In order to get a car loan that best aligns with your needs and desires, you should go in with a full arsenal of knowledge about the car loan process and its various aspects. By doing so, you will be in command of the loan application process, and won’t get taken advantage of by opportunistic lenders who don’t have your best interests in mind. Understanding the following factors will ensure that you’re well-equipped and empowered to control the loan application process, and reap the results that come from your preparation.
If you want to remember one thing about car loan applications, it’s that your credit score is king. It will determine what kind of interest rates you are offered by lenders, which will in turn dictate how much you end up paying for your car loan over its lifetime.
However, something that most people aren’t aware of regarding their credit score is that it actually decreases slightly when lenders check your credit history. A great way to avoid any lasting effects of this credit score decrease is to do all of your car loan applications within a 14 day period. By doing so, each lender inquiry is treated as just one check, which means that your credit score doesn’t take multiple hits. This will keep your credit score as high as possible, resulting in the best interest rates for your car loan.
Your Financial Footing
Knowing your financial situation inside and out is an important part of correctly navigating the car loan application process. Balancing your income, expenses, debt, and savings to determine what kind of budget you have for your monthly car payments requires an honest assessment of your financial footing.
Going into the application process with an intimate understanding of where you’re at financially means that you won’t overextend yourself pursuing a car/car loan that you can’t afford, setting you up for long term financial health, rather than more burdensome debt.
Car dealerships often draw in buyers who haven’t done their research with extremely appealing offers like 0% financing and cash rebates, but these deals aren’t always what they appear to be on the surface. These especially tempting offers only go to the best qualified applicants, with the best credit scores and histories, and if you don’t qualify as one of these people, the outlook can be a look more bleak. Always explore all of your options before settling on one, and make sure you know the ins and outs of your financing terms before agreeing to anything.
While we are looking into things to know before you apply for a car loan, it’s also important to understand the power that comes from being pre-approved for a car loan before you begin shopping for your new car. Pre-approval not only gives you the confidence that you have financial backing while on the lot looking at your car options, it also changes your standing in negotiations with the dealership.
Having pre-approval gives you the status of a cash buyer, which empowers you to get better interest rates while negotiating the terms of your car payments. Understanding the benefits of pre-approval is a crucial step in navigating the car loan process.