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Lets buy a Car for the first time!

projectmayhemprojectmayhem Registered User regular
edited August 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Ello thar HA!

Lets get to the meat of the matter shall we!

I am in the market for buying my first car, here is what I have to work with:

Down payment:
$500 from my parents
$500 from my girlfriend
$1000 from me
$2000 total

Payments:
$300 a Month from my parents
At least $100 from me possible

Credit:
Uh. Last I tried I couldn't get a best buy card nor a gap card. So that should give you an idea where I am at. (All I have are student loans, so I assume this is normal?)

Max Price:
14000$

Term:
48-60 Months hopefully

Car I want!

My number 1 would be a 2008 Toyota Corolla. I am open to suggestions however this seems to be the car that would fit be the best. Ive read nothing but good things about the car, driven both a 2009 and 2008 and liked them both. Really though anything economical that will last will peak my interest. I live in Austin Tx so it will be a mix of city and hwy.


So yeah! I really dont know what else to add as I've never embarked on this journey before. Hopefully you guys and gals can give me tips and let me know if I am missing anything! I am open to all advice!

<3

projectmayhem on

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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Why the hell do you want to get into debt right now, right as you're (presumably) getting out of high school or college or whatever? Take the $4000 cash you have and buy a used car that costs $4000 (less, actually, because inspection and registration cost money too). You want something that's late 90s and Japanese, because late 90s American cars will fall apart around you.

    edit: Ohh, 2000 total. Still. Get yourself a '96-'00 Civic or something for about that much. Look to buy from a private seller on Craigslist or whatever rather than going to a dealer, and take a friend or relative who knows something about cars.

    Daedalus on
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    AresProphetAresProphet Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I spent $3800 cash on a 95 BMW instead of going $6k ($7500k after all's said and done) in debt for three years on a 2000 Accord with similar mileage and it's the best choice I could have made in the circumstances. If you can't afford the payment on your own I wouldn't recommend it. Shit happens, and five years is a very, very long time to rely on $300/mo from someone else. That's $18k. That's a shitton of money, and it lets you ignore your real finances for a very long time.

    Even after the higher maintenance costs on the Beamer I'll be out less than $6k after five years of driving it. If you can find a decent ride that you can pay cash for absolutely do it.

    AresProphet on
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    FeatherBladeFeatherBlade Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Buy a $2000 beater and drive it into the ground. Save up that $100 per month to buy a better car later. Or use it for maintenance on the beater. Or to pay off your student loans.

    And for the love of your parents, don't make them go into debt just so you can have a sw33t r1d3.

    Presumably, you're an adult. Pay for your own [redacted] car.


    When you get the car, before you make the final purchase, get it checked out by a reliable, trustworthy, inexpensive mechanic. You can usually find one of those by asking the pizza delivery guys where they get their cars repaired.

    FeatherBlade on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    JohnDoeJohnDoe Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Have you considered the total cost of ownership of the car? Remember maintenance, fuel, insurance, etc all add up, its not just the payments for the loan.

    JohnDoe on
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    WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I wouldn't recommend a $2000 beater, just because thats cutting the price a little too low and will probably end up requiring alot of repairs/maintenance. That said, your insurance alone could be upwards of $300/month depending on your age and the car you get (I'm pretty sure bad credit rating also effects insurance rates, but don't quote me on that.)

    Buy something in the $3000 - $5000 range, that'll get you something that'll last a while, and be not too old either (since you seem to be looking for fairly new cars.)

    Just a quick search on Autotrader.com shows these in your area:
    2002 Ford Taurus - 80k miles - $4950

    2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse - 59k miles - $4550

    2005 Toyota Camry - 40k miles - $3300 (Ad seems a little suspicious, might just be fishing for emails.)

    2006 Ford Focus ZR3 - 98k miles - $5000

    2006 Hyundai Elantra - 81k miles - $4999

    2005 Nissan Sentra - 83k miles - $4995

    These are the types of cars you should be looking for - obviously I haven't had these checked out by a mechanic so you'll want to do that before you buy anything, and I haven't come anywhere near exhausting the list they have at Autotrader.com.

