When you have bad credit and need a car in Seattle, it's a good idea to be prepared for the auto loan process from the start. There are a few more steps involved as a bad credit borrower compared to a borrower with the best credit. Read on to find out what you need to bring to a local Seattle dealership for your best chance at getting approved for a car loan.

6 Things Required at the Dealership

Getting a bad credit auto loan in Seattle means proving to the lender that you have the ability, stability, and willingness to handle a car loan. In order to give them the confidence they need, the lender typically asks that you provide the following six things when you visit a dealer:

  1. Paperwork Required for Getting a Bad Credit Car Loan in SeattleProof of income – Lender's that deal with bad credit auto loans in the Seattle area like to know that you have enough income to comfortably cover the payments. Though the specific amount can vary by lender, the usual minimum income requirement is around $1,500 to $2,000 a month before taxes. To serve as proof of income, most want you to bring in a computer-generated check stub showing year-to-date income from the past 30 days.
  2. Proof of residence – Car lenders in the Emerald City like to know that you have stability, and that you live where you say you do. For proof of residence, bring in a utility bill in your name from the past 30 days that shows the address listed on your auto loan application.
  3. Proof of a working phone – A lender needs to be able to contact you, and they want to make sure they can do it any time. For this reason, they require proof of a working phone line in your name. Either a landline or a contract cell phone works, but prepaid phones aren't accepted.
  4. Valid driver's license – You can't legally drive away in a vehicle if you don't have a valid driver's license. Having one also serves as proof of identification, so the lender can ensure that you are who you say you are.
  5. A list of personal references – Though you may not be asked for these up front, it's best if you're prepared. Lenders around King County generally ask you to provide a list of five to eight personal references complete with names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
  6. Down payment – You also typically need a down payment when you have less than perfect credit. Many bad credit lenders around Seattle require $1,000 down or 10% of the car's selling price, whichever is less.

Auto Credit Express Tip: Though it's not always necessary, in cases where a lender is on the fence about approving you, having a cosigner or co-borrower ready can really make a difference. In fact, lenders sometimes require you to have someone else on the loan if you have bad credit or low income.

How to Prepare Before You Visit the Dealership

Your best bet for an auto loan with poor credit is to visit a local special finance dealership in the Emerald City. These dealers work with subprime lenders that have to ability to approve you for financing based on factors outside of your credit score, such as your income, employment, and residence stability.

Even though these lenders are more likely to approve you for a bad credit car loan, there are some things you should know before heading to a dealership to get financed:

  • Your credit – You should know both your FICO credit score and what's on your credit reports. When you know what lenders are looking at, you have the ability to do some research beforehand. This means you can find out what the average interest rates are for people in similar situations, which gives you a better gauge to know if you're getting a good deal.
  • Your budget – It's a good idea to know exactly what you can afford to spend, and to estimate whether or not you can afford an auto loan at this point. Lenders calculate your budget in two ways, using the debt to income ratio and the payment to income ratio. The debt to income ratio lets lenders know if you have enough disposable income available to comfortably afford a loan, and the payment to income ratio lets them know how much of your monthly income would be taken up by your payment itself. You can also use our car loan estimator to see what kind of loan you might qualify for in the Seattle area.

Let Us Help Take the Hassle out of Finding an Auto Loan

Now that you know what paperwork to bring, and what you should know before you go, you need to find a dealer with the right lending resources for your credit situation. Instead of driving around the city looking for the right place to go, let Auto Credit Express help instead.

We work with a network of special finance dealerships across Seattle, and the rest of the country, that have the subprime lenders you need. It's easy to get the bad credit auto loan process started! Simply fill out our fast, free, and no-obligation car loan request form today.