Buying a car can be stressful if you are unprepared or unsure of the lending process. We’ve prepared this quick guide on how to make the most of your next car buying experience, which will reduce your stress and make sure you’re getting the best deal on your auto loan.
Build a Budget
To form a budget, first determine how much monthly income you have left after taxes and household necessities are paid. As a general rule for affordability, the total of all your monthly car payments should be no more than 15% of your total monthly net income. Once you know the funds available in your budget, you can estimate a price range for your new vehicle.
Two of the most important factors impacting your monthly auto loan payment are the interest rate and the length of the loan. To begin estimating cost based on these factors, visit our rate calculator to review term options for the year of the vehicle, approximate mileage, and your FICO credit score. This will give you an idea of the interest rate and term for which you could qualify. You can then estimate how much of a loan you can afford based on your maximum monthly payment.
Keep in mind that you will also have to pay auto insurance, vehicle registration, and sales tax on the vehicle. You should consider these costs when you evaluate your budget, so that you do not deplete your savings. To help reduce your monthly loan payment, you may want to budget for a down payment on the vehicle.
- Down Payment: A down payment is cash paid at the time of purchasing the vehicle that will reduce the overall amount of your loan. If you are looking to buy a new vehicle, it is good to put down at least 20% as a down payment. New cars tend to depreciate rapidly the first year, so the down payment will help you stay ahead on the value of the vehicle. If you are looking to purchase a vehicle that is one to two years old, 10% down is usually enough to make sure you are not “upside down” (owe more than your vehicle is worth) on your loan.
- Evaluate Possible Additional Costs: Make sure to also evaluate a vehicle’s cost of ownership. If you find a vehicle you like, it does not hurt to investigate what additional cost may come with that make and model. Additional costs to look for are maintenance, repairs, and depreciation.
Do Your Research
Once you have determined a loan amount that works with your budget, start doing your research on vehicles you are interested in that fall into that price range. Check for recalls and vehicle reports of any common repairs on the specific make and model and utilize information on consumer review sites to evaluate professional and buyer feedback on quality and performance of the vehicle. There are also numerous resources online to get an idea of reasonable prices for new and used vehicles. Doing your research will help you decide what vehicle is going to be a good fit for you – functionally and financially.
- Trade-In Value: If you are trading in a vehicle, make sure to research the trade-in value before heading to the dealership, since this will impact the final cost of a new vehicle purchase. Knowing what your vehicle is worth and approximately how much you can expect in trade-in credit toward the cost of your new vehicle will impact your budget and monthly loan payment. A vehicle has several values depending on if you are selling or using it as a trade-in.
- Current Loan: If you have a loan on your existing vehicle and you plan to use it as a trade-in, contact your lender for a payoff amount. The payoff amount needs to be taken into consideration when evaluating the trade-in value. If you do not receive a trade-in offer equal to or greater than your existing loan balance, you will still have a balance on that loan. You can either pay the difference in cash to your existing lender prior to trading in the vehicle, or you could pay the difference as part of your down payment when you trade-in the vehicle. Depending on the terms of your existing loan, you may be able to cancel GAP insurance or any extended warranties on the vehicle you are trading in. If you still have a balance on these, you may be able to reduce the amount you owe on the vehicle. Contact your lender for more information on your existing loan and any requirements prior to trading in.
An auto loan pre-approval with INTRUST Bank gives you buying power and leverage to negotiate for your new vehicle. The pre-approval application can be completed online or by phone at 316-383-1234. During the application process, we will run your credit report to determine the loan terms for which you qualify. Once submitted, a loan specialist will review your application and begin working on your pre-approval. Additional documentation may be requested by your loan specialist for proof of income, employment history, and proof of residency. It is important to note that a pre-approval is valid for 30 days, which gives you some time to shop around for a vehicle.
- Benefits of Getting Approved for a Car Loan: An auto loan from INTRUST Bank will make the car buying process effortless. Not only will you speed up the financing process, have a clear understanding of your expenses, and have negotiating power, you can also easily make payments on your loan with your INTRUST checking account. With INTRUST Bank online banking and mobile banking, in just a few clicks, you can quickly view your loan balance, easily set up recurring monthly payments from your INTRUST deposit account, and not have to worry about missing a payment. Getting a pre-approval also means you avoid the on-the-spot pressure to make a major financial decision. At INTRUST Bank, we work with you to provide peace of mind that you are doing what is best for you and your budget.
If you have questions about car loans, we are here to help. You can reach us at 316-383-1234, M-F from 7am to 8pm and Saturday from 8am to 6pm.
If you are ready to start the car loan pre-approval process, you can begin with our online pre-approval.