Shopping for a car can be really stressful if you’re a first time car buyer. Not setting a budget when car shopping can be the ultimate deal breaker. It is important that you are ready to commit when purchasing a big investment, otherwise you will be in a financial mess. The best rates you will find advertised will usually require that you have a good credit score. Your credit score will determine if you are in good standing to get an auto loan and how much interest the loan company will charge. I’ve got a few tips on how to help you find the best car loan rate.
1. Study the Loan’s Total Cost
When comparing car loan rates, you should keep an eye out for the APR, which is the Annual Percentage Rate. A lower rate can develop significant long-term savings. You should also consider the term of a loan. A shorter term means higher monthly payments, but less money being spent overall. The advantage of taking a shorter loan is the possibility of building thousands of dollars of equity in the vehicle by the end of the first year.
2. Shopping for an Auto Loan
There are many places you can shop at for an auto loan. A few of these places are:
Local Banks: Banks have stable and controlled loan policies because they generally cater to individuals with better credit histories. Your local bank will probably be the best place to start since it is a familiar financial institution. Because your local bank already has your personal information, it is an advantage and it definitely saves you more time.
Local Credit Unions: Credit unions operate like banks, but they only grant money to their members. Credit unions costs are fairly low, which is why they are so competitive.
Online Banks: Online banks can either be a hit or a miss when it comes to auto loans. It can be advantageous because you can apply over the Internet from the comfort of your own home, and then wait until someone gives you a call or sends you an email. The disadvantage is that you don’t exactly know who or how many different people and institutions can see your personal information. In this case, this would be really unpleasant and an invasion of privacy.
Dealerships: Getting a car loan from a dealership would probably be the most convenient because you will be purchasing a vehicle from that location. The only downside when applying for a car loan through a dealership is that you should be prepared to pay a high APR.
3. Shop Around for the Best Rates
It may seem like a lot of work to shop around to find the most reasonable car loan rate, but in the long run you will be glad that you did. The struggle to find the best rate will be worth it when you realize how much money you will save, so do yourself a favor and do your research!
4. Choose the Shortest Loan you can Afford
As cars have become more expensive, the car loans have gotten longer. The longer term reduces the monthly payment, but it will increase your total cost. Limiting your car loan to about 48 months is the optimal amount of time you should pay for your car. It does mean that you will have to pay a higher monthly payment, but you will be out of debt much faster.
5. Monthly Payments
Buying a new car generally involves three negotiations: the price of the vehicle, the value of your trade-in and the financing. These three negotiations usually need to be kept separate. When buying a vehicle, it is crucial that you know what you are paying for and what is included in the monthly payment.
Ultimately, it is important to balance a loan’s total cost against a monthly payment you can afford. Also, keep in mind that the shorter your loan is, the faster you will be out of debt. Additionally, it is important that you have a good credit score, because your credit score determines if you are in good standing, eligible to receive an auto loan and how much interest loan the company will charge.