Are you tired of hearing the word ‘No’ when it comes to a car loan? I set up ‘How to buy a car with bad credit’ specifically so that you could hear the words ‘yes’. Who am I, you ask?
I spent 14 years in the automobile business as a Finance Manager so I believe it’s fair to say that I know a thing or two about getting a loan financed, irregardless of your past credit history.
Remember, regardless of your past credit history, you still need a car, want a car and most of all, you deserve a car. You should also be treated with respect and given choices. I’m going to teach you how to have a choice with auto bad credit financing loan.
First of all, all lenders now purchase deals based on what is called a beacon score, which is the same as your credit score. There are three credit bureaus that make up the package. Each lender will choose whichever credit bureau(s) they prefer when looking at your credit or a combination of bureaus.
I highly advise everyone to have all three credit bureaus pulled when checking your credit and to pay for the credit score. If you only look at one bureau, you’re only seeing part of the whole picture.
With the exception of a few minor things, beacon score will play a large part in your approval. Staying within your financial means is another, so be realistic. If you make $2500 per month and have $1200 going out, don’t walk in all high-and-mighty and tell the Finance Manager that you will only have an Expedition or nothing. You’ll end up with nothing.
In order to effectively use auto bad credit financing, you are going to have to know what your credit looks like and what your credit score actually is. Otherwise, you are working in the dark.
Pay for the credit score or it’s just almost useless. With the credit score, you will know whether or not you qualify for a lender such as Ford. Also, the higher the score, the lower the interest rate. Got it? With an auto bad credit loan, the higher the beacon score, the better.
Let me explain websites like cars.com and the such: They collect applications for car loans online. They then have a network of dealerships that PAY them for the leads. These are generally dealerships that have departments that specialize in getting you financed, regardless of your credit. These departments pay for these leads, so most take them very seriously, as they are their bread-and-butter, so to speak.
If you have a lower than usual credit score, a current repo or just plain, all-around bad credit, this might be the way to go. If your credit is really that bad, remember that you are going to need some cash or a paid-for trade in that’s actually worth something.
O.K., now for the step-by-step system that I promised. First, take control of your car deal! You need to be in the driver’s seat, if at all possible. Go online and run a copy of a tri-merge, which is all three credit bureaus, plus pay for your credit score. You can get a FREE copy of your credit report once per year HERE:
This is the new Federal law that actually entitles you to receive a FREE copy of your credit bureau once per year and with some other exceptions. This is not a credit monitoring site. You have to run each bureau separately; Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Then, you have to pay for the credit score.
So as to hold down on confusion, here’s the scoop: Each credit score for each separate bureau will be different. That’s why a Tri-Merge is called what it is called. You can run a specific bureau called a Tri-Merge from one company (there are many-just do a Google search) and you actually get one bureau (it’s actually all three combined but the credit score is also one credit score). It’s more expensive and generally runs around $34.00 but it just depends on your preference.
Now, with your credit score in hand and a copy(s) of your credit bureau, look at your credit. Do you have anything strange on there that is not yours? If so, it’s time to fix it. You should review your credit bureau at least every 6 months to a year. Plus, if your identity has been stolen, you will know quickly. P.S. you can also have a liner placed on the bottom of your bureau that simply states “Do not extend any credit on my behalf without contacting me first. Work # (111)222-3333 Home#(222)333-4444 Cell# (333)444-5555.” Call or write the credit bureaus and request that this is done. You can now do this online for free. Again, do a Google search for all three bureaus listed above.
How do you fix your credit, you ask? I give away a totally FREE book that I wrote on the subject simply for the asking. Email me with Free Credit Repair Book in the headline and I’ll email it to you.
Next in line: Know what you want to buy BEFORE you even go out shopping! Let me make this very clear. Car dealer’s jobs are to sell you a car on your very first visit. A salesman/woman and their sales manager believe that if you walk into their dealership and do not leave with a car, you will never come back again. They are going to hammer on you until they either A) Make you mad and you get up and leave or B) Sell you a car. It’s the nature of the beast. Accept it ahead of time.
What do you want to buy? Where can you get unbiased information on the auto? Again, Google for Kelley Blue Book or NADA and you can get cost, warranty repairs, recalls, and information on problems and tons of info beforehand. Limit your shopping to three models. Keep it simple. Those will be the ones that you will shop for.
Can you afford the car? You may think you can afford the car, but the bank may think otherwise! I have seen this so many times in my career. Automobile economics 101: Take your gross income (what you make per year BEFORE Uncle Sam taxes you) and remember, this income needs to be provable-tax returns, check stubs with taxes taken out or a W-2. If you are self-employed, you will need two years of tax returns with Schedule C’s. This is the income that you actually paid taxes on. Being self-employed can be tough. You may need to combine a spouse’s income if you are self-employed.
