When your customer asks the question, how do I decide what to buy? It’s go time, this is kind of what we car dealers love! Recently I had the opportunity to share my insight with a first time buyer. One of the perks of being in this business for over 16 years is experience, so I jumped at the opportunity. For first time buyers this is a huge event and can be stressful. The more equipped they are today, the better! 




At 27 they had driven their current car, new in 2015, to 4 years of instate college, used it for work across the entire eastern seaboard, to their new home over 1500 miles away, and now shared it with their spouse. It was a gift so they had not made payments nor established credit through an auto loan. A couple things were clear to me. Their car had been maintained relatively well to keep up with their pace and they’re decision to begin looking was most likely a good one 🙂 

First, I told them that their car appeared to have been a good one so… I had a few questions for them before offering my expert opinion. Establishing if they “need” a new car is a good place to start and gives me some idea of what their next car should be. 


How many miles does your current car have on it? 

Have you properly maintained it? 

Is it failing in some way? 


The answer to whether they needed to begin their search for an upgrade became clear. They had driven it 150 ‘000 miles. Their maintenance was “so-so” and several parts had started to fail, all expensive ones! 



The “need or want” process is an important part of being a successful and reputable car dealer, don’t sell them what they don’t need. Next, if it’s a need, provide the best options possible. There are some basic guidelines for establishing where to begin the search and why it could be time.  I knew from experience that their car was not known for performing well with high mileage so they were flirting with disaster. Poor maintenance means anything could fail from this point on. After further discussion it appeared they were not equipped to afford expensive repairs or the cost of a NEW car payment. 



How far is your daily commute?

Do you have cargo or just yourselves? 

Will you be towing? 

Are you a “point A to point B” or a “enjoy driving” person?

Fuel type? (Diesel, Gas, Electric)

Space costs extra, really need more? 

Plan to improve your maintenance practices or not? 

Cost of insurance?

What is your budget? Be honest


Where To Buy Options 

Within the first year of owning a new car, it could be worth 20% less than what you paid the dealership. Within 5-6 years it may be worth just 60% of its original value. So used cars have an obvious appeal to value / cost conscious customers. There are a couple of options. 


Buy from a dealership ~ Safer 

Buy from a private seller ~ Cheaper 


Why the dealer option is better for first time buyers. The main reason is that dealerships are responsible for disclosing problems the vehicle might have or repairing those issues before selling it. By providing a Carfax the buyer gets the facts. 

Buying from a private seller can be a little cheaper but no disclosure is required, buyer beware. Find the most reputable dealer who is willing to work with you on financing and you’re off to a good start. 




Cash down always helps negotiate a better interest rate which will provide a better monthly payment for a shorter time. Buyers may even negotiate on a longer term loan option with lower rates. By making regular monthly payments on time, credit is established for next time! If the dealer can’t provide a suitable load scenario, your neighborhood bank may be able to help. This is another way of building a credit history and a strong credit relationship. 


Don’t Be Scared, Be Educated 

When it comes to making a first time purchase of any kind it’s a little scary, it’s perfectly normal for a first time buyer to be apprehensive about purchasing their first car. The smart shopper does homework first and reaps the benefits. 

Have questions? I have answers, give TM Auto a call and let’s get you driving!

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, let me show you how easy a car buying experience can be. 



Joe D’ Allegro “Thinking about buying a car? Here’s what auto experts say you need to know” PUBLISHED: APR 9, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: 

“First time car buyer’s guide: What to know before you buy” PUBLISHED: APR 27, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: