Doing your homework before buying a used car can save you an incredible amount of money, especially since cars are one of the most expensive consumer items anyway. But many are not as well prepared as they should be when they get used car auto loans. For some reason, buyers seem to often let their guard down when it comes time to finance the car that they want, and here is where you can lose more money than almost anywhere else in the deal. So here are the top 5 mistakes that you want to avoid when getting used car auto loans:
Mistake #1. Not knowing what your credit score is - Before you even begin shopping for your car, get a copy of your credit report and go over it very carefully. Your credit score will determine to a very large degree how much interest you will have to pay on your car loan. Unfortunately, it's common to find errors in your credit report that do not work in your favor, so keep up to date on your credit report and get all errors removed immediately to get your best finance deals.
Mistake #2. Not getting auto financing in advance - Once you have your credit score and know what kind of interest rate you can qualify for, shop around and line up used car auto loan financing before you visit the dealer or go shopping at all. You may want to visit your local bank that you do business with, or even your credit union as they tend to offer very good loan rates to their members. But don't forget using the internet to get auto loan approval too. Many of the loan sites on the web are able to give you credit authorization within the same day so it's quick and easy, and often saves money since you are dealing directly with the lender. Once you have advance financing in place you are now in position to bargain with the dealer on financing instead of just blindly accepting what they offer.
Mistake #3. Allowing the dealer to obscure details of the car deal - Car dealers often want to mix up the numbers from all segments of the deal so it becomes confusing and hard to pin down exactly what kind of deal you are getting. Do not let them separate out the three distinct parts of most car deals, (1) the actual cost of the car being bought, (2) the actual amount being allowed for trade-in, and (3) the details of the finance contract if you decide to finance the car through them. Don't let them get you focused on your monthly payment early in the buying process. Keep financing totally separate until the end and watch everything carefully.
Mistake #4. Not going over the finance contract carefully before signing - If you decide to finance through the dealer it's usually the last step in the process and it's easy to be tired by this point and just want to get things over. But actually you need to be even more vigilant and review the loan contract thoroughly to be sure that you are getting the finance arrangements that you have bargained for and that no additional items were inserted into the deal that you did not already approve.
Mistake #5. Going ahead with a financing deal even when you feel uncomfortable - If you ever start to feel uncomfortable with any part of the sales or financing part of buying your car, just walk away right then. Don't let yourself be pressured into doing anything that you don't feel totally comfortable with. Many consumers have been hounded into buying a car that they later regretted because of not heeding this advice.
When getting used car loans, if you avoid the mistakes listed above you will be able to go a long way toward making sure that you get the right loan at the right price.
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