Auto Loan Info and Financing: Steps to Take Before Purchasing a Vehicle

For many, purchasing a vehicle can be an exciting process as you dream about the type of car or truck that you would like to purchase. However, when it gets to the part in the process where you have to think about financing, your attitude can shift greatly to dread and even stress. The following paragraphs will address several key considerations to think about before purchasing a vehicle.

Before purchasing a vehicle, it is essential that you first determine your budget and find out what you can afford. Nothing is worse that dreaming of vehicles that are out of your budget, and then looking for a vehicle that is within your budget and finding that you are sadly disappointed. When determining what you can afford, it is important to look at the overall price of the car or truck versus the monthly payments. Although monthly payments are a major factor, financing companies and dealerships can make a vehicle seem much more affordable than it really is by stretching out the loan payment period. There is a large difference between a 3 year and a 5 year loan, and if you commit to an auto loan that is strung out for a longer period, you may end up owing more on the vehicle than what it is worth.

One way to determine what is within your budget is by researching car buying tools. The Internet is a great place to start. Many banks and financial institutions such as Bankrate have tools that help estimate monthly payments based on down payment, sticker price, loan length, and several other factors. Car buying tools such as this can give you a good ball-park of what may fit within your budget.

After you know what you can afford, you’ll need to decide if you want to buy a new or used vehicle. Depending on your budget, this may be a simple decision, but for the rest of us, there are pros and cons to each purchase decisions. New vehicles typically come with a warranty, you are sure that it has never been in an accident and hasn’t been driven hard, and can typically rest assured that it will last for years to come. However, the moment you drive a vehicle off the lot, it depreciates in value and you will pay considerably more for a new vehicle versus a slightly used one. On the other hand, used cars or trucks come with a lower price tag, and although they may have a warranty, you have to be more selective and knowledgeable taking into consideration mileage, previous accidents, maintenance records, potential repairs, etc. Nevertheless, there are many quality used vehicles for sale that will prove to be a good value and long-lasting.

The next area of consideration before purchasing a vehicle is your credit score. Although nearly everyone understands the importance of having a high credit score, many people are unaware of what their credit score (i.e. FICO score) is, or even the range that they fall within. Banks and financial institutions look at credit score to determine the type of risk that they hold on lending you money; thus, it determines your interest rate. For this reasoning, it is vital to find out what your credit score is by ordering a credit report. Then, thoroughly review all the information listed on the credit report to ensure that it is accurate. If errors are in your report, dispute them in writing or online through the credit agency. After that, make timely payment, minimize debt, close unnecessary lines and credit, and refrain from applying for new and unnecessary accounts. Because length of credit history is important, try to maintain your oldest accounts.

Now that you have a thorough understanding of your credit score and how it will affect your interest rate, it is time to apply for auto financing. You may be asking yourself, how do I find the best auto finance rate? The first place to start is by conducting an online search for an average daily or monthly auto loan rate. Although vehicle loan rates vary depending on the lender, your credit score, and regional factors, this will provide an average to use as a comparison when looking at your financing options. Most financial institutions offer Web site auto loan quotes and applications; on the other hand, independent financing companies such as E-Loan also offer competitive auto loan rates and are worth looking into. It is wise to obtain at least three loan quotes to get an idea of what you are likely to be offered, and investigate an extremely low APR (annual percentage rate) more carefully to make sure it isn’t an introductory rate which will increase over time.

After getting approved for a loan you are ready to go into the vehicle dealership and start the negotiation process on the purchase price of the vehicle. However, now that you know what you can afford, understand the type of loan you are able to obtain, and realize the types of vehicles that fit within your budget, you can walk into the dealership confident and rest assured that you will be getting the best vehicle for your situation. The process of purchasing a vehicle is meant to be enjoyable, and by following the recommendations above, you will be able to make a wise decision without pressure from outside sources that may not know specifically what you want or can afford.

About the Author
By: Jonathan Meyers

Elite Auto Loans specializes in helping online consumers find car loans to make the dream of owning a new or used vehicle a reality! For more information or to apply for an auto loan, please visit Elite Auto Loans.