The most important step to take in the car buying process is to be as prepared as possible before you set foot in the dealership. This includes checking your credit score and reports, calculating a budget, and even rate shopping. But there’s lots of paperwork involved, too. If you plan on trading in your car, be prepared to bring extra documents.

Documents for Your Trade-in

What Documents are Needed for a Car Trade In?According to Edmunds, about 43 percent of all car purchases included a trade-in in 2017. So, it’s pretty apparent that dealers are familiar with trade-ins. Before you even discuss trading in your vehicle with a dealership, make sure you have your car’s value estimated from a vehicle valuation website such as NADA Guides. Once you have an estimate on your car’s resale value, you should gather all the documents you need.

You can print out your trade-in’s estimated resale value and have it ready for reference. But on top of that, if you plan on trading in your vehicle, you need to bring the car’s title. If the title has a secured party, make sure you bring in the payoff letter or get a 10-day payoff amount from the lender and have their contact information including the account number ready. And, although not required, you can bring in your service records, which can help you get more money if your vehicle has been well maintained.

In addition, have all your keys with you, and the registration if you plan on transferring the license plate to the next car.

Other Documents Needed to Finance a Car

If you have bad credit, you can expect the lender to ask for even more documentation. This is to make sure you’re ready for the car buying process. What you need to bring in includes:

  • Driver’s license – This is to make sure you’re legally allowed to drive as well as confirm your identity
  • Proof of income – A recent computer-generated pay stub that lists year-to-date earnings
  • Proof of residency – A recent utility bill with the address listed on the application
  • Proof of a working phone – A recent phone bill provided from your national carrier (prepaid phones don’t count)
  • List of references – Six to eight references complete with names, phone numbers, and addresses (none living at your address)

You may also need proof of car insurance to drive off the lot, so make sure you have that covered beforehand, too.

Finding the Right Dealer for You

If you're ready to head to a dealer, but your credit is making you worry you won’t get the financing you need, let Auto Credit Express help out. We can match you with a local special finance dealership that has the lenders available to handle challenging credit situations. Start the process right now by submitting our auto loan request form.