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Luke Bell
Luke Bell

Buying A Car From A Dealership With Bad Credit [UPDATED]

After you get all your affairs in order and you're ready to apply for a loan, it's important to first do some shopping around. If you're having trouble getting approved for a loan from a conventional lender, take a look at lenders that are known for working with people that have lower credit scores. These lenders may offer loans at higher interest rates, but they help those with poor credit scores get approved.

buying a car from a dealership with bad credit

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Getting preapproved is more significant than getting prequalified. Walking into a dealership with a preapproval sets a firm budget for your purchase. From there, you can search for vehicles that fall within your purchase limit and dealers will know you mean business.

Many people focus on the interest rate and monthly payment when looking for an auto loan. However, the sale price of the vehicle is the most significant factor when determining how much you pay for a car. If you can get the dealer to come down on price, it can save you a lot of money in interest over the next several years. Use your preapproval letter as a starting point when discussing price with the dealership.

Buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a respected dealership such as Auto Simple, will ensure that you get consumer protection, warranties, trade-in savings, financing options, no paperwork, and easier negotiations.

If you have bad or no credit, you may be eligible for a better interest rate with a cosigner. Talk to the dealership first before asking anyone to cosign. A cosigner has a lot of responsibility. They will be responsible for your payments if you are unable to make them. Only ask someone to cosign if you are confident in your abilities to make payments on time.

You should start with your credit report to see how it would look to a lender. Run it at least three months before you plan on buying so you can take action on any outstanding items, recommends Rod Griffin, director of public education for credit reporting company Experian.

Pro tip: Bring a copy of your credit report with you to the dealership. Having it available might help the dealership skip running your credit, which it would need to do to give you a ballpark idea of the approval you'll be offered.

Here is a hard truth about buying a car with relatively new or bad credit: You'll likely need a down payment. Most banks will require "at least 10 percent down payment, or $1,000, whichever is greater," Less says.

Pro tip: Don't be afraid to shop around for auto loans. Often, shoppers with bad credit will jump on the first deal for which they are approved, no matter how unappealing it seems. That's understandable, especially if you've been turned down a few times in the past. But just because you've gotten an approval doesn't mean you have to sign a contract that makes you feel uneasy. If the deal you're offered doesn't sit right with you, keep looking. The reality is that if one dealership can get you approved, chances are good another dealer can, too.

A number of new-car dealerships offer their credit-challenged customers the chance to trade into another vehicle without a significant increase in their monthly payment provided they've made a year's worth of consecutive on-time payments. While it may be tempting to get out of a Nissan Versa and into a Nissan Altima, for example, you will be adding more debt to your next loan.

Different lenders and credit reporting bureaus use different ranges to describe credit tiers. The FICO model uses the following classifications: A Poor credit score is 300 to 579, while the Fair category encompasses the range from 580 to 669. Consumers with ratings from 670 to 739 are considered to haveGood credit, and those with scores from 740 to 799 are considered Very Good. Those with scores from 800 to 850 are deemed Exceptional.

Finance Companies: Differing from banks by not accepting deposits, finance companies are solely in the loan business. They borrow money from other sources and loan it to car and other consumer goods buyers. Many finance companies specialize in working with consumers with bad credit. Their business practices vary greatly, however. Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau or other consumer protection agency where they are based before you decide to do business with them.

The information from the application will be merged with data from your credit report to determine your debt-to-income ratio. The ratio is a good indicator of your ability to service the loan you're requesting.

When you shop at either a new or used car dealership, you can expect to pay a higher price. However, they'll take care of the paperwork, usually accept trade-ins, and deal with any existing auto loans and title transfers.

Sometimes a dealer will allow you to take the car home before its dealer-arranged financing is finalized. Never do this unless you want to expose yourself to the yo-yo financing scam. Sometimes called spot financing, the dealer lets you leave with your new or new-to-you car. Several days later, you'll get a call saying something didn't work out with your financing, and you need to return to the dealership. When you arrive, you're presented with a new financing package that's much more expensive than the one you originally agreed to. Most consumers don't see an alternative to signing the new paperwork, even if they can't afford to.

If you fall into the spot-financing trap, you should call local credit unions and community banks to see if you can get a deal that looks like your original financing plan. If you can, get the pre-approval in writing and take it to the dealership. If you can't find affordable financing, you should unwind the original deal and walk away. The dealership staff may aggressively try to stop you from doing so, but no matter how much pressure they apply, you should not sign the new offer. Unfortunately, buyers with bad credit are often targeted for this unethical sales tactic, and are often unwilling to walk away from a lousy deal.

The difference between buying a car and leasing one is basically the same thing as buying a home versus renting an apartment. When you buy a car, it is your property. But when you lease a car, you are only renting it from the actual owners.

Sophia Borghese has been researching and writing about cars as a consultant for Superior Honda since she moved to New Orleans from Ohio. She enjoys learning about new strides in the automotive industry and is excited about the future of car dealerships. As a small car lover, she gets excited about new sedans and hybrid cars on the market.

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