    I think most people will recommend against going into debt, but I think you could reasonably go a couple thousand into debt without causing too much of a problem for yourself. $12,000 into debt when you only have $400 a month to cover gas, insurance, maintenance and payments, as well as any unexpected costs that might come up is pushing it.

    Wezoin on
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    billwillbillwill Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Buy from a private seller, via craigslist (or what have you).

    Make sure you bring someone that knows about cars, because if you don't you will get screwed over. Also patience. Don't buy a car because you're tired of looking, do it because it's a good deal.

    Story time: My buddy went used car shopping about a year ago. He got a 1996 Plymouth Neon for 1700 dollars. This car was an obvious piece of shit; duct tape on the bumper in the back, none of the power stuff on the interior worked, etc. The week after buying the car the door wouldn't close and he had to tie it down (300 dollar repair). A few months later the cooling system goes out (500 dollars). He wound up sinking another 1500 dollars into this car over the course of 6 months. He was barely able to get rid of it for 500 just a few weeks ago.

    His reason for getting it? It had a kickass stereo system. The moral of the story? Bring someone with you that a)knows about cars and b)can snap you back to reality if you fall for the awesome stereo or the cool spoiler. Try to be impartial.

    Now a good story:

    I picked up my car 6 months ago. I was looking for about two weeks, primarily through craigslist. I ended up with a 1994 BMW 525i for 1500 dollars, in fantastic running condition. Why was the family selling it? They had just bought an RV and didn't have room on the driveway for the BMW.

    If you look for the good deals you will find them.

    billwill on
    I hate you and you hate me.
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    LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Get a beater for your first car. Something that you won't be too grieved over if you crash it.

    My first car cost $500 and lasted two years. I mean, I wouldn't have trusted it for long highway trips, but it was fine for getting around town and the insurance was dirt cheap.

    Are you in college/planning to go to college? Get a $12k loan for tuition instead.

    Also, consider what will happen if you and your girlfriend split up. She is likely going to want her $500 back.

    LadyM on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Do not buy a 14000 car. One of my biggest financial mistakes was buying a 5 figure car as a college student with limited means. They take forever to get right side up, if they break, you are fucked, and your needs from a vehicle should and probably will evolve over time, especially upon graduation.

    Buy something just expensive enough to get a car payment to build your credit, but good enough to not be stranded on the highway. With 2k cash that should not be hard at all.

    Jasconius on
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    AresProphetAresProphet Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The problem with going for a $2k beater is that there aren't nearly as many out there as there used to be. Cash for Clunkers took a lot of sub-$3k cars off the market in the US. It's really hard to find anything remotely reliable in that price range these days.

    So you'll have to spend a little more but the 3k-5k range should have plenty of reliable 10-12 year old cars.

    AresProphet on
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    Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Throwing my hat into the "get a beater for no more than a few thousand bux whaddareya stupid?" ring. Hell, I would seriously recommend just taking $1000 and getting a decent bicycle instead.

    Seattle Thread on
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    eternalbleternalbl Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    FYI, most likely a 2008 will be under warranty meaning you'll basically be forced to do your maintenance at a dealership until it's up. Oil changes probably won't be more than 30-50 bucks, but there'll also likely be a yearly maintenance that could run between $150-300 or more depending on mileage. Of course, this maintenance is optional but it also means any warranty claims in the future could be denied if you don't follow the schedule.

    Anyways, the previous style Mazda3 is probably worth a test drive at least. They're fairly inexpensive up front, very reliable, and both the 2.0 and 2.3s they come with get pretty good mileage.

