Congratulations—your car search has come to an end and you’ve settled on a shiny new vehicle to call your own. Whether you choose to invest in the luxury or base model, neither decision will make a difference if you don’t have the cash to fund your new purchase. That’s where an auto loan comes in—to provide you with the money needed to buy a vehicle outright and avoid hefty dealership fees or interest rates. From purchasing a used vehicle for your newly-licensed teenager to budgeting for a better model, here are the top five strategies to finding an auto loan to fit your needs.

Search Around

Before you start test-driving potential models, always search around for running averages for interest rates, loan terms, and repayment options. Don’t go into the deal blind, and know what to look for to detect potential scams or hidden fees. Around the holidays or new year, loan promotions may be available with low-interest rates and flexible repayment options. Ask around—friends and family may know about discounts or promotions with their local bank. Give potential lenders a call to make terms a little clearer and ask any questions you need to get started. 

Understand Your Financial Standing

Before you even think about setting foot in a bank or credit union, understand your current financial standing to know what to expect before the conversation starts flowing. Important things to research are your credit score, credit report, and financial history. Knowing the range of these numbers can help you to understand what kind of rates you’ll be presented with when you start discussing. Some lenders will offer a discount, lower-interest rates, or a more flexible repayment period if you are in good financial standing. You may even get pre-approved if your credit is insufficient, eliminating the need for hard-inquiry credit-checks entirely.

Read All the Terms

When you sit down with a financial advisor to review terms, be sure to read all the fine print. Avoid loans that present surprise fees or interest charges, and stick to those that have a non-fluctuating period of repayment. Points like these will allow you to rest easy knowing that nothing will change over time and leave you underwater. Before signing anything, make sure you are fully aware and understand what you’re agreeing to.

Ask Away!

When it comes to anything financial, never be afraid to ask questions. This is a long-term investment, so make sure all terms and statements make sense and are clear in your brain. Financial advisors and advocates are here and want to help you make the best decision. If they’re a little sluggish in making your contract easier to read and understand, it may be time to find a new source of funding. No matter how silly the question may seem, don’t be afraid to perk up and ask—it could be the difference between short-term funding and a lifetime of debt. 

Not sure where to start looking for your ideal auto loan? For President’s Day, Common Trust is proud to be offering an auto loan promotion to get you in the front seat of your dream car. With a rate of 2.99%, you can focus more on enjoying your new ride and less on technicalities and fine print. Don’t miss out—this exclusive offer is only available until March 31st. Give us a ring or reach out via email today!