One of the bigger decisions when it comes to car buying is deciding whether to buy a new or a used vehicle. There are some people who only buy one or the other, and others who are more open-minded and willing to look at both options. In either case, it’s important to understand the upside vs. downside of each.

Here are some tips to help you decide which direction to go in:

Identify your budget

While you can buy a cheap new car or an expensive used car, you should still figure out how much money you’re willing (and able) to spend. If you don’t have much to spend, your best bet will likely be to buy a used car or to look at affordable entry-level new cars.

The good news is that there are plenty of financing and leasing options for almost everybody, so unless you have extremely poor credit and no income, you’ll likely be able to find something that works for you. But first, identify your income, how much money you have to put down, and how much you’re willing to spend every month.

Figure out how long you’ll be using the vehicle

Try to identify how long you plan on keeping the vehicle and how aggressively you’ll be using it. This is a question of whether you’ll be driving it a few thousand miles a year, or tens of thousands of miles for a long daily commute.

A used car will (almost by definition) not last as long as a new one. However, most cars on the road these days are very well designed, which means a used car can still last quite a long time. In either case, think about your future plans when deciding between new and used.

Identify features that are “must-haves”

It’s important to figure out which vehicle features you’re not willing to forego. This can help you identify whether you should be looking at new or used cars, especially if the features you need are newly released ones.

Automotive technology is changing faster than ever, and the features being developed for safety and convenience are more and more incredibly and futuristic every year. So if you’re looking for self-driving technology, connected-car software, or other groundbreaking tech in your vehicle, you should be ready to start looking at new cars.

Figure out what is most important to you

Different people see value in different things. Some people are adamant that they want a vehicle that’s never been driven before. Others would prefer to avoid the depreciation that comes with buying a brand new vehicle. Still others feel more comfortable knowing that their car will be covered by a new-car warranty.

If you’re trying to decide whether to go new or used, start off by deciding what things are most important to you, and then work backward from there. And if you’re open-minded and don’t care whether you buy a new or used vehicle, then you’ll have a lot more options to choose from. And as always, please contact me for all of your vehicle questions and needs.