    Otherwise, I swear by Toyota. Between 2 cars in my household we've gone 17 years or so and never had either leave us stranded.

    eternalbl on
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    Dulcius_ex_asperisDulcius_ex_asperis Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    To clarify a few things from the OP (I am said girlfriend):

    1) His parents offered us the $500 for the down payment, they are by no means financing it for us, although they have offered to give us $300/mo if we need help with the payments, but we can definitely handle them on our own.

    2) We both work full time and have college degrees, and we've been dating for 4 years, living together for 2 years. We're planning on getting married...this is not a high school relationship. He's 26 and I'm 24.

    3) I have never owned a car because I've never needed to (always lived in places I could walk to-from work, etc) and projectmayhem had a car in college (which his parents *were* paying for, and it was in their name) but they got in a bad spot and it got repossessed. So basically -- neither of us have ever gone through the process of selecting a car, and knowing how to bargain, what the best types of vehicles out there are, etc.

    4) As he mentioned, he has no credit outside of student loans. I, however, have excellent credit. I've been paying all my own bills and have had revolving credit since age 18.

    5) We're not looking to get into crazy debt, but in our current lines of work, we can more than afford a car. We don't have a vehicle, and we are in need of one. Hence the thread! :)

    Again, we're looking at a used Corolla as our frontrunner right now, but we're totally open to suggestions. Ideally we'd like to spend 14k MAX (we are by no means hoping to spend 14k -- if we can spend only 3-5k, that would be awesome!), and we're planning on putting down as much of a down payment as we can. If that means waiting a month and putting $3k down, we'll do that.

    Also! Tell us what we *don't* want to do. I'm looking at craigslist right now for private sellers, as we're definitely not opposed to that suggestion. How much do you spend on gas, maintenance, etc? We're going to be living literally down the street from our workplace, and we don't go out much anyway, so we won't be putting tons of miles on whatever car we do get. We may make the occasional road trip though (like maybe once a year), and of course reliable always=good.

    I just wanted to clarify things, since it seems a lot of people were reading his OP in a bit of a different light :)

    Dulcius_ex_asperis on
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    The Black HunterThe Black Hunter The key is a minimum of compromise, and a simple, unimpeachable reason to existRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Always be on the lookout for a 2-4 year old car

    this is a good site
    http://www.carsguide.com.au/site/tools-and-advice/hints-and-tips/how_to_buy_a_used_car_10_tips
    http://www.carsguide.com.au/site/tools-and-advice/hints-and-tips/tips_on_buying_a_car

    Google "how to buy a _____" or something along those lines
    this is better for slightly older enthusiast cars though I must admit, but can't hurt

    The Black Hunter on
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    TejsTejs Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Contrary to what other people say, I'm going to recommend buying most of your car on credit. Right now, interest rates are dirt cheap - if you can find the right bank / credit union, your interest rate can be ridiculously awesome. A used car that you might be looking for has probably already bit most of it's depreciation in the $5000 range AND the fact that you are financing it will help to improve your credit score (assuming you keep current on the payments).

    Steps:

    1) Before even thinking about what kind of car you want, go to a bank or credit union and see what you are qualified for in terms of a loan. You don't have to commit to anything, but knowing exactly how much you can get maximum is helpful in determining what vehicles you should be looking at. Additionally, see what vehicles are currently sporting deals for 0% loans from the dealership.

    2) Before ever stepping foot onto a dealership or trolling craiglist, write down all the cars you would like to have and then write down all the bad / good / excellent quality prices from a site like KBB or NADA. This lets you know if a specific car being advertised on Craiglist or Autotrader is actually priced somewhat fairly. These sites also have options listings and other such information to verify if the ad is written correctly or might be suspect. Once you have narrowed down to a few cars, read some car forums for those specific models and find out if there is anything you need to know when buying it.

    3) I can't give you advice about buying from a private seller; however, if you buy from a dealership make sure you print off the online ads they have, and ads from competing dealerships / private sellers if available. Depending on your confidence, you may be able to haggle the price some if you can say "Why should I buy from your dealership if I can buy this same car here (with perhaps a few more miles) from some other guy for 2 grand less?"

