What you need to buy a car

There are many steps in buying a car, from deciding what you want, determining what you can afford, finding the exact vehicle and agreeing to buy it from the buyer. Let's assume you've done all of this and found your dream wheels: what do you need now?

The bucks: The first thing to do is organise finance. If you've got the cash stashed away in the bank (lucky you!), make sure that it's accessible: you'll need to be able to make a bank transfer pretty soon, so notice will need to be given if you have money in a call account. Getting pre-approval from finance institutions for a certain amount will speed up the process once you've found your car. Applications for vehicle finance can be done online, over the phone or in person at a bank. If you need to borrow money, like most of us, there are a few things you will need:

A deposit – even if you are borrowing money to buy the car, most banks will insist that you have a deposit, usually of at least 10%;

A certified copy of your ID document/passport;

Three month's bank statements;

Your most recent three payslips;

A copy of your driver's licence;

Proof of residence (utility bill, bank statement, tax certificate, home loan statement or similar);

Sale agreement.

The docs: In addition to the documentation you need for the vehicle financing, you need a few things for vehicle registration:

Notice of Change of Ownership (NCO) form (also known as the 'Yellow form');

A certified copy of your ID document;

Proof of residence.

The safety net: It is a legal requirement in South Africa to have at least third-party insurance cover on your car. That means that if you drive into someone else, their car is covered by insurance even if yours isn't. But if you finance a vehicle, it is also required by law that you insure the vehicle comprehensively, to protect the bank's interest in your car. When sorting out insurance, get a few quotes from different service providers. When you have secured insurance you will be given a Proof of Insurance letter, which you will need to produce before you can drive the vehicle away.

COR: A Certificate of Roadworthiness or RWC (Roadworthy Certificate) is a piece of paper that says your vehicle is safe to drive on public roads. You will need the vehicle to pass a test before the COR is issued, and you need to the COR to change ownerships and receive a licence disc.

Assistance from the pros: It is a lot easier to buy a car from a reputable dealer such as Automark; the salesmen will be able to assist you with every step of the transaction, including COR, finance and registration, and even insurance if you want them to. You will also have recourse should there be a problem with the vehicle, and the Automark Certification means that the vehicle has been carefully checked mechanically. Automark also offers warranties and guarantees on certain vehicles they sell.