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Old 04-27-2010, 10:38 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,689
How to buy a car (in MA)

So I'm going to be buying a new car for the first time. I want to make sure I understand the entire process, since it involves lots of things I've never had to deal with (loans, insurance, registration, etc.) Here's what I think I need to do... please let me know if I'm missing anything at any step.

1. Pick out a car. This, thankfully, I'm pretty sure of (I get a family discount on Fords, and the new Fiesta is getting some phenomenal reviews), though I'm going to test drive one or two alternatives just to be sure.

2. Set up financing. I'm going to pay most the value with cash, but still need a loan for maybe 30% of the cost. Ford credit is offering 0% at the moment, should I try to get pre-approval through them before walking into the dealership? Also, for good measure, I might get approval for a loan from my bank.

3. Order said car. Since the Fiesta has just been launched, there's no dealer inventory, so I think I have to order it and wait for it to be manufactured and delivered (which is ok, since I won't actually need the car until September). Do I pay when I order the car? Some deposit perhaps?

4. Pay for the car. Luckily, I don't have to deal with any haggling, since said Ford discount is a specific price that dealers have to honor. So I write a check for the cash portion I can afford, and then... what exactly do I do with the loan? Fill out some sort of paperwork for Ford's financing? Give them some sort of information about what I arranged with my bank?

5. Register and insure the car. I think the dealer is supposed to give me the registration form, and then I go straight to the RMV to turn it in and pay all the necessary taxes and fees. Problem is, the form needs to be signed by an insurance agent, and the insurer I want to go with (USAA) doesn't have a physical office in the state... anybody have a clue on how to deal with this?

6. Parking permits, excise tax, inspection. I think I just drive to the city office and get a parking permit as soon as I have it registered. Hopefully I can get that parking permit the same day I buy it, since I have to park it on the street... Inspection seems obvious enough, just go to one of the local repair shops that does inspections... Do I pay excise tax up front, or when the next tax day comes around?

Oy.... looks like a pretty crazy process, and a long day of errands and paperwork. Any other clues on how to go about it all? Can I just leave the car at the dealer for a day or two while I get registration and parking permits worked out?
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