    4) If you are not 100% satisfied with a potential car, walk away. The salesperson might be disappointed, but he'll get over it. Don't look like a sucker - be confident in stating your opinion.

    5) Consider getting a CarFax subscription to check out potential vehicles.

    This comes from my experience - I started with a 1991 Toyota Corolla in high school, bought a 2002 For Ranger (11000) on my own in college, and then have bought a Mazda RX-8 for 10K below asking price and a Lotus Elise for 5K$ below asking price. It works.

    Tejs on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    If you're already looking at an '08 Corolla at $14K, why not try to find a new '10 or '09 (or demo car). It won't be that much more and you'll get the new car incentives and finance rates and the full warranty. You could possibly get them to foot basic maintenance (e.g. have them throw in a book of free dealer oil change coupons). Edmunds indicates a base corolla S is going for $200 over invoice and then there are also current cash incentives (additional ones if you're a recent grad).

    Djeet on
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    darqnessdarqness KCMORegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I would advise that you don't opt for a 48-60 month car loan if you don't have any credit history. You'll end up paying out the nose in interest which could easily make your 14k car an 18k car. The only time I've ever done 60 months on a new vehicle was when I qualified for 0% interest.

    Also something to think about:

    At 21 in August 2008 I bought a brand new 2007 Mazda 6s for 18k with 6% interest over 3 years. I was making HUGE payments per month which was alright with me since I was able to afford it. In July 2009 I was T-boned by a granite truck which totalled my car. Legally it was my fault (dangerous intersection in the country with low visibility, luckily courts and neighbors were sympathetic). Insurance company paid me $500.00 less than what the car was worth and I had to pay my $500.00 deductible on top of that making me pay out $1000 total after the accident. Had I spread my payments out over 48-60 months, I would have been screwed and had to pay thousands more.

    Since then the only new car I've purchased has been my fiance's 2010 Mazda 3s. Had I not qualified for the 0% interest I would have walked.

    Just something to think about.

    EDIT: Also, read this site inside and out before you buy.

    darqness on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Tejs wrote: »
    2) Before ever stepping foot onto a dealership or trolling craiglist, write down all the cars you would like to have and then write down all the bad / good / excellent quality prices from a site like KBB or NADA. This lets you know if a specific car being advertised on Craiglist or Autotrader is actually priced somewhat fairly. These sites also have options listings and other such information to verify if the ad is written correctly or might be suspect. Once you have narrowed down to a few cars, read some car forums for those specific models and find out if there is anything you need to know when buying it.

    Please do not use KBB or NADA. These sites aggregate what dealers ask for certain types of cars, which builds in possibly thousands of dollars of profit. Look at something like Edmunds.

    http://www.edmunds.com/advice/buying/articles/49241/article.html

    Delzhand on
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    anonymityanonymity __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2010
    You should make sure to research your car prices carefully. Don't stop at what they charge the dealer, they've gotten wise to us knowing that and now use a combination of rebates and buybacks to make the real price for the dealer less then the upfront price of the dealer.

    anonymity on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    As far as price research goes, check out truecar.com.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    3drage3drage Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The credit problem will probably stop you cold, he needs to establish some credit history prior to a big purchase like a car. If your girlfriend or parents are planning to co-sign that might increase the possibility of a loan, but you will be paying a decent chunk of interest.

    Check your financing options first to see what kind of a car you can get a loan for and then start from there.

    3drage on
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    SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    No matter what you do, the number one tip I can give is to always buy used cars.

    The most amount of money you will ever lose on a car is the first five minutes you spend in it, when you drive a brand new car off the lot.

    Spawnbroker on
    Steam: Spawnbroker
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    3drage3drage Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    No matter what you do, the number one tip I can give is to always buy used cars.

    The most amount of money you will ever lose on a car is the first five minutes you spend in it, when you drive a brand new car off the lot.

