When purchasing a new or used car, it is important to do your research ahead of time. KellyBlueBook.com is a great resource to get you started. You can compare different makes and models, find out what you should pay for a particular car, and even get an estimate of what it will cost you to own the car over a five year period.
After You Have Done Your Research—Shop Around For Your Loan
Think about paying for your auto before you go to a dealer to negotiate a purchase price. If getting a loan is a part of your plan, credit inquiries made within relatively short period of time will only count as one on your credit report so don’t be afraid to shop around for the best rates and terms.
It pays to compare loan rates from a number of sources with any financing options that a dealer may offer. Remember to focus on the total cost of the car, not just the monthly payments. For example, at the same interest rate, higher monthly payments for a shorter period of time would ultimately cost you less than lower payments for a longer time.
Also remember that it’s okay to finalize the financing at the dealership—just make sure it is the lender you have chosen and not the lender that the dealer wants you to choose.
BECU offers free financial education on buying autos. Visit www.becu.org and select the Education & Resources tab for more information.