Now with your gross income figured out, find out what all of your debts are that are going out each month. Include everything…it’s listed on your credit bureau’s. Example: Car note=$450.00 + House note= $560.00 + Credit card debt= $425.00
Boat note= $310.00 Charge-offs=$1200.00 (yes, charge-offs; these are bills that you never paid and they were written off). Add all of your debts up. With just your obvious debts (including the charge-offs), you have $1805.00 per month going out. I arrived at that figure by adding up all the monthly notes and taking 5% of the charge-offs. 5% of $1200.00 = $60.00. We’re not through, though. Now we have to figure in cost of living-utilities. Each lender has their own algorithm for utilities but a good range to estimate would be to add $300.00. Now we have a total outgo of $2105.00. This is what you have to have to pay your current bills before you take on any other debt.
Almost all lenders will not allow your new car note to exceed 20% of your current income. For our example, let’s assume that your gross income is $5300.00 per month. Let’s take $5300.00 and subtract your debts, which are $2105.00. That leaves you with $3195.00. To make it easy, take $2105.00 and double it. That would be $4210.00. That would leave you with disposable income of $1090.00. What the lender is looking at here is referred to as debt-to-income. They want to know if you have more going out than you can handle. This is strictly a case of numbers and provable numbers. If your gross income was $4500.00 and you had $2105.00 in debts each month, you need to be prepared for one of two things; add your spouse’s income and your spouse to the deal or trade in the other auto. If your debt-to-income is running too close to 50%, you’re going to have a hard time getting a loan for anything. Make sense? The way the bank looks at it is this: you can’t afford both cars so they assume that you are going to let the other (older) car go back to the lender-repossession. That’s their take. Debt-to-income is a HUGE deal.
In this case, your disposable leftover income is $1090.00. 20% of that would be $1060.00. Whoa! Let me be the first to inform you that you are NOT getting a car payment of $1060.00! Why? Well, you only have $1090.00 left over for starters. Let’s be realistic here. Most lenders will slice that in half which will equal $530.00. Your payment call should be around that figure, give or take a few dollars.
How expensive of a car can I buy on a $530.00 payment? Good laweta katowice question and one that you absolutely need to know so that you can pick out the correct car. One answer depends on the term of the loan. You can finance for 36, 48, 60 or 72 months, as a for-instance. That equates to 3 years, 4 years, 5 years and 6 years. I will tell you this: the worst thing you can do is extend the note out the longest amount of time in order to get the payment where you can afford it. That creates a syndrome that now affects over 75% of car owners called being “Upside Down.” It means that you owe more on your car than it’s worth. It also means that you need more money down when you go to trade it in. The only way around that is a lot of money down or a short-term loan.
You can again do a Google search for a ‘car loan calculator’. You will punch in the loan amount you want to borrow, the term (48,60, etc.) and the interest rate. If you have not gotten approved already and know the rate, you will have to guesstimate. Here’s a rule of thumb for you-it’s not an exact science without knowing your credit, but it is a guide you can follow to get you close. Let’s base the rate on your beacon score: that’s what most of the lenders are going to look at.
If your beacon (credit score) is in the 400 or lower range, you will need to figure your interest rate on a new car at 21% (state maximums differ-it could be 18%). If you are looking at a used car, figure on 33%. If your beacon score is in the low 500 range, figure your new car loan as you would for the above-mentioned 400 beacon. If your beacon score is in the mid to high 500-range, figure a new car at 18% and a used car at 27%. If you have a beacon of 600 to 649, figure a new car at 16% and a used car at 20%. If you have a beacon score of 650 to 699, figure a new car rate at 12% and a used car rate at 16%. I may be hitting too high on a few of these, but I live in a state that has the highest rates in the nation. Better safe than sorry.
Get Pre-Approved BEFORE you start shopping. This is the easy part, in a way. Remember I told you at the beginning of this article to take charge of your car deal instead of letting the dealer lead you by the hand. It all boils down to financing. If you can walk in with a check in your hand, you are in control. I will recommend a few companies that are reputable, have a proven track record in sub prime loans and all mail the check to you at home. You then go into a dealership and pick out your vehicle, negotiate and buy like a cash buyer! These companies are Household Finance, Capital One Finance, Americredit and E-Loan. You can do a Google search for all four, apply online, and get either an instant approval or one really quickly. When you are approved, they mail the contract to you and then the check. It’s that easy.
On the final decision for the car-work smart here. There is nothing more valuable than time and nothing more rewarding than piece of mind. Please don’t go running from dealership to dealership. Wrong. Pick out the 3 models of auto that you can afford. If you are looking for a program car (rental), call dealerships and inquire as to whether or not they have any. If you want a new, ask other people that are driving that model where they bought theirs and would they purchase there again. If you start hearing a lot of “I’ll never buy from them again”, move on. Something is wrong. Your new car is only as good as the service you will get AFTER the sale.