Getting a fair price on a used car is a good goal no matter what your credit score. It's especially important to bad credit borrowers to know how to get the lowest price they can since bad credit usually increases the price of financing.
Working Out Your Fairest Deal
The car market is gonzo right now. Both new and used inventory is at a low point, and new stock is slow to roll in. If you're a bad credit borrower in need of a new-to-you car, now can be the time to buy, and we have some tips to help you strive for the lowest loan cost you can qualify for.
1. Research Your Car and Inventory
With the car market looking a little bare these days, it's a good idea to research the vehicle you're thinking of getting. Models that have been in high demand may be harder to find, so you might need to work with a dealership to locate the make or model you want.
Remember, buying used typically means buying as-is. This means there's no recourse if something goes wrong right away. Because of this, it's a good idea to look at the make and model you're considering to make sure it holds its value and that it gets good reviews from current and former consumers. More popular models are also likely to carry a higher price tag. If there's a vehicle that meets your needs but isn't in demand for some reason, it doesn't hurt to keep it in the running for a test drive. You may love the car, and save money, too.
2. Rate Shop
If you find a vehicle that you want and have the option to get it in a few different locations, it's a good idea to apply with at least two or three of them to see which lender offers you the best deal. This is known as rate shopping.
When you rate shop, you apply for the same type of loan with multiple lenders in a short time frame – usually around 14 days. The credit bureaus can see you’re looking for the right deal, so. all inquiries to show up on your credit report, but only one of them impacts your credit score temporarily. This allows you to lose fewer points when you're looking for a fair price on a used car and a good loan to go along with it.
3. Know What to Negotiate
Auto loans and car prices aren't one size fits all, and they aren't set in stone in most cases (though some dealers do offer "no-haggle" pricing which isn't open to negotiation). Several things can typically be bargained on in the buying process, so make sure you know where you stand before you start trying to stare down a dealer.
You can negotiate loan terms with an auto lender, too. Know what your credit score is, and what the average interest rate is for someone in a similar situation – this way you have a leg to stand on.
Know that you can usually negotiate with a dealer: your vehicle selling price, your down payment amount, dealer add-ons, and dealer doc fees. Things that can't be changed are your tax, title, and license fees. Be prepared to battle for a fair price, and know you can always walk away from a deal that doesn't meet your needs.
4. Bring a Trade-In
If you have a car that you need to be out of, it could be your key to a fair price on your next used car. Having a vehicle to trade-in can lower the price of your next car if there's equity in it. This means that you owe less for the car than it's worth. Right now, used cars are in demand, so you might get an even better price for your trade, depending on its condition.
ACE Tip: Negotiate your used car deal first. Getting the dealer to agree to the lowest price before you tell them you have a vehicle to trade-in can work to your advantage and go a long way toward helping you get a good price.
Ready to Find a Deal of Your Own?
If you have bad credit and you're ready to fight for a fair deal, we've got your back. Here at Auto Credit Express, we've been connecting credit-challenged borrowers to the dealerships that can help for over two decades, and we want to help you, too. Our dealer network is signed up with subprime lenders that know how to help even if you're in a bad or no credit situation.
To get started, simply fill out our fast, zero-obligation auto loan request form.