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Aside from buying a home, buying a car is one of the largest purchases you’re likely to make in your lifetime. Because you drive your car every day, you should carefully weigh your choices, do your research, and make sure you’re getting the absolute best value on your dream vehicle. Consider these three ways that thorough research can result in more bang for your buck.
Target a Monthly Payment Before You Shop Before you tempt yourself with the nicest and newest cars on the lot, carefully consider your finances and decide what you can afford. Update your budget or try a calculator to determine a monthly payment that would comfortably fit in with your other bills. You want to ensure you still have room for savings, investing, and emergencies. A car payment should never be a burden. Rather, it should fit seamlessly in with your other financial responsibilities. Don’t go to extremes, however. Your goal should be a comfortable monthly payment along with a reasonable loan term. Don’t be fooled by super-low monthly payments over a term of 84 or more months. Your monthly payments might be lower, but you’d pay much more in the long run. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you can target a realistic down payment, regular monthly payments, and a reasonable loan term, you’ll be better equipped to negotiate the best car loan for you and walk away with a set of keys that won’t compromise your budget. Then you’ll be ready to work with a lender.
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Comparison Shop Talk to friends and relatives. Consult with a mechanic. Check the values of the vehicle make and model you’re considering to learn about how they might tend to depreciate over time. Read reports and trade magazines. Do the research before you start test driving.
And if you’re trying to decide between buying or leasing, be sure you understand the pros and cons. On the upside to leasing, there is usually only a small or no down payment required, and those who lease usually enjoy a newer model vehicle with the benefit of being under warranty. On the downside, there are often stringent mileage restrictions that limit how far you can drive in a year. And you’d be unable to make any cosmetic changes to a leased car. The biggest concern, though, is that leasing a car often comes with hefty fees. Leasing can be a good option for some people, depending on their situation. Take a close look before you decide. The fees plus penalties for breaking any lease rules could conceivably cost more than you might think over the lifetime of the lease.
Find a Lender You Trust We’ve all heard horror stories about haggling with salesman and spending hours on end at a dealership. But applying for an auto loan need not be painful or stressful in today’s day and age. Ask friends and family for recommendations. Look around for the best rates. Consider a locally-owned lender with a good reputation in your community.
Whether you’re purchasing new or used or looking to refinance a vehicle, University Federal Credit Union offers the same low rates and flexible terms.
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