    Insurance and registration are also higher on new cars, though the warranty will buy you a few years of repairs if they are needed.

    3drage on
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Someone mentioned carfax. Don't pay for it, make the dealer pay for it. They don't do the subscription for 30 days anymore, its based on the number of VIN searches now. Sad, but true.

    Iceman.USAF on
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    a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    To clarify a few things from the OP (I am said girlfriend):

    1) His parents offered us the $500 for the down payment, they are by no means financing it for us, although they have offered to give us $300/mo if we need help with the payments, but we can definitely handle them on our own.

    2) We both work full time and have college degrees, and we've been dating for 4 years, living together for 2 years. We're planning on getting married...this is not a high school relationship. He's 26 and I'm 24.

    3) I have never owned a car because I've never needed to (always lived in places I could walk to-from work, etc) and projectmayhem had a car in college (which his parents *were* paying for, and it was in their name) but they got in a bad spot and it got repossessed. So basically -- neither of us have ever gone through the process of selecting a car, and knowing how to bargain, what the best types of vehicles out there are, etc.

    4) As he mentioned, he has no credit outside of student loans. I, however, have excellent credit. I've been paying all my own bills and have had revolving credit since age 18.

    5) We're not looking to get into crazy debt, but in our current lines of work, we can more than afford a car. We don't have a vehicle, and we are in need of one. Hence the thread! :)

    Again, we're looking at a used Corolla as our frontrunner right now, but we're totally open to suggestions. Ideally we'd like to spend 14k MAX (we are by no means hoping to spend 14k -- if we can spend only 3-5k, that would be awesome!), and we're planning on putting down as much of a down payment as we can. If that means waiting a month and putting $3k down, we'll do that.

    Also! Tell us what we *don't* want to do. I'm looking at craigslist right now for private sellers, as we're definitely not opposed to that suggestion. How much do you spend on gas, maintenance, etc? We're going to be living literally down the street from our workplace, and we don't go out much anyway, so we won't be putting tons of miles on whatever car we do get. We may make the occasional road trip though (like maybe once a year), and of course reliable always=good.

    I just wanted to clarify things, since it seems a lot of people were reading his OP in a bit of a different light :)

    Yeah, you guys presented two completely different pictures of your financial situation :P. As far as bargaining, go to the dealer with the price you think the car is worth and if they won't meet it, just walk away. If they don't call you back soon, then just move on to your next option. I don't know how to deal with a private seller as I've never done it.

    a5ehren on
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    projectmayhemprojectmayhem Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Haha. Upon reading my OP it was, well very misleading :)

    Still all the advice has been great and I am still weighing my options for everything. I checked out an insurance quote on state farms website (who I have renters insurance through) and it was at about 120$. Sound about right for a 26 year old with no tickets since the age of 19 (two light speeding tickets) with no wrecks?

    projectmayhem on
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    KjeldorKjeldor Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2010
    $120 a month? seems a bit high to me for having a clean driving record and being over 25 years old, but i guess it depends on what limits you put in, deductible, etc. definitely shop around for car insurance, when i was looking back in the fall to see who could give me the best deal on homeowners and car insurance, state farm came in the highest. obviously YMMV based on many factors.

    Kjeldor on
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    TejsTejs Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Credit rating also plays a role in determining your monthly premiums.

    Tejs on
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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I was looking at cars six months ago. It made more financial sense for me to buy a new car, solely because I could qualify for 0% interest on a new car, whereas the financing incentives were not available for used cars.

    kaliyama on
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    FeatherBladeFeatherBlade Registered User regular
    edited August 2010

    3) I have never owned a car because I've never needed to (always lived in places I could walk to-from work, etc) and projectmayhem had a car in college (which his parents *were* paying for, and it was in their name) but they got in a bad spot and it got repossessed. So basically -- neither of us have ever gone through the process of selecting a car, and knowing how to bargain, what the best types of vehicles out there are, etc.

