Auto Financing and Trade-in Checklists
On the lot for a new car? Pause and take a minute to read this, you may benefit from this important article. There are a number of things you should do before setting foot on the lot and making a car buying decision. Whether it’s your first car and you need some auto financing, or your seventh car and you’re hoping for some spending bucks with your trade in, there’s a bit of a checklist you should go through for each.
When preparing to finance your car through means that aren’t entirely your own, you will need to go through a bank, a credit union, or the dealership itself for auto financing. Whichever you choose, you’ll need a few things.
– Your credit score. This is possibly the first thing you should do before applying for auto financing. Get a free copy of your credit report from a certified organization (you’re entitled to a free report at least once a year). Fix any errors, and pay off any outstanding debts or as much as you can.
– Personal Information. When applying to a bank or a credit union, you’ll need proof you are who you say you are. That means having your social security number and your driver’s license handy. You’ll also need proof of residence, such as a mortgage or utilities bill from the last month.
– Employment and Income. A credit union may loan you money if you’re unemployed, but you end up putting up other things for collateral such as personal assets and what funds you do have. Thus, if you’re not employed or can’t prove your employment, then your chances of auto financing are low, but not impossible. If employed, make sure it’s okay to give out your boss’ work number (or the HR number if preferred) as they may be contacted, and have 3-6 recent paystubs available.
Vehicle Information. If you have a car in mind, you’ll need the vehicle year, make, model, MSRP, and vehicle identification number (VIN) (and mileage if getting a used car*). You will also need proof of car insurance.
If you’re not going all in with auto financing, and want to give yourself an a little financial breathing room with your current vehicle, then it’s good to go with a trade-in. There are a few things you should know, and take care of, before pulling up to the local dealership.
– Know the value of your car. The Kelly Blue Book is the go-to guide for knowing the value of any car on the market. Check it out to know you’re not getting low-balled on the lot.
– Put on a bandaid. Has your car been through the grinder during its lifetime? Wear and tear is part of owning a car, but first impressions are worth a million. It might be worth fixing up your car when doing a trade-in. The less money a dealership has to pay out to make the car look, the more they’re likely to pay for it.
– Personal and Car information. You’ll need to bring the title and registration to your car, service records and the owner’s manual, a proof of your identity, and the keys to the car (all sets).
– Play the game. Most importantly, when trading in your car, don’t talk trade-in until you’re sure that’s what you want to do. Keep your keys and car information locked away before you hand the reigns over to the car salesperson.
It all sounds pretty straightforward and easy, and in most cases it really is. If you have everything on these checklists for either choice, then you’re in good shape. If not, you may want to wait a month or two, especially in terms of auto financing for credit to get better.