Tag: vehicle

Car Buying: New or Used, Consider this Advice

Having a new car is something almost everyone looks forward to but the purchase process can be a bit stressful. In the end, whether new or used, it’s a new car to you!

There are so many things you might want or need in a vehicle, you have to look around Buying a New Carand see what kind you want, what color, what type of features you want it to have whether you want leather seats, what type of transmission, just to name a few.

Before you begin car shopping, make a list of yourself for what you want your car to have; knowing exactly what you want can very helpful, such as a family sized car or a smaller car, what color you would like the exterior interior, a hybrid/eco-friendly car, even down to the smaller details of the auto. Of course, being more flexible with what you desire in a car can give you a wider range of cars available for sale in your area.

Decide what type of a car you’re going to want, a brand new or used car. A brand new car is great; in some cases it’s much more reliable than a used car and can last longer than a used car. There is nothing wrong with buying a used car; if you aren’t ready to make a big purchase, it can be less expensive than buying a brand new car.

An important thing to know if you aren’t purchasing your car with a check or cash, is what types of loan you can be approved for. You can save money on interest rates by going to your financial institution and getting pre-approved for an auto loan, whether you’re purchasing the car from a dealership or a private party. Normally the financial institution has lower rates than what a car dealership can offer you and being pre-approved will give you a bit more leverage to negotiate with a salesperson. If you’re trading in your current car for a new one, know the price before you go to the dealership. Getting a trade in value before you start shopping can let you know whether you’re getting more or less than what your current car is actually worth. KBB.com (Kelly Blue Book) is a great website to get an estimated value over your current car or a used car you’re thinking about purchasing.

Car Dealerships:

Check different dealer locations (if you’re purchasing closer to Arlington chances are prices could be higher than purchasing in Stafford, Dale City or even Fredericksburg). Purchasing at a smaller dealership vs. a larger dealership can have its pros and cons. A smaller dealership pro: you can negotiate more but you have higher interest rates. A larger dealership pro: lower car prices, lower interest rates but less room to negotiate. If the vehicle you’re looking for is not terribly unique, try find identical models at two or more dealerships and compete each dealerships offer against the others.

Online Shopping:

The internet can be a great tool to make your car buying easier, rather than driving from location to location looking for cars you can search many dealerships. Many dealerships can offer you an “online special” or have a “price promise” that can get you a lower deal on your vehicle. If the dealership you’re shopping from doesn’t have any type of online deals going on, they possibly might have an information tab where you can submit to them your information and a salesperson will contact you either through phone or by email.

Car Buying Services:

USAA, Costco and other membership based groups have car buying services to negotiate a lower rate for you. Keep in mind the price may still be higher than what you could negotiate on your own.

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, you have to keep in mind several things. A few of those things can be how much your monthly payments will be, how much interest you’ll be paying over the years, and what benefits the dealership can offer you (such as free state inspections, promotions on car care packages, discounts on servicing your vehicle).

Think about where you’ll keep your newest purchase. Do you have a garage, will you park it in your driveway at home or will you have to park it on the street? Will you trade in your old car or keep it for a while to sell at private party value? Private party sales almost always net you more money than a trade in offer. For your old wheels, consider temporary outdoor storage or container storage until you find a buyer. Showing potential buyers your vehicle at home can be a safety concern. At a storage facility like Gateway Storage, you can meet your potential buyer onsite to complete paperwork or let your buyer take it for a test drive, instead of your home. If you want to keep your old vehicle in storage for a bit while you decide whether to sell it, you can remove the tags and reduce the insurance from liability to general to save money. You will not be able to drive the vehicle on the road without tags or liability insurance, but you can place it into storage at Gateway. Many storage facility require current tags or full insurance, so make sure to call ahead with these questions. If your old car is not running, you may want to store it for a few months while you decide whether to repair it and to what extent. Check your local requirements, as it may be illegal or against HOA regulations to leave wheels with expired tags in your driveway or on your neighborhood street. Tow-in vehicles are welcome at Gateway Storage.

After the Purchase:

The moment you drive your vehicle off the lot it depreciates in value up to 20%, which can be a strong negotiating factor in purchasing your car. You want your vehicle to hold as much value as it can from the moment you drove it off the lot, meaning take good care of your car. Keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance/ mechanical and cosmetic needs (both on the interior and exterior). Regularly change the oil (most auto servicers recommend ever 3k-5k depending on the oil you use), change the breaks and tires when needed as well, detail the interior to to keep it looking nice/clean, give it a good wax to keep it looking as good as the time you bought it. Purchasing a car can be an extremely exciting thing to do, just keep these tips in mind when you are looking around the car market.

