The Process of Getting a Car Loan

It seems like the process of buying a car can be pretty stressful today especially when you want to make your very first purchase. However, if you don’t happen to have the cash for the car that you are seeking, then you will most likely need to borrow from a family member or apply for a car loan. If you don’t have a family member that is able to spot you the cash, then you’re obviously going to have to apply for a loan through your bank.

Once you have decided to head to your bank, make sure to be aware of the steps below before you go so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Take a Peek at Your Credit Score

Having a look at your own credit report and score will give you an idea of what the bank’s loan department will be looking at. Plus, it’ll also determine what your loan’s rate will be. This step may seem like a no-brainer, but if you have never applied for a loan before, then you’ll want to find out. So it’s good to know that the higher that your credit score is the more money will remain in your pocket.

You also need to realize that you don’t just have one credit report you have three from three different credit report agencies. You need to look at all three reports that will have differences in what is reported, so each score will be different.

Choose a Payment That Fits Your Budget

In this step, you need to know how much you will be able to repay on the loan each month so that you don’t go over your budget. After you know what amount you’ll be able to afford, you’ll be able to tally the total amount of your payment.

Typically, car loan terms are written for at least 3 years and as long as 6 years. This spread is all based on how much the payment will be each month. Although this could be good if you want lower payments, you need to realize that vehicles depreciate in value as soon as you take the car home. This means you may be paying more than what the car will be worth after a while. So you are better at paying off the loan as fast as you can so that you retain the car’s value and not just throw away money.

Obtain a Car Insurance Estimate

Another thing to remember is that you’ll need to maintain full coverage car insurance because the bank that you obtain the loan from will be an “owner” listed on the car’s registration. This is necessary because if the car loan is defaulted on then the bank can repo the car due to nonpayment. Plus, the bank requires full coverage on “investments”. You can contact any insurance agent to see what the best rate would be for you.

Obtaining Pre-Approval

You have many options to find pre-approval for car loans in Houston. You can either visit a website online or just stop by your local bank or credit union. Just so you know, you are not required to do business with the bank that holds your personal bank accounts. The idea is to shop around to find a loan that works for you and to ensure that their rates are what you can work with. Once you find one, then you can go make a personal visit with them.

After qualifying, you will be “pre-approved” for a specific dollar amount and amount of time. You can think of being pre-approved as obtaining a blank check from the bank that is used for your purchase. This doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire amount so if you find a vehicle for less than your pre-approved amount, great! This will make a smaller loan amount to repay.

If you know that your credit is not too great or if you have no credit at all, you still have options for pre-approval. The downside of these options is that you will have a higher amount of interest. You’ll also likely be required to obtain a co-signer so that the financial institution will have a guarantee that the payments will be made.

Go Car Shopping

With your pre-approval in hand, it’s time to go out and find the perfect car for you. Having the pre-approval allows you to concentrate on the car that you want. So all you have to do is negotiate the price and sign on the dotted line without having to worry about financing.

Now that you have the knowledge of what it takes to get car loans in Houston, you just need to go out and apply what you learned so that way you’ll be the cool kid on the block where everyone will be asking you for a ride.