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Buying a New or Used CarIf you're looking for the best deals on a new or used car, there are three simple rules to follow:
Know your Credit Score"Dealer Financing" sounds like a quick and convenient service, doesn't it? After all, they'll arrange your financing for you right on the spot. Furthermore, they want to sell you the car, so you know you'll get a deal on the financing, right?
Ha! Forget that ... dealer financing is the biggest profit-generating tool available to the dealer. Odds are you're getting tooled on the interest rate -- odds are even greater that there's an innocent math "error" that you're not going to catch (and they're not going to "catch" -- since they're the ones who put it there) that will result in you paying hundreds or thousands more than you should.
What makes it so easier to job unsuspecting buyers on financing is that finanching seems complex. Unless you've got access to interest tables, it's hard to double-check the arithmetic (if you understand it in the first place). When you do spot something that doesn't seem right, the dealer will mumble some offering about "standard policy" and "company requirements" -- all of which is complete nonsense.
The fact is that financing is actually a pretty simple process -- IF you take care of it before you ever set foot in the dealer. If your credit rating is good (a score of 550 or so is "good"), you can find financing at much lower interest rates than you'll find at the dealer.
That's why it's important to know your credit score first. If you have a good score, you can skip right ahead to shopping for financing.
If not, then you need to find out now ... and find out how you can fix it.
If you have a less-than-good rating, that's not as bad as you might think. There's a good chance this is due to an error in your credit report. "Oh, they don't make errors in credit reports, do they?" Hah again! Credit reports are often loaded with errors -- and they're often incredibly easy to fix, too!
Often it's not more than sending the credit report a letter stating "I have never been to California in my life and I certainly didn't charge 17 skateboards to a card I've never owned", or "I paid that loan off in full 15 years ago." -- things of that nature. It's surprising that when credit reports are wrong, they're really wrong! A simple statement correcting the error may be all you need to get your score right back on top.
But -- you've got to know there's a problem first! And that's why it's important to find out your credit score first. It's easy to get a copy of your credit report -- you can call the different credit agencies and request reports (they may charge a small processing fee), or you can use one of the internet credit reporting services that will do this work for you and send you a copy.
One such service is "CreditReporting.com". They're a member of the BBB Online and are noted for their reliability.
Once you've received your credit report -- and performed any necessary credit repair -- it's time for your financing. You can use local lending institutions ... or you can short cut the whole process AND get a better interest rate at the same time. Use one of the many Internet-based automobile lending agencies -- they'll approve you via email within minutes at an interest rate you probably won't be able to touch locally.
Once you answer a few questions, you'll receive approval via email within minutes. In a couple of days, you'll get a "blank check" from the institution. The check will be good for any amount up to your approved amount. You can shop for a vehicle, then fill in the check amount and the payee to pay for the car. Using the check will clue the lending agency to start your monthly payments.
The check is normally good for 60 days or so -- so you can take your time to shop, knowing all the while that your financing is set!
There are many Internet lending institutions (you've probably seen TV ads for several), but here are two excellent ones you might want to check:
Another one is E-Loan -- try E-Loan and get your loan approval in minutes via email! Apply for a car loan today!
Once your financing is set, it's time to start shopping. You can shop your local car lots -- even private sellers in the classifieds -- but you'll find your best deals by shopping "wide".
By shopping "wide", I mean covering all the car sellers within a 50 to 100 mile radius who might have the type of vehicle you want. This can take you quite a while if you do it in person -- but you can do it in minutes with an Internet search!
Use these three Internet automobile search tools to scour your local sources and find exactly the vehicle you want within your price guidelines:
Once you've found your vehicle, use your pre-arranged financing and the deal is set! You can even do the entire process without leaving your home! Just have the dealer deliver the car to your driveway!
Finally, be sure and take car of details like car insurance. The lending agencies (and the local government) will likely insist on adequate coverage. If you don't already have an insurance agent (and even if you do), you can shop for the best coverage online! Why not ask for a free quote from these folks: