Spring car shopping? Take care of financing first
(BPT) - Auto shows dotting the country paired with rising temperatures leave many people longing for a new car or truck. But purchasing a new vehicle is a complex process – one that doesn’t start with finding the right car, but with making sure your finances are in order. It’s important to plan ahead so there are no surprises during the loan application process that leave you stranded without options.
Long before you hit the dealership, sit down and go over some important variables. First, determine your budget and what you can realistically afford. Remember, your car payment may be the largest consideration, but it’s only one part of the total monthly cost of owning a new vehicle. You must factor in gas, insurance premiums and regular maintenance to get an accurate amount. Once you know your magic number, stick to it so you don’t get in over your head.
After you have a general idea of what you can afford, you should check your credit to see if you are a good candidate for a loan before you start shopping. A good first step is to check your credit reports. Is everything accurate? What is your debt-to-credit ratio? Are there items you want to work on before applying for a car loan?
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