No. 2: Think about financing first
On the previous page, we talked about the dangers of using an online broker. It's a better idea to do the legwork yourself.
There are all sorts of places you can look to get a car loan. Don't just go with the dealership. Although convenient, they might not offer the best rates. Banks and credit unions usually offer better rates, but they're not always open at nights and on the weekends.
Some insurance companies even offer financing plans. The benefit here is not only competitive interest rates, but also provide built-in Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) insurance. GAP insurance is something you should have on a newer car in case it gets totaled and the amount insurance pays does not cover the amount remaining on the loan.
Shopping around can save you thousands on the life of the loan. Don't just go with the dealer's financing plan.
No. 1: Details matter
You know when you go in for a car loan and they shove the stack of papers under your nose and you just sign on the line, grab the keys, and go on your merry way? Yeah.
Don't do that. Not that any lender would be willingly shady, but a detail you may think exists in fact may not.
Know all the details of your deal. For instance, what's your interest rate? Can you afford it? Is there a fee for prepayment? What's the grace period for payments? How will you get the title when the car is paid off?
Think also about warranties. What will the warranty cover? Is there something that would destroy you, financially, if it broke and your warranty doesn't cover? If so, you might want to renegotiate the terms of the warranty or start saving up for a rainy day.
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