One of the most powerful tools when it comes to buying a new or pre-owned vehicle is a pre-approval. With a pre-approval, you’ll have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating with dealerships, you’ll be protected against unnecessary add-ons, and you’ll stay within your budget.
What is a Pre-Approval?
Nowadays, you’re able to stop by practically any dealership and buy a vehicle without applying first at your financial institution. While this might be more convenient for some people, it could also cost you quite a bit of money.
To get pre-approved, all you have to do is apply on our website or visit any of our branches before you go shopping for your new vehicle. Once you’re approved, your pre-approval letter will tell you exactly how much you’re approved to borrow and at what rate and terms.
Staying Within Your Budget
When we pre-approve you for your new vehicle, we’ll look at your current financial situation. How much debt do you currently have? What types of debt? What is your current income? We’ll help you determine exactly what you can afford to spend so you can stay within your unique budget.
Too often, people focus solely on how much they can afford each month as payment. There are many tricks dealerships can use to make a more expensive vehicle still fit within your current monthly budget (i.e., extending loan terms). A pre-approval prevents this from happening.
With a pre-approval, you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating. You know exactly how much you’re approved to borrow and cannot go over that amount. Dealerships will not be able to try putting you in a more expensive vehicle or adding on unnecessary features.
Dealerships want to sell vehicles. Many have quotas they have to sell per month. While it’s not guaranteed, many times dealerships will drop prices to meet your pre-approval simply so they can sell the vehicle. Remember – dealerships want to sell cars, not lose your business over a few hundred dollars.
When you stop by for your pre-approval, we’ll provide you with options, including MCP (Member Credit Protection) and Extended Warranties. The same programs dealerships will often offer you, except our programs are usually up to 50% less than dealerships.
Plus, with your pre-approval, you’ll be protected against a bunch of extra add-ons dealerships have once you get to the finance department. Since you cannot go over your pre-approved amount, they will not be able to sell you any of these unnecessary services.
Because a pre-approval is such a powerful tool for you – dealerships will often try to get you not to use it. They will say they can get you a better deal with their financing or another institution. Or they will focus on a vehicle above your pre-approved amount so that the only option is to ditch your pre-approval.
Be prepared for these attempts. They are just strategies to get more money out of you. Remember, a pre-approval keeps you in your budget, gives you the upper hand with negotiating, and protects you from unnecessary extra expenses. Of course, dealerships will try to get you not to use this powerful tool!
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Each individual’s financial situation is unique. We encourage you to contact United Texas Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.