If you’ve sat in the waiting room of an auto dealership for hours on end to finalize the purchase of your new shiny vehicle (or used), here are a few steps you can take to get ahead of the curve and hit the road with your new ride.
Step 1 – Know your Numbers
Having a solid idea on the monthly payment you can afford and length of loan you are comfortable with will go a long way in helping you choose your vehicle. Your financial institution’s website or www.bankrate.com offer Auto Loan Calculators you can play around with.
Step 2 – Get Preapproved
Go to your financial institution’s website and fill out a Preapproval/Loan Application at least a week before you schedule your test drive. Enter the amount you want to borrow, and your financial institution will give you the Term, APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and Estimated Payment based on your credit score.
Note: Preapprovals are typically valid for 30 days, if you go over this window check with your financial institution on next steps (you may need to reapply).
Step 3 – Book a Test Drive
Go to the auto dealerships website and book the earliest appointment available.
Step 4 – Sign the Dotted Line
Don’t be afraid to negotiate the purchase price. Factors such as how long the vehicle has been in inventory, supply/demand, down payment amount can give you an opportunity to negotiate and save some dollars.
If you’re satisfied with the loan agreement and like your new ride, sign the dotted line.