Key Auto Center of Portsmouth

2025 Woodbury Ave
Directions Newington, NH 03801

  • Sales: 855-971-6146
  • Service: 855-971-6152
  • Parts: 855-971-6151

First Time Car Buyer

First Time Car Buyers: how to remain calm and enjoy the process

Buying a vehicle is often the second largest purchase a person will make after buying a house. You may ask many people how their last car buying experience went, and they may say that it can feel daunting, exhausting, and painful. These feelings may be a result of the fact that most people don't buy a car every year so when they finally buy something, the process is very new to them. The reality is that car buying doesn't have to be that way, it can be FUN! This article will serve as a helpful guide but also as a way to set your expectations entering the process of buying a vehicle and ultimately lead you to a more satisfying solution to your vehicle needs. It is an investment that will normally take years to pay off and a decision that is not made spur-of-the-moment. Yet, statistics show that outside a few major cities, it is essential for the modern day adult to have a vehicle for transportation. As a customer looking to make their first purchase, the whole process can seem intimidating and overwhelming. However, there are so many options today that make this process easy and even fun. The Internet has transformed the way we shop, and the automotive industry as a whole has changed significantly to cater to the modern era. Whether you look for articles that compare similar models or search Youtube for an in-depth review, you have a lot more information at your fingertips than automotive customers even 10 years ago didn't have. Once you know what you are looking for in a vehicle, check out our extensive website. We have over 900+ quality used vehicles to choose from and are constantly getting new inventory to make sure we have the perfect vehicle for you.

Do I even need a vehicle?

This is a question that many people who are considering making a vehicle purchase ask themselves. Before we get into the aspects of purchasing a vehicle, it's important to ask yourself this question. The answer, for the majority of people now, is yes I do. The world we live in is constantly moving at an incredible pace and things do not stay the same for very long. New York City and Chicago are perhaps the only real places where it is not entirely essential to own a vehicle. Everywhere else, however, simply does not have the public transportation means to not own a vehicle. Sitting around waiting for a ride will end up costing you money, productivity, and the most valuable thing of all: time. Getting out on the open road and accomplishing all that you desire is a staple of the American Dream. Now, more than ever, it is possible to find the exact vehicle that fits your lifestyle and budget. New technology has made vehicles more efficient, safer, more comfortable, and just overall better than ever before. Picking the exact vehicle you want is no longer a guessing game; the amount of information available online has made it easy to learn everything you want to know before signing any paperwork. Buying a vehicle is even one of the best ways to build or improve on your credit score. There are so many advantages to purchasing a vehicle today that it just doesn't make sense to not own one if you have the means to. Financing is available for all types of budgets, so if you haven't thought about buying simply because you didn't think you could afford it then it's time to fill out a credit application and become surprised on the number of options you actually have. Below is an overview of the key aspects to think about when purchasing a vehicle for the first time. Along with this information, contact a sales representative at any of our fine locations and they will personally address any questions you may have and help you find the right vehicle for you. We ask that as you start to explore the car buying process by researching it online you fully utilize our website, our blogs, watch our online videos and like our pages on Facebook. It will help you shop responsibly if you make all our information easily accessible to yourself. Please be open and honest with yourself and with our trusted sales advisers and finance department so that they can help guide you to the best solution for you. Remember as you get started with this process to remain calm and not put any unnecessary pressure on yourself to become an expert on the subject. When you start to feel comfortable with buying a vehicle you will be able to have very productive conversations with your trusted sales adviser and the process will feel natural.


Getting a bank to approve financing can be the most difficult part of purchasing a vehicle, especially as a young person with minimal credit history or as someone trying to improve their less-than-perfect credit from mistakes made in the past. Fortunately, at Key Auto Group, we specialize in catering to all types of credit situations. We work with a large number of banks and credit unions to analyze your unique situation and find what will fit best for your loan. The best place to start is by clicking the link to and filling out a finance application. One of our knowledgeable sales and finance managers will find the best possible option for you to get approved for a loan to purchase the right vehicle for you. As a young person, there are several things you can do in order to build your credit history and have a greater chance of securing a good rate on an auto loan:

  1. Put apartment leases, utility bills, and other large item contracts in your name. Then, PAY OFF your debts on time, every time. Showing that you have important financial responsibilities that you can take care of every month is a big way you can show a bank that you are trustworthy.

  2. Use a credit card the responsible way. Credit cards can be very good or very bad for your credit history. Using them and then paying off the balance at the end of each month is a great way to build your credit history and show that you can be trusted to pay back borrowed money. However, not paying your debts off will show that you may not be ready for a big loan, which will affect your rate or even your ability to get a loan at all.

  3. Keep track of your account balances at all times. Identity theft has become a major problem in our society, and the methods these criminals employ has gotten more advanced. It is important to make sure you report unauthorized charges immediately. Unless you identify and report these charges, which can result in debt and overdraft fees, you will be held responsible and your credit score will go down.

What to buy?

