Seattleites, are you sick of hopping transit lines to get around the Emerald City? If you're afraid of bad credit keeping you from buying a vehicle, don't be. Imperfect credit can make it more difficult, but it's far from impossible. Read on to see how you can buy a car with bad credit in Seattle.

Buying a Car with Bad Credit vs. Good Credit

How to Buy a Car with Bad Credit in SeattleThe car buying process differs a lot depending on your credit situation. Folks with good credit, better credit, and the best credit are going to have the easiest time getting the vehicle they want and getting it financed without hassle. With credit scores of around 700 and above, car buying can be as simple as picking out a vehicle, getting it financed, and taking delivery.

On the other hand, with poor credit, the process takes a bit more doing. In fact, the bad credit car buying process in Seattle is almost directly opposite of the car buying process for those with good credit. For someone struggling with credit, the process starts with finding the right lender. Once you've met all the requirements and gotten approved for the financing you need, the dealership is going to present you with vehicle options to choose from.

Having poor credit makes it an ideal time to find a vehicle that meets your basic driving needs while you work on improving your credit through an auto loan. Even though it's not the ideal time to pick out your dream car, you should still research vehicles so you're not going into the car buying situation blind. In fact, there are four steps you can take to help yourself in the car buying process when you have bad credit.

4 Steps to Buy a Car with Bad Credit in Seattle

Following these four steps helps you to prepare for the smoothest car buying process you can get in Seattle:

  1. Get your credit reports and score – Most lenders use your FICO credit scores when they're evaluating you for an auto loan. It's a good idea to know where you stand so that the lender can't call the shots on you. Sure, bad credit means you're looking at a higher interest rate, and possibly some other loan restrictions, but you can't research common rates and terms for your situation if you don't know what the lender is seeing. Knowing at least the ballpark you should be in can help you know when to walk away from a bad deal.
  2. Research vehicles – You already know that you can't pick out a car first when you're working with bad credit, but you can still look at what's available. Know your driving needs and make a list of must-have features, as well as things you don't want in a vehicle. Check fuel economy, safety ratings, and customer reviews to see how other people view the automobiles you're likely going to pick from. Remember, the exact car you're able to choose depends on lender approval and the selection available on a dealer's lot.
  3. Gather your documents Although not all of these documents are strictly required the instant you step through a dealership's door, it's a good idea to have them prepared ahead of time. When you're working with a lender that can approve someone with bad credit, there are several requirements that need to be met in order for an applicant to get approved. These requirements vary by lender, but you're typically going to need to provide paperwork, including:
    • Proof of identity – A valid driver's license or state ID, depending on lender requirements.
    • Proof of residency – A recent utility bill in your name, at the address used on your application.
    • Proof of income – A recent computer-generated pay stub that shows year-to-date income. Lenders usually require a minimum monthly income of around $1,500 to $2,000 before taxes.
    • Proof of a working telephone – A recent telephone bill in your name, for a landline or contract cell phone. Prepaid phones aren't accepted.
    • Personal references – A list of between five and 10 personal references are typically needed. The lenders don't ask for these up front, but, again, it's better to be prepared.
    • Down payment – The amount you're required to put down varies, but a down payment of at least $1,000 or 10 percent of the vehicle's selling price is fairly standard. The larger the down payment, the better, especially if you have poor credit.
  4. Find a lender – Not all lenders can help people that have less than perfect credit. Those that can aren't always easy to find. When you have bad credit, it's more difficult to get a direct loan through a bank or credit union, so your best bet if you’ve been turned down by either one is to find a subprime lender that's prepared to work with your credit situation. These lenders use factors in addition to your credit score to look closer at your situation and help you get approved – hence all the extra requirements. These lenders only work as a third party through special finance dealers, so you can't sit down face to face with them. Instead, you have to go to a dealership to get the process started. But where do you find a special finance dealer? We can help with that!

Finding a Special Finance Dealership in Seattle

Here at Auto Credit Express, we work with a nationwide network of special financing dealerships, including dealers in Seattle and the surrounding area. These dealerships work with lenders that can help people in many types of credit situations, including bad credit, no credit, or even bankruptcy. Instead of driving up and down along the Sound trying to find a dealer who has the resources you need, start here.

By filling out our easy, no-obligation auto loan request form you can start the process of finding a local dealership that can work with you from the comfort of your own home. The process is free and takes only minutes to get started. So, what are you waiting for?