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Interview with a Lender: Tips on Buying Cars

Jenna Taubel

Jenna Taubel About The Author

Oct 12, 2017 7:32:00 AM

So you’ve decided it’s time to buy a car, but where do you start? There is a lot more to buying a car besides the test drive. To help you navigate the car buying process I sat down with two expert auto lenders, Kim and Hayley, to get their advice and tips for how to buy a vehicle.

Expert Tips on Buying Cars from First Alliance Lenders:

Meet Kim and Hayley, two experts when it comes to buying a vehicle!

Kim Ferraro-393811-edited-409884-edited.jpg Hayley Nordsving-255733-edited-282112-edited.jpg
Kim has helped more people with buying a car in the last 9 years than she can count. She bought her first car at 19, it was a Pontiac G6 and she loved it - but her dream car is a street-rod, having grown up with her dad building them! Hayley loves helping people with buying a car because it is such a vital part of everyday life. Her first car purchase was a Saturn SC2, but she dreams of owning a Chevy Silverado someday.

Question #1: What tips would you give to someone looking to save up for a down payment on a car?

Kim said “It takes time to save up money so start sooner rather than later. The best thing you can do is set up a direct deposit from each paycheck for the amount of the payment you think you can afford, into a separate savings account, out of site out of mind. First Alliance actually offers a special savings account just for this purpose.”

Hayley added “Exactly, it all comes down to committing yourself to putting aside a little out of every paycheck to reach your goal. It helps to set specific and measurable goals for yourself when trying to save. For example your goal could be to save $100 a month for 10 months to reach your down payment goal amount of $1,000.”


Question #2: What is the main reason someone doesn’t get approved for a car loan and what do you do to help them move forward?

Hayley said “I usually see a debt-to-income that is too high. What that means for the borrower is that their individual income isn’t high enough to sustain taking on the debt from a loan. The easiest solution to this is to simply add a co-signer to the loan so that their income is counted too.”

Kim said “We will often work with people who have a really low credit score from past credit issues or items in collection. When this happens we usually work with them to get the collection items paid off with a debt consolidation loan, which also usually lowers their payments on those items saving them money overall. Then move from there we usually ask for a co-signer and move forward with the auto loan.”


Question #3: What tips or advice on buying a car would you give to first time car buyers?

Kim said “Don’t get hung up on the purchase price, what is more important is to determine what monthly payment you can afford, and don’t forget to include insurance costs into the total.”

Hayley said “Do your research long before you test drive! I always advise people to take their time to choose the vehicle that is right for them based on their needs for a vehicle so that they will not over extend themselves on a payment.”


Question #4: What does it mean to be pre-approved for a car loan and why is it an important step?

Kim said “Being preapproved means that you are approved for a certain payment amount. It is an important step in the car buying process because you won’t have many places pulling your credit while you’re looking for the right vehicle. Once you find the car you want to purchase, all you have to do is let us know what the VIN and total miles are then we can officially approve the loan with a final interest rate and term.”

Hayley agreed with Kim and added “Getting pre-approved also helps you know what vehicle price range to look in. When you get pre-approved you are essentially given thumbs up to go shopping up for a car up to a certain amount, and as long as the vehicle you choose is within those guidelines you won’t have any trouble closing on the car loan once you choose a vehicle. Pre-approvals are good for 30 days so you have plenty of time to shop around.”


The Wrap-Up

Kim and Hayley definitely shared some great car buying tips with me. The key take-aways from our interview about the car buying process are:

  • Plan ahead for buying a car by saving for a down payment and doing your research
  • Don’t let having past credit issues stop you from getting a new car
  • Get pre-approved before you shop to keep yourself on budget

Still have questions about the car buying process or auto loans? Check out my interview with two more of our expert lenders, Robin and Jess. Plus, check out the recap of my Facebook Live Q&A session with Robin and Hayley were they answered real questions, from real people about the car buying process. 

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