Picking out your first vehicle is exciting and luckily as an auto customer today, there are more resources available then ever to help you make that choice. Depending on your existing level of knowledge of vehicles you may be able to move very swiftly through certain steps of the process but we recommend that each individual pay attention to each step of the process and at the very least have a brief conversation with a sales adviser at one of our used car stores when starting their process. The reason we suggest this is the same reason most people don't buy a house without looking it over and having many conversations with professionals, friends, and family. This is not an every day purchase and our trusted sales advisers have spent years gaining experience with other customers just like you and many hours spent in classes learning the ins-and-outs of buying/selling used cars in NH. Detailed reviews and comparisons give you all the information you want to know and help narrow down your choices to make your final decision easier. There are several things to consider when picking what vehicle will work best for you.

  1. What type of vehicle will best satisfy your day-to-day needs? Do you need a large SUV to haul people and cargo? Do you need a fuel-efficient sedan to commute every day? Or do you need a truck that can tow a heavy trailer? It is important to think about what you will use the vehicle for so that you can focus on a more specific category of vehicle.

  2. RWD, FWD, AWD, or 4WD? Selecting the drivetrain of the vehicle you're looking for is important because it can significantly impact cost and gas mileage. In New England, AWD and 4WD vehicle are popular because of their performance in snowy conditions. However, these vehicles tend to be more expensive and less fuel-efficient than their FWD and RWD counterparts. Conversely, FWD and RWD vehicles of the same make and model can be less expensive than the AWD/4WD versions, but they are trickier to drive in bad weather and snow tires can be expensive.

  3. What features matter most to you? Once you determine the type of vehicle that you want and the best drivetrain type, you can focus on finding a model that has all of the features you want. Optional features are great, but they can be very expensive additions that can push the vehicle's price outside your financial limits. Determine if things like a navigation system, sunroof, leather seats, and more are important to you. If so, great, then find models that have those features and make sure you can afford that vehicle. However, if some of those options you can do without, then look to find vehicles without those items because it will save you a lot of money on things you won't ever use.

  4. Take a test drive. At the end of the day driving is what matters in a vehicle and actually testing it on the road is an extremely important part of the purchasing process. Before you purchase the vehicle, make sure that you are entirely comfortable driving it. You don't want to be stuck in something that you don't find comfortable to drive or that is too big for you to handle. Take your time and make sure it's the right one. It's important that you actually feel the driver's seat underneath you to verify that this vehicle is comfortable. You may never think about the positioning of a steering wheel until you actually go to our dealership and sit behind a few to check out the setup.

  5. Finally, choose a vehicle you can afford. This is the most important part of choosing your first vehicle. While it may seem tempting to stretch your budget to drive around in a big-name luxury sedan or sports car, most of the time in the long run this is not a smart financial decision for your first vehicle. Unless you have a lot of money to put down at signing, you will likely have a very long loan term which will outlive the life expectancy of the vehicle / end up costing more than the vehicle will be worth at the end. Coupled with the fact that these vehicles are more expensive to maintain and command larger insurance premiums, it's just not a good idea. Instead, find a vehicle you know you can comfortably pay off every month. Not only will you be building great credit history with the bank by making your car payment on time, but also later on you can trade into something more expensive as you have proven you are a trustworthy borrower. Remember to consider costs such as registration, taxes, insurances and regular maintenance.

Why choose Key for your first vehicle purchase?

Now that you have a good understanding on what needs to be done when purchasing your first vehicle, it's important to know why Key Auto Group is the best in the business and the right place for you to go to make your purchase. First, we are proud to offer a non-pressure sales experience that focuses on your needs as our top priority. When other dealers promise this experience and fail to provide it, you will find that we are able to execute this great customer experience because our sales consultants are not paid by commission. Our sales consultants can sell you an $80,000 vehicle or a $5,000 vehicle and it will make absolutely no difference in their pay. We genuinely want to find you a vehicle that you can afford and are happy with every day. We do not make judgments based on your budget or financial history, and finding what works best for you is our main goal. This is a unique experience that not many dealerships offer, and you will only find this experience executed at this high of a level at Key Auto Group dealership locations. We value integrity and honesty in every step of the buying process. Every vehicle in our inventory includes a free CARFAX history report so you can learn as much as possible about the vehicle you're interested in. Your safety and satisfaction with your new vehicle are, above all, most important to us. That is why each vehicle in our inventory goes through a reconditioning process to make sure it is ready for a long, reliable future. Finally, we offer the most competitive prices around, giving you the best possible value for your money. We have a fantastic referral program that many of our customers have chosen to participate in. We hope that our new customers decide they too want to take advantage of the program. How this referral program works is, whenever you buy a vehicle from any of our NH used car locations you are then eligible to send in a unique customer (could be your wife, husband, brother, sister, daughter, son) to speak with your trusted sales adviser and when they buy a used vehicle from them, you can receive a nice tax free $100 check in the mail courtesy of your Key Auto store. You may want to take some time while going through the car buying process to go over all the specifics of our key auto certified vehicle programs and learn about the KeyChain. At Key Auto Group, we know that caring for our customers is a whole lot more than selling you a vehicle. Our commitment to our valued customers goes far beyond putting keys in your hand. This is why our business includes everything you need to maintain your vehicle from the time you pull off of our lot. At Key Auto Group, "When your wheels hit the ground, we've got you covered."

Overall, we want you to feel satisfied with your experience at any Key Auto Group location, hope that you return for all of your maintenance needs, and come back when it's time to purchase your next vehicle.

Thank you for choosing Key Auto Group, please drive safe.