University: A Guide For Students Buying Their First Car
Buying your first car is a major milestone that often goes hand in hand with moving away from home for university. Owning a car gives you greater independence, a reliable way to get to work and university and a great way to visit family and school friends if you get homesick. Buying your first car can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.
You should consider your budget carefully and ensure that you can keep up with the repayments if you get a car on finance. It is also a good idea to learn what you can about cars so that you will know what to look for in your new vehicle.
Start Working On Your Credit Score
An important first consideration for anyone buying a car is to look at your credit score. If you’re heading to university straight from school, it is likely that you won’t have had a lot of time to build a strong credit score. Many people also find that their credit score is poor because of impulsive decisions made in their teenage years. This doesn’t have to be a barrier to buying your first car, but it can make financing a little more challenging.
You should work on boosting your credit score, as this will benefit you massively throughout your future. Taking out credit cards can help improve your score, but you should be cautious when using them to avoid getting into unmanageable debt. Pay your bills in full and on time to raise your credit score further.
Find A Part Time Job
Whether you hope to buy a car outright or take out a financing option, you will need money coming in. You may have student loans or grants to help with university expenses, but it is unlikely these will stretch to buying a car. A part-time job can be an excellent choice to help you afford a car and ensure you still have money left over for the social side of university.
Look for a part-time job that will fit easily around your lectures, tutorials, and independent study. Shift work opportunities can be ideal for students as they allow you to take on the hours you can spare. You could look for jobs as wait staff, bartenders, supermarket colleagues and more.
Look At Leasing A Car
Leasing a car can allow you to drive a newer car without the larger expense of buying outright. You could even look into lease to buy options. It is worth considering whether you genuinely need a leased car, as the monthly repayments can be steep.
Share The Cost With Friends
If you have friends at university that also want to invest in a car, you could consider buying one as a shared vehicle. It is best to do this with people in the same accommodation as you so that you can all easily access the car. You will also need to be clear with each other about sharing the car equally. Making a rota for when each co-owner can use the vehicle can be helpful. It may require a lot of coordination but sharing the cost can be an excellent option.
Choose A Dependable Vehicle
You will need a reliable car, particularly for travelling longer distances when visiting home during university breaks. Choose a make and model that you can buy spare parts for cheaply and with a reputation for being reliable. The more common the car, the easier it will be to source parts if something needs replacing or repairing.
Assess The Financing Available
Getting a loan or other financing is one of the best ways to buy a car. This can allow you to spread the cost out if making a lump sum payment will be challenging. It is a good idea to save up as large a deposit as possible, as this can help you get better terms on financing.
If you have a lower credit rating, it is essential to compare the options available and make the best choice possible. Applying for loans and being rejected can harm your credit score, so you should know what you can get before you apply. It is a good idea to look on a Car Finance comparison platform, like the experts at ChooseMyCar. This will help you find out what kind of financing options are available to you and help you make the smartest financial choice.
Find A Trustworthy Seller
You should buy a vehicle from a seller you trust. Scammers are an unfortunate reality in the car buying industry, so you should verify who the seller is independently and be sceptical of anything you are told unless you can independently confirm it. Ask a dealership about their past transactions and look at reviews from past customers to ascertain the service and quality of the care they received.
Test Drive The Car
You should always test drive a vehicle before purchasing to see how the car handles and if there are any issues immediately noticeable. Even an untrained driver will be able to identify particular issues, and there are guides you can use to help you work out how a car should feel during a test drive.
Negotiate On Price
You should always negotiate the asking price of a car. It can feel intimidating to do so, but you will usually find a dealer or seller who will be willing to knock some off the price if you negotiate well. If you notice any minor defects such as scratches or rusting on the car, request they are repaired or that the price is lowered before you buy.
Consider The Other Costs Of Car Ownership
There are more costs to consider than just the vehicle’s initial price. You should consider the level and cost of insurance. It is best to get the highest level of cover that you can afford so that you will be protected if something goes wrong. You should also look into how much tax will be for your vehicle and how much a full tank of fuel will cost. It is also a good idea to have a safety net of savings in case the car needs repairs in the future.