When you want to buy a car and are trying to figure out how to pay for it your options can seem confusing. Financing a car is something that most of us will do in our lifetime, so let’s look at the two most popular options: obtaining financing from a private lender, and obtaining financing from the dealership.
Financing Through a Private Lender
When you are going to get a loan, be sure to get a copy of your credit score and credit report before you go so that you’re armed with that information ahead of time. This information helps lenders determine whether or not to approve you for a loan and what interest rate to offer you if you are approved. This is an important first step because your credit score can actually take a bit of a hit when you are comparing lenders if they are all making requests for your credit history. Once you have that information start contacting banks and credit unions to determine who has the best rates and terms for the loan.
Rates for used cars will be a bit higher than new cars, so be ready for that if you are trying to buy a used car. If you are buying a used car, these are some important things you should know before you go to get financing:
- â€¢ Make and model
- â€¢ VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
- â€¢ Age of the car
- â€¢ Mileage on the car
- â€¢ Sometimes lenders will have restrictions on whether or not they can even issue loans based on when the car was initially purchased, how many miles are on it, and what the standing is of the title.
Once you have found the best rate bring a pre-qualification letter, which states the terms and conditions of the loan, to the dealership so that you can prove that you have secured financing. This will also give you bargaining power if the car dealership offers you financing at a higher rate. Also be sure to bring that same credit report and credit score that you brought to the bank. This will provide you with as much leverage as possible to get a good rate from the dealership to compete with what you have already locked in with your bank.
Financing Through a Dealership
Interest rates from car dealerships tend to be higher than rates from private lenders so if you can get a lower rate from a bank or credit union that is usually the best route to take. The advantage of getting financing from the dealership is that they can work more with people who may have difficulty getting bank financing due to their credit. Dealerships have to offer financing on the vehicles that they sell and if you cannot get financing elsewhere, having financing at a higher rate is better than having no financing at all. Dealerships are also able to offer incentives that banks cannot offer. For instance, dealerships can offer things like a trade-in on your current vehicle and rate reductions or better terms if you supply a down payment.
Some Lessons to Remember:
- Not all credit scores will be the same. It may be worth checking using multiple credit score services to ensure that you are getting the credit score that is going to give you the best chance of securing financing and getting the best interest rate.
- Check multiple sources! If you just go with whatever financing is presented to you from the dealership you may be missing out on a better rate. Over the lifetime of the car this can add up to a large sum!
- If you get turned down for financing that can be difficult to hear, but it might actually be for the best. Getting rejected when applying for a loan means that the lender does not have certainty that you will be able to pay back that loan. So take that information and know that you will likely have to look for a less expensive car.