A "How To" Guide for Buying a Car

Posted August 10th, 2017

Buying a car is exciting! But it can be overwhelming, too. Being prepared and having a plan can help you stress less, and help to ensure you end up with the right car for you.  

First: Assess your needs
Something small and sporty when you live in the mountains? An SUV when you commute on the train during the work week? Maybe not. Consider your lifestyle and the driving conditions you’ll be facing on a daily basis. Then consider your finances.  

Second: Set a reasonable budget
When buying your first car, it’s easy to forget all the ownership expenses beyond the monthly car payment. Be sure to factor the costs of maintenance, insurance, gas and repairs into your budget.  

Third: Know your credit score
Your credit score helps determine the interest rate you pay on a car loan. Better credit may help get you a more favorable interest rate, which in turn will affect your overall car-buying budget.

Fourth: Call your credit union
Buying a car - whether it’s your first or you tenth - can be hard to navigate. This is the time to rely on your credit union. Whether it’s understanding the lending process, exploring your options and financing, or just helping you to make sense of the numbers, that’s what your credit union is here for.

“I tell all my members to do your research. Make a plan. Ask a lot of questions,” says Angie Manns, DECU Indirect Lending Director. “Remember, it’s okay to go to a dealership and NOT buy a car. If today isn’t the day, today isn’t the day. Don’t let yourself be pressured or rushed into buying before you’re ready.”  

Fifth: Make a down payment
Typically, buying a car doesn’t require a down payment, but making one is usually a good idea. You don’t have to borrow as much, and your monthly payment will be lower.  

Sixth: Close the deal
You’ve done your research, you’ve made a plan, and you have your financing in place. When it’s time to negotiate the deal, remember: you’re in control.

Jeremy Brandt, General Sales Manager for Landmark in Taylorville, has one goal: to make his customers happy. “At the end of the day, we want our customers to be in the best situation. That’s our bottom line.” 


Learn more by visiting DECU's Auto Center.