Get your finance sorted first

If you decide to borrow to buy a car, check out the interest rates charged by different banks, credit unions, finance companies and other lenders. Most car dealers will offer to arrange finance for you but you'll probably do better elsewhere.

Get an idea of price

Once you know the type of car that you want to buy, get an idea of the price range to expect. Check the papers and different car dealers. This will put you in a better position to bargain.

Set a maximum price and don't go above it

Remember to bargain - Who knows? You may be able to save hundreds of dollars.

Budget for all the costs

Don't forget to budget for inspection, insurance, registration, transfer and stamp duty costs. These are all additional costs above the car's price.

Check when the registration runs out

If the car's registration is due within a month or so, add the cost of renewing it to the overall cost of the car or you may want to use the early registration expiry to haggle over the car's price.

Don't forget to get the car inspected before you buy it

A professional inspection, especially for used cars can alert you to hidden problems that may be costly to fix. You can then decide if you still want the car, or leave it and look around for another.

Don't sign anything

Unless you are absolutely sure that you want to buy a car don't sign anything. If you are asked to sign something it will most probably be a sales contract. If you are just looking or thinking about buying a car there is no paperwork involved at all.

Refer to dot point ‘Form 10 Contract to Buy’.