The first step in the car buying process is the identification of the need for another vehicle. Of course you are the one who gets to make that decision. Even when talking about used cars, it is a new car to you.
First think about “need” versus “want”. This will help you with prioritization.
Some folks say they need a car just because they are tired of the one they have. It works fine, but maybe it does not ride as smooth or look as nice as it once did. That is fine if they want to upgrade. But in honesty, it is a different type of need than someone just lost their car in an accident and they need a replacement to get them to their job on Monday.
Why is this important? Here is why. Because the urgency of the need has a lot to do with the ability to take the time to be successful in the car buying process. More time and less urgency is always better for making good decisions. Sometimes there is pressure from the seller to “better get it now or you’ll miss it”. While that is occasionally true, I have learned time and again that there are always good and decent deals out there, and you just need to know how to be patient and learn how to find them. When you are in a hurry, you make mistakes.
Use the following questions to guide your thinking about it.
What is my level of need?
What is my level of want?
After thoughtful consideration of your need, the question is “what type of vehicle do you want to buy?”
The next step, “2 – Choose Type”, provides guidance on setting your priorities and selecting types of vehicles to target.