By: Shannon Cornejo
Buying a car can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Finding the right car and loan are important decisions that should be given time and attention to make sure you get a deal that meets your needs. Here are four tips to help you enjoy your test drives, spend less time in the financing office and start cruising in your new car faster.
Figure Out What Kind of Car You Want
Before you visit any dealership, narrow down your vehicle options first. Determining whether you want something new or used will have an impact on your interest rate, give you a better idea of pricing and limit the need for warranties.
If you choose a new vehicle, expect to spend more. Your vehicle may depreciate quickly, but you will have access to lower interest rates. The car will also most likely come with a warranty and possible rebates that are beneficial for buyers who have trade-in vehicles.
On the flipside, used vehicles are also great options in that so many of them have reasonably low mileage and are in good condition. Some are even within the manufacturer’s warranty period, which can offer loan rates and terms that are more economical than a rebate.
Use websites like www.netlook.com or www.autotrader.com to see what kind of vehicles are available near you and compare the prices between the dealerships you want to visit. These sites also offer online pricing discounts, which can save you quite a bit of money!
Check Out Your Financing Options
Once you have decided on a budget and a basic vehicle type, visit your financial institution to look into your financing options. VyStar offers a VIP check for members to apply for a loan up to a requested amount. Take that check with you to the dealership so that, when you find your perfect auto, you can write that check out for the agreed sale amount.
Auto loans are most often the second-largest purchase many people make. So if you decide to purchase an auto, don’t hesitate to ask the credit union and/or the dealership any questions you feel are necessary to understand all of the fees, terms and financing options.
Now that you’ve researched some cars and gotten your financing in order, it’s time to go shopping! When you think you’ve found your perfect car, ask for the price of the vehicle. Don’t get mixed up in discussions about payment; just stick to the purchase price of the vehicle. Some people refer to this as the “out-the-door price.” Check the value of the vehicle you are buying on www.kelleybluebook.com and www.nada.com to be sure you aren’t overpaying for the car. The idea when buying a car is to not end up owing more than the car is worth, if at all possible. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to keep looking! You will find the right car and financing for you.
Don’t Forget About Insurance
So the dealership has made you the deal of a lifetime. The car is perfect, the price is right and you are ready to write that check! Before you do, there is one last thing you need to do: Call your insurance company to find out what your new premiums would be with your new car. You wouldn’t want to sign your papers and head home only to find that your new V6 doubled your monthly insurance bill on top of your new loan payment. As a rule of thumb, try to keep your total transportation expenses—including car payments, gas, and insurance—under 15% of your monthly expenses. Click here to get even more of our great tips on creating a budget.
Driving your new car home should be exciting! It’s a big, sometimes scary purchase, but with a little planning you can hit the road in no time. Visit your local branch if you’d like more information on loans or on preparing for your next auto purchase.
*The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.