It’s no secret that buying a car is a big financial decision. In fact, for many people, it’s the second largest purchase they’ll make in their lifetime (after a home). And if you’re new to the car-buying process, it can be daunting. There are so many things to consider: budget, make and model, financing, insurance, and more. But don’t worry – we’re here to help. Here are some tips for first-time car buyers in the United States.
With a large number of towns and cities spread out over a huge country, the US is undoubtedly a very large place to explore. If you stay in the major cities of America, traveling should not be a hassle, given the multiple options for public transport. However, if you stay in areas where public transport is inconvenient, you should consider buying a car.
Related: Things first comers to USA should do.
In the US, walking or riding a bike is considered too dangerous due to the immensely fast-moving traffic on the roads and highways. This is leading a large number of newcomers to America to invest in a car. Buying a used car is a smart and less expensive decision since in the US, cars are much more affordable than in most other parts of the world.
Should You Buy or Finance?
It really depends on your financial situation. If you have the money to buy a new car outright, then it may be a good idea to do so. However, if you are still getting settled in and don’t have a lot of extra money, then renting may be a better option. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is best for your situation.
In the US, newcomers can have a hard time financing a car purchase, since they do not have a credit history. Collecting documents like an employment letter with the salary mentioned, pay stubs, along with the down payment can become a nightmare for some. Fortunately, you can get a car loan without a credit history too but stay prepared for a higher rate of interest.
Things are a bit better for those working in large organizations since they have the provision of employee loans to help them make such purchases.
It depends on a variety of factors, including the immigrant’s financial situation, employment status, and driving needs. However, many new immigrants do choose to purchase a new car soon after arriving in the United States, as it can provide increased mobility and independence.
Buying a new car – Steps for Immigrants in USA
There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a new car as a new immigrant to the USA. The first is to make sure that you have all of the necessary documentation in order, including a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration.
The second is to research the different options available to you in terms of make, model, and price.
Once you have done your research, you should then visit a few dealerships in person to get a feel for the cars and to negotiate a good price. Finally, take the time to test drive the car before making your final decision.
New Car vs. Used car
If you have the budget, you have the option to choose from a plethora of American car models. However, Indians living in the US usually prefer Japanese makes, such as Honda or Toyota, due to their high resale value and low maintenance needs.
Comparatively, used cars become even more affordable. In less than $5-6k, you’ll get a good quality used car in America. These can be purchased either from a private owner or a car dealer.
If you can get a car loan, I would recommend that you buy a new car from a reputed car dealer. Make sure you negotiate on the car price to get yourself a good deal.
Related: Tips to buy cheap car insurance
documents required to buy a new car in the USA
1. Driver’s license
2. Proof of insurance
3. Payment method (cash, check, credit card)
4. Identification (e.g. passport)
5. Vehicle registration
6. Bill of sale
7. Emissions certificate (if applicable)
Where can immigrants in USA buy car from
There are many places where new immigrants can buy a new car in USA. They can buy a new car from dealerships, private sellers, or online like the ones below.
Things to Do After the Car Purchase
- Buy car insurance:
Much before you drive your new car, have car insurance in place. Visit the DMV website to know how you can buy car insurance.
- Safety and emission inspections:
During the safety inspection, the vehicle is checked for safety features including brakes, tires, horns, headlights, turn indicators, and more. In the emission inspection, the car is inspected for the allowed levels of harmful emissions.
- Car registration:
Register the car in your name at the DMV. Along with the fees, you’ll need to submit a copy of the car insurance and safety and emission inspections. In most states, if you have bought a used car from a private owner, you need to pay sales tax at the DMV.
Also read: Best travel insurance for visitors to USA
The US is a land of fast drivers. Make sure you always have your seat belt on while on the road. Never ever dare to race with other drivers for your own safety and that of others in your car and on the roads.