    Hmm. If his parents are in tight enough financial straights that they got their car repossessed, then it would be extremely unwise to have them involved in paying for this car. It's also highly doubtful that any competent bank would let them cosign for a car loan.

    Buying a car outright is always a better option than financing it. Why? They can't repossess a car on which you owe no money. If you own it, free and clear, they can't take it away from you.


    Buying from a private seller is easy. All you need is a bill of sale (you can type this up yourself) that says something to the effect of :

    "I, [name of buyer], have purchased this vehicle, [vehicle description, including VIN], from [name of seller] for $[amount of purchase] on [date]."

    _______________ ________
    Signature of buyer Date
    _______________ ________
    Signature of seller Date

    You will need two copies of this, one for you, and one for them.

    They sign the vehicle's title on the line(s) that says "I release all my interest in this vehicle", you hand over the cash, they hand over the title and the keys.
    If they don't have the title, or only have the Application for Title (may only be applicable in Washington State), go with the seller (usually before you give them the money) to your local Department of Motor Vehicles and let the DMV help you sort it out.

    Protip: Running a search on the title to make sure that it is clear, i.e. isn't the guarantee for a payday or title loan would be a good idea. The DMV might be able to help you with this, but don't quote me on that.

    Remember that local laws may vary, good idea to look up your local statutes if any, for the sale of vehicles, etc. etc.

    FeatherBlade on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    Dulcius_ex_asperisDulcius_ex_asperis Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Hmm. If his parents are in tight enough financial straights that they got their car repossessed, then it would be extremely unwise to have them involved in paying for this car. It's also highly doubtful that any competent bank would let them cosign for a car loan.

    Buying a car outright is always a better option than financing it. Why? They can't repossess a car on which you owe no money. If you own it, free and clear, they can't take it away from you.
    .

    This happened roughly 4 years ago. Their financial situation is pretty complicated, but they recently came into a bit of extra money, which is why they suggested helping us, which was the impetus for us thinking "we should probably get a car..." However, we are completely prepared to do this on our own. Let me clarify: In no way are we depending on his parents to co-sign or assist us in paying for the car. They have expressed that they can help us out if we'd like, we have in turn told them it's up to them if they'd like to do so.

    If we go to a dealership, I would be the main borrower, since I'm the one with the credit for the necessary loan. However, if we can avoid owing anything, that would be ideal -- or be in a place where we could pay the car off within 2-3 months.

    Right now, the cash total we are willing to spend outright is $2k, whether that be for the total cost of the vehicle or a down payment on a used car. However, that number is malleable and we could wait a month and bump it up to $4k.

    I'm thinking insurance will depend just as much on the vehicle as the driver's record. Am I incorrect on that? I'd always understood it as certain cars=more expensive to insure, just as a risky driver=more expensive to insure.

    The cars I've found online so far locally are early 2000s Jettas, Civics, and Corollas, all going for roughly 5k. Any other recommended makes/models that are amazingly reliable that we're missing?

    Also, FeatherBlade, thank you for the bill of sale details! I wouldn't have had any idea how to address that.

    Dulcius_ex_asperis on
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    The Black HunterThe Black Hunter The key is a minimum of compromise, and a simple, unimpeachable reason to existRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Waiting a month won't kill you

    VW's suffer electrical difficulties, honda civics are comparitively expensive to repair and corolla's are boring as hell

    I'd say a civic, they're meant to be great to drive

    The Black Hunter on
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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Waiting a month won't kill you

    VW's suffer electrical difficulties, honda civics are comparitively expensive to repair and corolla's are boring as hell

    I'd say a civic, they're meant to be great to drive

    Corollas are boring as hell, but they're uber reliable. I had a 2002 Corolla until recently. They have no problem hitting high speeds, though. (I did the LA-SF drive in 4.25 hours in a corolla). I survived, quite well, blowing out my front left tire in the fast lane in LA at ~75 mph. When you get something with more oomph it'll be fun.

    kaliyama on
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    Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Mazda.

