Quick Guide to Buying a Tesla Model 3 – April 2019

I bought Tessy, my Model 3, about a month ago. Oh man, been loving every minute of owning this car. I’ve been driving shit cars since I got my license, deciding to pursue this upgrade was a huge decision for me. Overall, the Tesla buying experience is as easy as buying iPhone, but there are were still times where I wish there was some sort of guide that would tell me how each step of the purchase process goes before I hit that big old COMFIRM button and say goodbye to my hard-earned money.

So here it is, I will try my best to recapture every step that I went through to become take Tessy home. If you’re thinking about getting a Model 3, I hope this could help you alleviate some anxiety.

Step 1: Figure Out What Config is Right for You

My Tessy is a Long Range RWD Model 3 with Premium Interior, black exterior and interior, and AutoPilot.

Tesla’s configuration offerings are always changing. Since I can’t predict what will be available in the future, I will just briefly touch on how you may want to go about making this decision and why I choose my configuration.

Drive Train:

This boils down to two key metrics, range and acceleration. Ask yourself, Do you often take long roadtrips? Do you wish to accelerate absurdly fast for? My answer to those questions was yes and no. I’m a big skier, so being able make ski trips is a big factor for me. On the question of acceleration though, that sounded just like some evil pleasure that I shouldn’t let myself waste money on. To be totally frank, my non-performance Model 3 is already by far the fastest car I’ve ever owned, it already beats out 99% of cars on the road today, I didn’t feel like I needed to get to the 99.9%.


What trim you want is purely personal. Just know that any color besides black is going to run to a few thousands more. I didn’t care enough about my car’s color to go and spend that extra money.


Why even buy a Tesla and not get Autopilot?! Autopilot is seriously a game changer. My driving model has become “oh, I’m tired of driving now, I’ll just let Tessy take over”.

However, I do not recommend getting the FSD package as of today. Tesla’s Full Self Driving technology won’t become available for another year or two, the maturity date is going to be even longer out(you don’t wanna be the guinea pig and put your safety on the line). In my opinion, the FSD package won’t be worth it until a time when FSD is not only feature-complete but also well proven after a period of user trails. What the FSD package offers today is more of a novelty(lane changing, on/off ramp) that adds another 10% autonomy to your driving.

Step 2: Order Your Car

Once you are happy with your configuration, go ahead and place and order. You need to pay $2500 to place the order, this CAN be paid by a credit card.(get those points!)

Once you pay your deposit, you will receive instructions to register for a Tesla Account. Your Teala Account will be the portal to everything you need to do with your car.

Next, you will need to provide some house-keeping information such as your address, SSN, income, etc. You will also be asked to upload a copy of your current insurance. You don’t need to change your insurance or anything, just upload it.

You now have to choose a method of payment.

Assuming that most of you won’t be paying with cash, that leaves you with either Tesla loan or your own financing. I highly recommend Tesla’s loan program. The way it works puts you at no risk. If you go with Tesla’s loan, you are still welcome to go find better rates with other credit unions. If you are able to provide proof of approved loan at a lower rate that Tesla offers within 7 days after delivery, you will get a check to compensate for the potential savings you would get if you go with the CU. TLDR, you can’t lose. At this step, you will also be asked to input a loan term.

Note: you should start looking for Credit Unions ASAP at this point if you think you can beat Tesla’s 3.75%(As of March 2019)

Tesla now has enough information to run your credit. The next business day, Tesla will come back to you with a Conditional Approval for Financing. You will have to upload some additional documents to lock down the loan. You will need:

  • 2 forms for Proof of Income, below are acceptable documents
    • Last 2 pay stubs
    • Employment Verification
    • Offer Letter
    • Previous year’s W2
  • 1 Proof of Residence, you can use:
    • Utility bill
    • Lease agreement
    • DMV Documents

You should be getting a good final number for your down payment at this step. Note that this amount is paid in addition to your $2500 deposit. This payment MUST be cash (aval in your checking account). Mine boiled down to this. Yes, this is a lot of taxes and fees, bummer, but this is California…

Step 3: Prepare for Delivery

Model 3s nowadays are getting produced lightning fast. I ordered my car on a Sunday, I saw my car’s VIN appear on Tuesday, and got my car on Thursday. You will pretty much need to have all the cash ready to do this once you order. There isn’t really any time to buffer.

