In today’s society, we all rely on our vehicles. They take us to work, daycare, after school activities, dates, the doctor, our friend’s place, on family vacations and so much more. Finding an affordable, reliable vehicle that you like and can help you live life to the fullest, often involves taking out an auto loan to finance your purchase. But what do you do if your credit score isn’t very good and you haven’t been successful with your loans in the past? How can you get access to the credit that you need and also ensure that you give yourself the best opportunity to be successful this time? Be diligent and mindful in your choice of a car dealer and financing solution search. Look for the best fit for you and your situation. There are many different types of vehicles, dealers, and lenders available for people with bad credit, but they’re not all the same. There are many different approaches to the way they do business and what is most important to them.
Choosing a Vehicle
- Keep an open mind and invest a little time with the vehicle. It is important to drive the vehicle to make sure that you like the way it handles, as well as the feel of the interior layout. Be sure that it has enough room to meet your requirements. So many times, it’s easy to get so caught up in the way a vehicle looks from the outside that we forget how important it is to feel comfortable with viewing angles, the ability to see over the hood, and the size of the interior and exterior areas. Be sure that you’re also happy with the overall appearance quality and drivability. Envision how you and your family will use the vehicle and how it will serve your needs and desires.
Choosing a DealerAnother important part of the process is selecting a dealer that has your best interests in mind. Every dealer wants to serve you and their desire is to sell you a vehicle that gets you excited and that you will commit to buying. Most do a really good job of this or you wouldn’t be interested in shopping with them, let alone buying from them. So how do you select a dealer that has your best interests in mind versus their need to sell another vehicle?
- Look for a dealer that specializes in helping people with bad credit on a regular basis. There are many dealers that are consistently looking for lenders to serve the bad credit niche. These types of lenders come and go; this creates an ever-changing environment for the dealer. This volatility affects the dealer’s ability to help customers with credit challenges.
- Does the dealer have policies and procedures to work with financial hardship, to maintain a positive credit rating with them and do they report that to the credit bureaus? Building a positive credit rating and improving your credit score is not easy and it can take many years. Dealers that specialize in helping people through difficult times, as well as getting the value of affordable and dependable transportation, provide more to their customer base than those that simply sell a vehicle and wish you good luck.
- Buy here pay here dealers are different than special finance dealers. A buy here pay here dealer does not get paid up front for the contract from a bank or special finance company. They are in relationship with the customer for the entire length of the contract and are committed to helping the customer with affordable and dependable transportation. They rely on the customer to continue to make their payments over the life of the loan. Special finance dealers get paid for the contract once the sale is made and the customer is generally on their own at that point to deal with life’s challenges. Many times, these are the same challenges that caused them not to be successful in the past.
- Does the buy here pay here dealer have the best resource programs and people to help its customers day to day and in an extreme time of difficulty? This is what separates the best from the rest. Do they have a program available to make your vehicle payment or even possibly pay the vehicle off?
- How long has the buy here pay here dealer been in business? Generally, this will tell you a few things about the company and their commitment to the customer with bad credit, as well as how successful they’ve been able to service the customer effectively. Are they family owed with values that align with yours, or are they a private equity firm that is more concerned with the bottom line than customer service?
- How much variety and availability is there in the inventory offered for sale? Does the dealer have 10 vehicles that are listed as “buy here pay here,” or is the dealer’s entire inventory available to you? Some dealers have very few vehicles to offer while a larger dealer, like Oak Motors, may have over 500 vehicles on a regular basis to provide plenty of options.
- Dependability and reliability are key factors. These are important when evaluating which buy here pay here dealer to select. Does the dealer offer a warranty and if so, for how long and what does it cover? Do they have on site facilities to service the vehicle after the sale? Do they offer service programs to help the customer maintain their vehicle in tip top shape to avoid mechanical mishaps that might otherwise cause the customer to miss payments and default on the loan? Does the dealer offer courtesy transportation or rentals while your vehicle is in service?