Get auto loan quotes, then shop for a car
Check auto loan quotes before car buying
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a new car -- the fancy features and new-car smell are enticing. But consumers would be wiser to save the giddiness until after they compare auto loan quotes from several sources.
Budget firstFinancing a car purchase, whether new or used, should start with your budget. For negotiating purposes, it is better not to share with the dealer your ideal monthly auto loan payment. But you should know in advance what you can comfortably afford to spend on a monthly basis.
Compare payment optionsAn online auto loan calculator can help you evaluate your choices, such as accepting a rebate from the dealer versus getting a reduced interest rate. It also allows you to estimate your car payments at different rates.
Check your creditEvery year, you can get your complete credit report from all three major credit bureaus from AnnualCreditReport.com. Be sure to check yours before shopping for a car loan. Borrowers with the highest credit scores (you can be charged to see your score) should expect to be offered financing at the lowest interest rate. If you have excellent credit, you are in a better negotiating position.
Get the real value of your trade-inIf you are trading in your old car as part of the deal, first check out how much you could get for the car if you sold it through a used-car company such as CarMax.com. You also can check used car prices at such auto sites as Edmunds.com. Consider selling your car separately from the deal on the new car to see how that impacts your financing.
Compare auto loan quotesWhile one-stop shopping -- getting your new car and the financing from the dealer -- might be simpler, it can be more expensive than having a pre-approved car loan from another lender. Taking the time to evaluate auto loan quotes from independent lenders or your bank could save enough to spend that little extra on high-end accessories for your new ride.
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