Category Archives: finance

Low Interest Rate Car Deals

Car manufacturers and dealers often have special loan rates available for limited-time promotions. Are these deals worth considering? Do you save money by accepting low-interest loan deals?

We see a lot of variations of low-interest loan rates from car manufacturers. Some are 3.9%, some, 1.9%, some 0.9%, and even 0%. What’s the difference? Is a 0% APR deal much better than a 1.9% APR deal?

First of all, low-interest loan rates are almost always limited-time promotional deals being offered by finance companies associated with a car manufacturers, such as Ford’s Ford Credit or Honda’s Honda Financial Services. Dealers do not set loan rates. Customers sometimes incorrectly think that, with a high credit score, they should be able to get a 0% or super-low interest rate at any time.

Let’s take a look at how low-interest new-car loans stack up.

Continue reading Low Interest Rate Car Deals

First Car Questions

We answer questions from first-car buyers almost every day when we participate on the Yahoo! Answers web site in the Car Buying and Selling section. The majority of those questions come from teens and young adults who have little or no experience in buying, trading, or selling cars.

In the few years that we’ve been doing it, we have seen certain common questions come up over and over again. Some come up numerous times in a single day.

We thought we would post some of the most frequent questions here, and answer them just as we do on Yahoo! Answers.

Here goes.

Q.  How many miles are too much for a used car?  How many miles will I get from this used car?

A. All used cars are different. It’s not possible to say that a certain car of a certain age and of a certain brand that has 150,000 miles is a good car. It depends on how it has been driven and cared for. Some cars with only 50,000 miles are ready for the junk yard, while others with 150,000 miles are good for another 150,000.  Even brands such as Honda and Toyota, that are known to be very reliable, can have serious high-mileage problems. Therefore, don’t make a purchase decision based on mileage alone. Get a professional mechanic to inspect your car before you buy. It’s the actual condition of the car, not mileage, that is important.

Continue reading First Car Questions

How Do Car Notes Work?

car leaseCar notes, or car loan payments, are the monthly payments made after a car is purchased with a loan from a bank, credit union, or finance company. Some dealers provide financing directly, in which case car notes are made directly to the dealer, but in most cases dealers simply arrange financing with a bank or finance company that he partners with. In that case, car note payments are made to the bank or finance company.

Car buyers who need a loan can apply at a bank or credit union prior to looking for a car. In this way, they can be pre-approved and will know exactly how much they can borrow and what their loan finance rate (interest rate) will be. When they finally decide on a car and are buying from a dealer, they can compare the dealer’s financing with the bank’s financing and go with the best deal.

Continue reading How Do Car Notes Work?

How to Buy a Car from an Individual Seller

How do I buy a car from an individual private seller — not a dealer?

When you buy a car from an individual, you pay with cash, a money order, or a bank cashiers check. The money can come from savings, a checking account, a family loan, or a loan from a bank or financial company. Most sellers do not like personal checks.

Buyers sometimes expect a private seller to “take payments” but any smart seller will not agree to such a plan. It is too risky. As a buyer, it’s better to get your own loan.

Requirements for a car loan

Loans from banks or finance companies require that you have a not-so-bad credit score, have an income sufficient to repay the loan, and have no excessive debts that might interfer with your ability to repay the loan. Loan companies do not want to give money to people who are unable to repay a loan.

Buying a car with bad credit – or no credit

People who have a bad credit history — a history of not making payments on time or of missing payments on other loans – will have problems getting a car loan. The lender will assume that if you have had problems in the past, there is a good chance that you’ll have problems again.

Continue reading How to Buy a Car from an Individual Seller

Can I Refinance My Car Loan?

refinance auto loanRefinancing your car loan can often lower your monthly payments.

Auto loan interest rates are hovering at the lowest rates seen in many years. If you are currently paying a high rate, you may be able to benefit by refinancing at a lower rate.

Depending on the value of your car and the amount you owe on your loan, you might even be able to refinance and get cash back out of the deal.

Refinancing an auto loan is similar to getting any other used-car loan. You might refinance with the same company with which you have your current loan, or you might go to a different bank or loan company.

If you bought your car new and financed your loan through the car manufacturer’s “captive” finance company, you might find that the company does not do refinance loans. In this case, you’ll have to go to a bank or loan company for your loan.

Loan rates vary between different banks and finance companies. Refinance rates are usually higher than new-car rates, but lower than ordinary used-car rates. Shop around for the best rates.

Continue reading Can I Refinance My Car Loan?

How Are Car Payments Calculated?

Figuring car payments is easy if you have the right calculator — it’s not easy math otherwise

car payment calculatorCar payment calculation is not simple math. It requires a rather complex business math formula that is not easily done by hand and most people are not capable, or not willing, to take it on. It’s not as simple as dividing loan amount by the number of months in the loan. Finance charges (interest), which change every month, must be accounted for.

It’s much easier to use a hand-held business calculator, such as the HP 12c or HP 17b, or, even better, use an easy online auto loan calculator which does the math for you.

To use a car loan calculator, you must know the amount being financed, the number of months you want to finance, and the interest rate. You’ll also need to know the down payment amount, if any, and the value of your trade-in vehicle, if any. You also need to know the sales tax rate that applies to your home location, not where you buy your car. Continue reading How Are Car Payments Calculated?

Should I Buy From a Buy-Here-Pay-Here Dealer?

buy here pay here dealersBuy-here-pay-here car dealers provide auto loans to people with bad credit.

Most car dealers do not directly finance loans on cars they sell. They work with outside banks and finance companies to provide loans for their customers. It’s up to those banks and finance companies, not the dealer, to approve and provide customers car loans.

