So this finally happened! I bought my first car! The process was lonnnnggggg and stressful and even frustrating, but after pulling off the lot with my own 2015 Honda Civic with 33 miles, it was definitely worth it.
The process didn’t just start Saturday though. I hope sharing my experience will help any first-time buyers navigate through the process.
***THIS BLOG IS FOR THOSE PLANNING TO GO A DEALERSHIP AND FINANCE A CAR***
FIRST! Check your credit score!
This ultimately determines what kind of car you can afford and your monthly payment. Also, if you’re like me, and didn’t have a “perfect” credit score, consider getting a co-signer. I wanted the autonomy of knowing I did this without the help of my parents so I did everything I needed to get a score that would increase my chances of being approved. How do you check your credit score? annualcreditreport.com is a completely FREE and SAFE way to get this information and figure out the best way to see where you are concerning the numbers. Now if you’re like me, you probably see your number and think what does this actually mean? It really is confusing and can even frustrate you.
Here are my recommendations!
Make an appointment with a financial credit advisor at your local credit union or with a banker at the bank you have an account. They can answer any questions you have and give you great advise, I know Gary did for me 🙂 Create a Credit Karma account. It is a free service. It may not always be entirely ACCURATE, but it will help you watch the trends in your score (whether it’s going up or down). So after you figure out those numbers you can get a feel for what type of car you get approved for. Now, this is one thing I learned: even if you can afford to make payments on a 25,000 car, the bank/dealership won’t approve you for financing if you don’t have a strong proven credit history. So again go to your local banker. So with that have 2 or 3 options of cars you would like. For me, I really wanted the 2016 Honda Accord EX, and although I could afford it, the bank wouldn’t approve the loan. But I couldn’t be happier with my car! It’s sporty and actually a lot better suited to my needs!
Do your research! Be opened minded! Be flexible! Be knowledgeable and don’t let yourself get talked into something you don’t want!
Now after you’ve done your research, made a budget, and picked a few cars, its time to go shopping.
When you go to the dealership, it’s ok to shop around. But don’t let the salesmen run your credit unless you see something you really love and are ready to purchase. Although eight credit pulls for an auto loan count as one the dealers send your information to tons of banks, sometimes even 15 and hard inquiries negatively affect your credit score, so shop wisely.
Once you’ve found the car you love, and you’re approved, the process has just begun. You practically sign your life away!
After your salesman has you sign a few papers of acknowledgment you are taken to see the money people, the financial officers. They go over your monthly payment and TONS of other information. But after about 45 minutes you’re finally given the key, and if you go to a dealer like mine, you get to ring a bell. Overall the process was fun and exciting, really a great way to enter my first stages as an adult
My Directive: Take your time, be practical, and get ready for the ride of your life