    Wait a month, and buy something along these lines. Cheap to run, reliable, and as long as you have a job and a place to live you should be able to qualify for the loan and be able to give your credit history a kick in the ass.

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
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    The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2010
    Brand new cars are for suckers and rich folk, and you don't need to go deep into debt to build good credit.

    A Corolla that new is setting your sights a little high for a first car, I think. They'd be +20K here. Go back a few years, any of the post-2000 models are pretty awesome. They retain resale value ridiculously well, which is why I couldn't afford one. I think the Mazda 3's will be in a similar position soon, but they were a new model when I was shopping around a couple years ago and I had no hope :P

    I wound up with a 2004 ford focus hatch, which has done pretty well. Its needed a little work since its passed through the 100,000k zone-of-parts-death while in my care, and Ford parts aren't cheap (neither are the labor costs since everything is difficult to access) but its pretty great to drive, comfy, and spacious. At ~AU$11K, I'm not complaining.

    As for finance, I put around $3.5k down and got a 3 year loan for the rest, which has been comfortable for my fully employed self. You're relying rather more heavily on post-purchase payments and less on the deposit, which isn't so secure - running costs will bite you on the arse no matter what you get. Services always, always cost more than you think they will. My advice is not to spend more than about US$10k, and only that if you're sure its in really good condition. And only if you have a decent job.

    The Cat on
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    MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    Brand new cars are for suckers and rich folk, and you don't need to go deep into debt to build good credit.

    The validity of this advice is going to vary with what kind of deals car manufacturers have and the state of your local used car pool. A little less than a year ago I was looking for a Mazda 3 and local asking prices on 3 year old ones with 50,000 miles on them were only about $3,000 less than the asking prices on brand new, comparably equipped, 2010s. Factor in the 0% financing being offered on the 10s and I would've been stupid to go used. Granted I probably could've talked the used ones down a few grand, but I never would've been able to get 0% financing one a used car. So in the end, if you add in all the interest I would've paid on the used, the premium I've paid for new car was marginal. And now I've got the full warranty and the peace of mind that no ones ever driven the car hard or skimped on maintenance.

    So, you know, math it out before you jump to conclusions.

    MushroomStick on
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    darqnessdarqness KCMORegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    Brand new cars are for suckers and rich folk, and you don't need to go deep into debt to build good credit.

    The validity of this advice is going to vary with what kind of deals car manufacturers have and the state of your local used car pool. A little less than a year ago I was looking for a Mazda 3 and local asking prices on 3 year old ones with 50,000 miles on them were only about $3,000 less than the asking prices on brand new, comparably equipped, 2010s. Factor in the 0% financing being offered on the 10s and I would've been stupid to go used. Granted I probably could've talked the used ones down a few grand, but I never would've been able to get 0% financing one a used car. So in the end, if you add in all the interest I would've paid on the used, the premium I've paid for new car was marginal. And now I've got the full warranty and the peace of mind that no ones ever driven the car hard or skimped on maintenance.

    So, you know, math it out before you jump to conclusions.

    Truth. This was why we bought my fiance's Mazda 3 new. 3k off of sticker, $500 Mazda owner loyalty bonus, 0.00%. Had we gone for a used Mazda 3 2009 with 30k miles, it would have been 6% financing for 19k and ultimately would have paid more with the interest altogether.

    darqness on
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    FeatherBladeFeatherBlade Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I'm thinking insurance will depend just as much on the vehicle as the driver's record. Am I incorrect on that? I'd always understood it as certain cars=more expensive to insure, just as a risky driver=more expensive to insure.

    It does depend on these factors and a whole lot more. Generally speaking, males are more expensive to insure than females, drivers under 25 years are more expensive than drivers over that age, sports cars are more expensive than mini-vans, and a clean driving record probably helps drop your costs.

    Have you asked what the price would be if Dulcius were listed as the primary driver on the policy? That might reduce your cost.

