Posted January 12, 2018 11:56 am - Updated January 12, 2018 11:57 am

How to Get the Car of Your Dreams

Nearly everyone has that one car they've always longed to own, whether it's a vintage model or a sleek new sports car. In practice, however, purchasing and owning your dream car is much more difficult than you might think. However, with careful financial planning and some preliminary research, you can soon be the proud owner of the car you've always wanted. Here's a quick guide to the steps you should take to acquire the car of your dreams:

First Step: Do the Research

Before you do anything else, you should do some preliminary research on the model you've always wanted and the model year you're likely to purchase. You'll want to check to see if there are any auto shops nearby that will service the type of car (this can be a particular problem for vintage cars) as well as where you can acquire replacement parts if repairs are necessary. Another smart option is to search online for testimonials from people who have owned the specific make and model of your dream car to get info on what to expect when owning one.

Second Step: Start Saving Early

It's important to keep in mind that, unless you're a millionaire, saving up to buy your dream car is probably going to take time and effort. Find a rough estimate for how much your dream car will cost and start saving well before you commit to a specific car. One good strategy is to put aside a certain amount of money each month into a separate savings account to earn interest over time, or you might try to invest in stocks to earn some extra cash. Be sure to start saving even if you're not sure yet if you'll make the purchase because if you decide against buying the car, you can use the money you've saved up for something else.

Search for Auto Loans:

If you're having trouble coming up with enough money to buy your dream car, a good next step is to inquire about potential auto loans. These will be easier to acquire if you have good credit, but even if you don't, you can often get lower rates from local or online banks. If you need help comparing loan options, you can also use an online service such as auto.loan.

Locate A Vehicle Near You:

Once you have the financing down, it's time to locate a model of your dream car near you. The best way to find a specific car in your area is to use online services like AutoTrader that allow you to search by area or by keyword. If your dream car is a vintage model that's hard to find, you may also need to use a car concierge service, or you can search local listing from Craigslist or similar sites to see if anyone is selling a used model.

Get a Vehicle History Report:

Once you've located your dream car, the final step before purchasing is to check the vehicle's history to make sure you know what you're buying. The best way to do this is to use AutoTrader or Carfax (or any other vehicle history report services) to see any maintenance or accidents that the car has had in the past. If possible, it's also a good idea to do a pre-purchase inspection on your dream car. If you have an extensive knowledge of automobile maintenance this can be done yourself, but if not, enlist the service of a mechanic you've worked with before. In some cases, the seller may not allow you to take the car in for a pre-purchase inspection; if this is the case, you'll probably want to make the deal contingent on a clean inspection. After all, the work you put into locating your dream car will all have been for nothing if the car breaks down within a few months of purchasing it.