However, a different breed of used car dealer, called  “buy-here-pay-here” dealers,  do provide their own financing without an outside bank or loan company. They primarily function to sell used cars to people who have bad credit and cannot get approved for loans from conventional sources.

Buy-here-pay-here (BHPH) dealers can be recognized by their promotional ads or storefront signs. They use the terms “easy finance” or “no credit checks” or “we finance anybody” or “in-house financing” or “fast loan approval” or “we approve you regardless of your credit.”  They are sometimes called “tote the note” dealers. Continue reading Should I Buy From a Buy-Here-Pay-Here Dealer?

Where to Find 0% APR Car Deals

zero percent 0% car loan financingCar manufacturers offer special sales incentives every month on particular vehicle makes, models, and styles. Incentives vary from month to month.

Incentives come in the form of direct-to-customer rebates, special lease deals, and low-interest loans, including 0% APR loan deals. See Best Car Deals for current new-car incentives, including 0% loans.

Zero percent financing, when offered, means that the customer pays no interest or finance charges on his car loan. This saves money. Monthly payments are smaller and total costs are reduced.

Calculating payments for a zero percent loan is easy. Simply divide the cost of the car by the number of months in the loan. Non-zero-percent loans are much more difficult to calculate and require a car loan calculator.

Are 0% loans good deals?

Maybe.

Continue reading Where to Find 0% APR Car Deals

Good Time to Buy Car for Best Deals

best car dealsAs this is being written, this year, 2011, has become the best time to buy a new car in years. And 2012 looks to be even better.

In normal years, we would tell you that the best time to buy a car is when sales are slow at the end of the month, end or the year, or during vacation season. We would tell you that you might still have to negotiate your prices because dealers aren’t just going to give you a good deal because they like you.

BUT……..things are much different now. Sales have been slow for over a year and are still slow right now. As a result, we are now seeing some of the biggest and best car incentives on new cars that we’ve seen in years. Nearly every car manufacturer is now offering a combination of large factory-to-customer rebates, low-interest loan deals, 0% APR loans (even on long 72 month loans), special lease deals, free maintenance, and “secret” factory-to-dealer rebates that dealers usually give to customers.

Why has 2011 become such a good time to buy a car? Continue reading Good Time to Buy Car for Best Deals

Car Loan Basics for First Time Car Buyers

A Car Loan Story

David, 17, recently graduated from high school, landed a good paying job, and wanted to buy a new car.

His thought was that he would go to his neighborhood Ford dealer where he had been admiring a bright red Focus model that he felt he could afford, and arrange for a convenient loan to pay for it. He could easily get approved for the loan because his father knows the owner of the dealership.

The car cost $12,000 with discounts and rebates. He thought a 5 year (60 months) loan would be about right because he figured payments to be $200 a month ($12,000 divided by 60 months), which he could easily afford.

David was wrong — in many ways. Let’s see why. Continue reading Car Loan Basics for First Time Car Buyers

How to Buy a Car With No Credit?

Is it possible to get a car loan and buy a car with no credit?

The answer? Yes, under some conditions. Let’s explain.

It is a common situation, especially with young people who have never had a loan, never had credit cards, or never borrowed money for a car. Without a history of prior loans and payments, there is no credit history and no credit score, which is the number that represents credit rating.

In fact it is not quite sufficient to simply have a good credit score to get a car loan — or any loan. You may also need to have an established steady income (a job) and no excessive debts. You should have no recent bankruptcies or auto repossessions, which you wouldn’t be likely to have anyway if you have no credit.

So how is it possible to buy a car with a loan when you have no credit record and no credit score? Continue reading How to Buy a Car With No Credit?

Money for Your First Car

money for carThe need or desire for a first car often comes before sufficient money is available.

This is especially true for many teenagers or college graduates who are eager to buy that first car, but lack the necessary funds. What to do?

This is a common problem for lots of folks buying their first car. It can be solved in a number of ways.

There are essentially four ways to get money for a car:

  1. Save the money
  2. Be gifted the money
  3. Borrow the money
  4. Earn the money

Let’s take a closer look at each of these ways:

Continue reading Money for Your First Car

Where Are the Best Car Deals?

best car dealsEveryone buying a new car wants to get a bargain and a great deal. So where can those deals be found?

Although we’ll be primarily discussing brand new cars here, we can make some comments on used cars, if that’s the direction you think you want to go.

Used Car Deals

Finding a great deal on a used car is a bit more tricky than finding a new-car deal. That’s because used cars are, well, used. No two are alike. Even used cars of the same year, same brand, same model, and same equipment can have different mileage, different problems, may have been driven and maintained differently, may have been wrecked (or not), and may have very different prices for these and other assorted reasons. When you find a used car at a bargain price, it might be for a good reason — or the buyer may simply be desperate — or it could be a common scam, especially if bought online. Therefore, it takes much more care when buying used.

Continue reading Where Are the Best Car Deals?

Is It Better to Lease or Buy a Car?

better to lease or buyAlthough we’ve discussed this topic previously (see Lease vs Buy), there is one aspect that we haven’t discussed and continue to hear questions about.

The question is essentially this: “If a car dealer is offering a special promotional lease deal, a purchase rebate, and a low interest loan on the car I want, which one is the best deal?”

The short answer to this question is that the lease deal will nearly always be better — and it’s not simply because monthly payments are less. If the lease deal is one that is being offered by the car manufacturer, the company has usually applied a price discount, a low money factor (finance rate), and a high lease-end residual value. The combination of all these things makes for an attractive low monthly payment. Customers are not able to negotiate these kinds of deals for themselves  because a dealer only controls one of those three things — price.

Continue reading Is It Better to Lease or Buy a Car?