    Also, many insurance companies offer discounts if you have a renters' or homeowners' policy through them in addition to the auto insurance. Mine for example (I'm with Farmer's) gives a 10% discount for auto and home combos, and 15% discount (I think) for auto-home-life combos. I have the auto-home-life combo, and the discount is sufficient to pay for the cost of the home insurance.

    Ask your agent about deals like that, and don't be afraid to shop around and compare prices (get written quotes for ammunition). It might be to your benefit to talk to an agent that isn't tied exclusively to one insurance company. I've heard they exist, but I'm not sure how common they are.

    FeatherBlade on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    darqness wrote: »
    The Cat wrote: »
    Brand new cars are for suckers and rich folk, and you don't need to go deep into debt to build good credit.

    The validity of this advice is going to vary with what kind of deals car manufacturers have and the state of your local used car pool. A little less than a year ago I was looking for a Mazda 3 and local asking prices on 3 year old ones with 50,000 miles on them were only about $3,000 less than the asking prices on brand new, comparably equipped, 2010s. Factor in the 0% financing being offered on the 10s and I would've been stupid to go used. Granted I probably could've talked the used ones down a few grand, but I never would've been able to get 0% financing one a used car. So in the end, if you add in all the interest I would've paid on the used, the premium I've paid for new car was marginal. And now I've got the full warranty and the peace of mind that no ones ever driven the car hard or skimped on maintenance.

    So, you know, math it out before you jump to conclusions.

    Truth. This was why we bought my fiance's Mazda 3 new. 3k off of sticker, $500 Mazda owner loyalty bonus, 0.00%. Had we gone for a used Mazda 3 2009 with 30k miles, it would have been 6% financing for 19k and ultimately would have paid more with the interest altogether.

    Well, duh, you were comparing it against a used car that was, what, one year old? At a dealership? It hadn't done enough depreciating yet.

    If you're going used, go all out: buy from a private seller from Craigslist or the classifieds or whatever, and get something that you can afford all at once. You don't stand a chance of getting a good deal at a dealership. Think about it: these guys sell hundreds of cars every year and you buy, what, a dozen over your entire lifetime. Their whole job is making a profit on selling cars while making you think you bargained yourself into a good deal. You can't match that experience. With a private seller you're on level ground.

    Also, you should do as much of your own maintenance and repairs as your present location will allow. (e.g. If you don't have a garage, obviously something like doing your own clutch replacement is out of the question.) The difference in price between human labor and manufactured goods is as high as it's ever been in the history of human civilization, meaning that for many things you will find that buying the necessary tools is cheaper than the labor costs of hiring a mechanic (and you get to keep the tools at the end).

    Besides, you may even do a better job. Yeah, a better job than a trained mechanic. It's not that they're all trying to rip you off deliberately (though some certainly are) or that they have an incentive to keep your car in a barely-working state so you keep coming back (though this is true sometimes as well), it's just that nobody really cares about your car as much as you do. Some things are infeasible to do by yourself, sure, but a surprising number are not.

    Daedalus on
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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The Cat wrote: »
    Brand new cars are for suckers and rich folk, and you don't need to go deep into debt to build good credit.

    The validity of this advice is going to vary with what kind of deals car manufacturers have and the state of your local used car pool. A little less than a year ago I was looking for a Mazda 3 and local asking prices on 3 year old ones with 50,000 miles on them were only about $3,000 less than the asking prices on brand new, comparably equipped, 2010s. Factor in the 0% financing being offered on the 10s and I would've been stupid to go used. Granted I probably could've talked the used ones down a few grand, but I never would've been able to get 0% financing one a used car. So in the end, if you add in all the interest I would've paid on the used, the premium I've paid for new car was marginal. And now I've got the full warranty and the peace of mind that no ones ever driven the car hard or skimped on maintenance.

    So, you know, math it out before you jump to conclusions.

    I had the exact same story. Dealer incentives right now mean you should price things out.

    kaliyama on
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