It can be very exciting when thinking about purchasing a used car. It should be easy to pick out a make and model and drive home with it shortly after taking it for a test drive. While the process may be easy for some people, buying a used car can be somewhat complicated if you don't have some important things in place first. Here are a few things to consider before you go out and sign a purchase agreement on a used vehicle. It could save you a lot of time, hassle and money.
Run Your Credit Report
One of the biggest things that will ensure your entire auto purchase runs smoothly is that you know and understand your credit report and credit score before visiting a used car dealership. Your past and current credit situation is a determining factor in if you'll get approved for an auto loan. Your credit will also determine your interest rate and how much your monthly loan payment will be. Most lenders also pay attention to your credit or FICO score as well. Things that go into determining your credit score include:
- How much you owe and the available credit balance on revolving credit accounts, including credit cards
- Payment history of large purchase items including your mortgage and past and existing auto loans
- Amount of open accounts
- Length of time accounts have been opened
- If credit accounts are closed due to non-payment or if balance is paid off in full
- Any accounts currently in collection or past bankruptcies
A good FICO is generally considered over 750, but each lender has their own credit criteria when it comes to determining good credit. You can contact the three main bureaus; TransUnion, Equifax and Experian to request your credit report and FICO score.
Know Your Budget Terms
Before you see your salesperson at your local used auto sales department, you should know how much you can afford. It's best to have:
- A significant down payment of at least 10 percent
- Collateral, such as trade-in vehicle if possible
- A pre-approved loan from your local bank or credit union
If you plan on getting financed through the dealership, be sure to bring along your existing pay stubs and monthly budget. This will make it easier for your salesperson to get you into a car payment that you can truly afford.
Talk To Your Auto Insurance Agent
A big part of your monthly budget will be your total auto insurance cost. If you decide to make monthly payments, you'll need to get a quote from your insurance company. Once you decide on an insurance agent and make your first payment, you can use the binder policy to obtain temporary plates and drive your vehicle home.
Have A Mechanic Inspect Your Vehicle
If you're buying a used vehicle, there can be a lot about the vehicle's history that isn't apparent at first glance. Having a trusted mechanic do a quick inspection of the vehicle will work to your advantage. If the vehicle comes with a warranty, they have likely been thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic. But if you want to protect your investment and avoid potential pricey engine repairs, take the vehicle to a mechanic of your choice, before you finalize the purchase.
Buying a used car is something that will improve your day to day transportation. Utilizing a few tools ahead of time will help simplify the process. Contact a business, such as Car Craft Auto Sales, Inc., for more information.