Securing any type of loan is not easy, and securing an auto loan is no different. The process for securing the funds you need to purchase a vehicle can be time consuming, convoluted and downright frustrating. However, if you keep in mind the following advice before shopping for car loans, you can make the car buying process much less of a hassle.
Know Your Credit
A higher credit score means better interest rates, so if you have a good score don’t be afraid to brag about it. If the lender thinks that you’re unware of just how good your credit score is, they may try to undermine you by offering just average rates. Don’t let this happen, and make it clear from the get-go that you expect prime rates for a prime score.
If your credit score is not so great, don’t worry—you’ll still be able to get an auto loan. However, you may have to pay higher interest rates, so just take your time shopping around for the lowest rates your credit will buy you.
Set a Budget
Just because you have a great credit score does not mean that you should shop outside of your means. The dealership will probably try to convince you to take out more than you can afford because your credit can support it, but don’t do this. To set a realistic budget, add up all of your monthly expenses, including how much you plan to save each month, your yearly tax obligation and any other annual fees you have (property taxes, health club, etc.). Subtract the total from your annual salary and that is how much you can afford for a vehicle.
Show Up With a Down Payment
An ample down payment is the best way to reduce the amount you need to borrow and therefore, to make you more a more desirable borrower in lenders’ eyes. The less risk you pose the better, and a nice down payment is a sure sign of a safe debtor.
Car loans aren’t impossible to come by—just difficult. If you want to eliminate the hassle of car shopping, try the tips above.