New Year, New Garage: Organize your Car Garage Now!

Researchers estimate only 30% of homeowners with a garage actually use them for car or vehicle storage. More often, garages are used

Organized Garage

Organized Garage

for storing extra household items, property from other family members, estate sales, or landscaping and lawn care equipment. Start planning now to organize your garage in 2016!

There are many solutions to organizing and de-cluttering your garage: first, you’ll need to make space to work. Consider a self storage container unit to pack away your extra household items. Container storage offers more space for less money than traditional indoor storage units, and are a secure, clean, safe alternative storage option for a large amount of boxes, furniture, equipment, materials or tools.

When considering cleaning out the garage, keep in mind you’ll need at least a full weekend or possibly two, to get everything done. Consider flooring early in your planning. An epoxy coating, rubberized coating, or concrete floor sealant can be an attractive addition to your garage and increase your home’s overall value. Flooring requires removing all items from the garage, so it’s a good idea to consider renting a storage unit large enough for all the items in your garage if redoing the floor. Custom floors with designs or colors are popular in some areas. If you are planning on staying in your home for many years, a custom garage floor may be a wise investment.

Get the family into the loop: depending on your garage size you might want to call in reinforcements. To stay organized and stay on track you’ll want to make piles of the things you’ll keep close to home and items you may want to put into a storage unit. Items you may never use again might be good candidates for charitable donation. Before donating, consider whether family members may be able to use these items in the future. Many of the things you’ll come across may make you somewhat nostalgic. For these items storage in a storage unit or self storage container may be the best option. You or your children can review these items at a less hectic time in the future.

For items you are keeping close to home, organize them first by order of importance. Keeping most of your goods in labeled plastic bins can be very helpful for organization as well as making it easy to find. Once you’re done storing your items make a floor plan for yourself, where do you want certain items? Where do you want to keep handyman tools? If you’re looking into buying shelves or putting up any type of cabinet, measure out the dimensions on your garage before you go out and buy anything. Buying the wrong thing can put a hole in your budget and can be a hassle trying to exchange it for something new. Consider making overhead storage for smaller household items or boxed items that you don’t have to have readily accessible.

Your local hardware store or big box store (Home Depot or Lowe’s) can be great places to start planning a garage storage strategy. Overhead storage can be attractive, but it can be expensive and time consuming to install. Consider the cost and time of researching, installing and using overhead storage versus storing items in a self storage unit or self storage container for a month or two.

A few general tips for garage organization:

  • Keep your bikes and scooters closer to your garage door, using racks or other hangers, so you don’t have to haul them through the entire garage for when you want to go on a bike ride.
  • Keep larger gardening tools further away from your car, so neither your car nor your appliances get damaged.
  • Keep chemicals in a child proof area, locked away. If you have any types of tanks such as propane, you should always keep them outside; a small spark could ignite a fire.
  • Keep a functional fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place.
  • Keep seasonal items and things you don’t use as often in higher or harder to reach places.
  • Keep any pet food in tightly sealed bins (the scent attracts insects and critters)
  • Place electronics accessories, cables, wires, and plugs in invidual Ziplock type bags and place all in the same storage bin, to prevent time consuming tangles.
  • Keep a storage bin or two stocked with emergency supplies such as water, non-perishable food, flash lights, batteries, blankets, matches, and a first aid kit. A complete guide to emergency preparedness can be found at the American Red Cross. 
  • Consider off site storage for extra vehicles, trailers or project cars.

If you have many tools, but don’t have a tool chest it can get messy. Tool chests are nice to have, but can be somewhat expensive especially if you’re organizing on a budget; consider having a tool pegboard for your bigger tools and a multiuse clear plastic cabinet for smaller bolts, nails and such. Storing your tools in storage bins wouldn’t be ideal for a few reasons; you can damage your tools, easily lose your smaller tools and when you can’t find them you might make a bigger mess than what you started off with. If you have inherited tools from a family member that are more sentimental then functional, consider storing them for a future time. An antique toolset, watch bench, chest or work bench makes a sentimental and irreplaceable gift for a grandchild.

Consider garage security: Are the windows and side doors of your garage lockable and tightly sealed? If your garage is not part of your security system, you may want to relocate any expensive items or items attractive to thieves to your home or to your self storage unit.

Try to re-evaluate your garage a few times a year to make sure things aren’t piling up again. Move items into your storage unit than are not being used, but could be helpful in the future. Keeping on top of your garage will save you from needing a complete overhaul ever again. Finally, if you have extra vehicle or project car at home, consider outdoor car storage to get it out of the way. Affordable outdoor car spaces and storage containers units are available at Gateway Storage. Check out our Facebook page for the latest specials or give us a call today!