Friday, August 9, 2013

4 Considerations to Make Before Financing Your Car

Buying your first car is a scary thing, actually buying any car is scary regardless of what number it is. Dealerships and lenders can also use jargon that you don't know. Consider these 4 factors before financing your car to make sure you get a good deal on a vehicle that meets your needs.

Know How Much Money You Can Spend

As a recent retiree or if your career is coming to an end, you probably have a lot of money for a down payment but don’t want to put your lifestyle at risk. That means you'll have the money for the down payment while leaving your investments in tact.

It's essential that you make a budget that tells you exactly how much money you can afford to spend on your vehicle. A good budget will include expenses and savings. Some items to put in your budget include your: 

  • rent or mortgage payment 
  • auto insurance 
  • health insurance 
  • food 
  • entertainment 
You should also set aside at least ten percent of your earnings for retirement savings.

Once you have made your budget, you should know how much room you have for your monthly car payment. Don't exceed this amount. If you do, you'll have to reduce your spending in another area. That can make life difficult and less enjoyable.

Understand How Interest Increases Your Overall Car Payment

If you don't have an extensive credit history, then you might only qualify for a sub-prime loan. That means you'll pay higher interest than someone with a good credit score. This should influence how you see car prices.

Let's say you don't want to spend more than $15,000 on your car. If you qualify for a 5 percent loan with five-year term, then you should include the interest when comparing prices. A car priced at $15,000 will actually cost you close to $17,000 after you calculate interest.

That means you should look at cars with lower sticker prices or find a better interest rate. If you buy a car worth $13,500 with 4 percent interest, then you will spend a little under $15,000 over five years.

Explore Your Financing Options

Just because one dealership wants to give you a sub-prime loan doesn't mean that you can't get a better deal elsewhere. Your education and income prospects could qualify you for Lexus financing with an excellent interest rate. Then you can buy the car of your dreams without going over your budget.

Think About How Long You Plan to Keep the Car

$15,000 might fit into your five-year budget, but what if you plan to drive the car longer than that? Even pre-owned cars should last longer than five years.

Some people decide to budget more money to their car purchases because they know that they will eventually pay off the loan. If you drive the car for 10 years, then you could probably afford to spend $20,000 instead of $15,000.

If you know that you'll want to buy another car in five years, though, you should stick to what you know you can afford during the foreseeable future.

What other factors should buyers consider when they look into their financing options?

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