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Tips for Financing or Refinancing Your Car Loan

By Sandra Wellman


Always get your financing first before shopping for a car


When buying a new car, if you have financing already in place, itís much easier to haggle over the price of the car if necessary. If you are pre-approved, you know exactly how much you can spend and the approximate monthly payment. Try to get approved for a little more than you think you will spend, just in case.


The 0% financing trick Ė 0% or cash back rebate?


Donít be fooled by 0% financing, unless your credit is almost perfect, you wonít qualify. If you do, you may be required to pay the loan off much sooner than you can afford (like 2-3 yrs instead of 5). Be sure you know the amount of interest you will be paying over the term of the loan with your pre-approved amount in advance, because you might pay less total interest than the dealerships financing and want the cash back rebate.


Have your paperwork and check ready before you go


If you get pre-approved online for a car for say $20,000.00, the company will mail you a blank check and a letter to show the car dealership.  This could take a week or two. If they donít offer to send it overnight, it might be worth it for you to pay the $15-20 fee. The finance person at the dealership will call the loan company after youíve made your purchase and advise the amount of the check. Bonus Ė you will have to sign less than half of the usual paperwork!



Shop Online for financing


Whether itís for a first finance or refinance, the rates you can get these days by shopping online are great. There seems to be more competition and thatís good for you.



Consider having an automatic deduction from your checking acct.


I saved Ĺ a percent on my recent purchase by letting them set it up as an automated deduction. They let me pick the exact day I wanted it. On a side note, if you have a few bills paid this way as I do, you might want to pick the same day for all. Itís easier to remember to write it in your check register.



Try to spend within your means


I know this seems obvious to some, but you need to plan on the additional expenses. Call your car insurance company before purchasing the vehicle, and ask for a few quotes for your new insurance premium. You may be surprised that the new Honda you were looking at is classified as a sports car. Better to know in advance than after your purchase. Donít forget, your registration will be more too.


Refinancing your vehicle can help your credit


If you are having trouble paying your bills and have at least 2-3 years left on your car loan, this can be an excellent way to reduce your monthly expenses. Youíll pay more in interest, but it may be worth it to keep your bills paid on time and your credit score up there. Be sure to refinance before your payments are too late or youíll have to pay higher interest. Also, I would do this before I made payment arrangements with my creditors if thatís also needed, because that will show up on your credit report when they approve you for the refinance.


Bad credit financing


These days more and more companies are willing to finance a vehicle even if your credit is bad or youíve had a bankruptcy. Youíll pay higher interest, but again shop around and online. It will be better to get at least an idea of what youíll have to pay before going to the dealership. You may get approved for 14-16% online and 18-20% at the dealership. If you have time before purchasing a vehicle and it isnít an emergency, run your credit report online and have it mailed to you. Verify all the data is correct. You may have time to repair an item and get a better interest rate. See my article on how to do this.


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