Anyways, once you get your loan stuff sorted out, someone from Tesla will contact you to arrange delivery. They’re very flexible with delivery since I was in the bay area where the factory is at. I even had my delivery address changed super last minute and that was no problem. I can imagine that it probably won’t be so flexible if your car needs to come off a truck and get dropped off in front of your house. One action item on the buyer side is that you need to make sure you have the car insured the day of delivery, meaning that you need to change your policy the day before.

Step 4: Take Delivery

I recorded the entire delivery process, as you can see, I was pretty friggin stoked

Paperwork was very straightforward. You sign a bunch of DMV stuff, and a Tesla document acknowledging that you accept the car. You should give the car a thorough inspection before signing. If you do find any cosmetic/functional issues with the car, you have 3 days to complain about it to Tesla and they will fix for free. If you applied for a new license plate, expect to see that in your mail in around 3-5 weeks.

Step 5: Care and Feeding

You would definitely want to take care of your new baby car. Here are a few aspects I can shed some lights on.


You should definitely get a screen protector for your display right the way. Amazon has a bunch of good options.

You will also want to protect the shiny finish of the center console, door handle, and other trims with some vinyl. If you have access to a laser cutter, I recommend this repo (https://github.com/Kenrik/Model-3-Vinyl-Wrap-Template) where you can get vector graphics files to cut any vinyl wrap. Otherwise, you can find some wrap already cut to size on Amazon. Use some soapy water when applying, it does wonder!


Your Model 3 comes with a basic super slow 120V/240V charger. I forgot the exact wattage, but it would take around 24 hr to go from 0-100%. I recommend getting setup the some the following charger networks. They are all free to register. They usually offer lvl2 charging up to around 6kw. That’s about 10hr from 0-100%

  • ChargePoint
  • EVGo
  • Blink

Supercharging is another options for you, but I don’t recommend using supercharging as a regular mean of getting charge. Charging at such a high rate all the time can degrade your battery pack faster. I reserve supercharging to only road trip needs/ emergency situations. Economically speaking though, supercharging is actually on par or even cheaper per kWh compared to the network of chargers listed above.

Carpool Sticker:

All CA owners are eligible for the sticker, period. The current purple sticker program is valid until 1/1/2023

If you make over $150k gross during the year of purchase though, you are ineligible for the $2500 state rebate.

Flooring it:

Full send all the time, oh man flooring this car is way too much fun. Caution yourself because you are going to get addicted.


With the supercharger network, I feel zero range anxiety associated with owning an EV. I’ve already done two major trips, from Bay<->Tahoe, and Bay<->LA. Both trips included brief charging stops where I was able to use the bathroom, stretch and get some food. Most superchargers can dump up to 120kW into your car, that’s an absurd amount of power really. You will be getting about 500mile/hr of charging from 0-60%, about 250mile/hr of charging from 60%-80%, and about 150mile/hr to go to 100%. I suggest you keep your battery below 80% and make more stops, it actually shortens the total trip time.

Loving your Car:

Your new ride deserves some serious love. Take her out to scenic spots and take pictures! Or just sit and enjoy her company in romance mode. Can’t to create more memorable moments with Tessy along the side. <3

Wrapping up

Hope what I was able to document and share if helpful to you in one way or another. Getting Tessy into my life has truly changed my life. Thanks Elon for making Amazing cars, and I hope more and more people will get to experience the magic of owning an EV!

I you ever want to buy one yourself, feel free to use my referral code, you’ll get some free supercharging! https://www.tesla.com/referral/junhan78195