When one thinks of auto financing, one image that comes to mind is a world of wheeler-and-dealers who are always trying to get the better of the borrowers that come to them for a car loan. One reason for this slightly negative image is that there is no guarantee that you will get approved or that you will be offered a certain rate. Rather, it is up to each lender as to just what type of deal they will offer you on a car loan.
If you were to take a look behind closed doors within an auto dealer’s financing office or that of a bank’s loan manager, you may be surprised to learn that there is a method to their madness. In other words, they are not just taking your application, putting their hand into a hat full of different loan deals, and pulling one out for you.
Rather, there is a surprisingly predictable formula to the way a loan deal is prepared and offered to you when you visit an auto financing company. Obviously, your credit score plays a very big role in it. But, so do things like your employment history, your residential history, and even the way you present yourself in person.
If you have bad credit, you may have had some unpleasant experiences in dealing with auto financing companies. Namely, your car loan application may have been rejected on one or more occasions. Or, maybe you just were not able to qualify for a good loan.
No worries. Here are 5 steps to getting funded (at a reasonable rate) the next time you look for good auto financing companies:
1. Shop for a car in a reasonable price range:
Start by shopping for and choosing a car that is in a price range that makes sense, given your credit situation. You may be tempted to choose the very best car on the lot, but that would be a mistake. Someday soon, no doubt, that super-expensive car, SUV or truck will surely be yours. But, for now, it is time to be realistic about what you can reasonably afford. A smaller loan will mean much better chances of your loan getting funded.
2. Understand how bad credit auto financing companies think:
While 98% of car financing companies focus mainly on the borrower’s credit score as the basis for their lending decisions, about 2% of the companies out there actually look to do business with bad credit individuals. They have built a nice little business on catering to the credit-challenged. These companies look past your credit score and instead consider your situation as a whole when making a decision.
3. Run a credit check on yourself:
This may sound strange, but you will benefit greatly from doing running your own report. Find out your score with all 3 of the top 3 bureaus (since it will vary from one to the next). And, be sure to protest any errors you find on any one of your reports. They are obligated by law to fix them.
4. Take the time to build a healthy list of lenders:
In this case, “healthy” list means 5-7 lenders. Sound like a pain to do that much research? Just think: spending an extra 20-30 minutes doing your homework now could save you thousands in lower interest payments over the life of your loan.
5. Follow through with applying to five or more lenders:
Now, make sure you actually apply to all of the lenders on your final shortlist; be sure you apply to five, at minimum. You never know: the fifth one you talk to may be the one that offers you a 1-2% lower interest rate. That’s money in the bank for you.
Follow these 5 steps to finding the right auto finance company and getting funded.