Finding Ways to Save on Home & Auto Loans PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Emily Caropreso   
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 14:47

CONSIDER THIS: Polk, an auto research firm, forecasts that new vehicle registrations in the U.S. will increase by 900,000 in 2013. According to more than 900 credit union members surveyed by the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL), Iowa is no exception to the trend. The report revealed 10.1 percent of respondents plan to purchase a car in 2013. Additionally, 4.1 percent of respondents say they are planning to purchase a house this year.

It can be difficult to afford large down payments so finding the best financing option is more important than ever. The survey showed 46.6 percent of respondents in ICUL’s survey report said they would use money from savings for a down payment on a car, and 40.5 percent on a house. While the current market offers favorable rates, MyFICO.com says the best options are usually only available to borrowers with “tier one” credit, which generally requires a credit score ranging from 760 to 850. Without research and planning, consumers outside of tier one may find themselves paying more than necessary for their loans.

“Too often consumers finance a loan without understanding the actual financial impact,” said Emily Caropreso, Director of Communications & Marketing, Iowa Credit Union League. “Length of the loan and the interest rate are only part of the equation. Your credit history, fees, and down payment influence what you will pay each month, and ultimately the costs associated with the entire life of the loan.”

ICUL suggests the following tips:

  • Check your credit history. Your credit union can provide you with a copy of your credit report. If not, you can get a report each year for free at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Check your report for inaccuracies, and look for areas to improve. If you have existing balances, consider paying them down to lessen your debt-to-income ratio, a big factor in your credit score.
  • Shop around for the best financing deal. Consider the entire financing package when shopping for a loan. Calculate the cost of the loan through its entire term and include up-front charges, taxes and fees. You may find a low-interest loan without fees costs less than a zero-percent-interest loan with fees.
  • Put money down. If possible, take the time to save up for a down payment. The more money you put down, the less you have to finance, saving you thousands of dollars in interest charges. This can also allow you to pay for any loan costs up front, rather than rolling them into your monthly payment.
  • Adjust your monthly budget. Adding a new loan payment can put a dent in your monthly budget. Bills that you typically paid in the middle of the month might need to be moved, possibly subjecting you to late fees. Try budgeting an estimated mortgage or car payment a couple of months in advance to avoid the shock.
  • Ask questions. The more questions you ask, the better informed you are. Sit down with a consumer lending specialist at your credit union and ask: how much house/car can I afford? What fees/charges are avoidable? What interest rate can I expect to pay? How much should I put down? In the end, how much will the loan cost me?
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