Car Buying Checklist

From securing financing, to choosing the right vehicle and visiting a dealership, car buying can be a very exciting and stressful process. However, with a little effort, and the checklist below, you can create a plan which will help make your next vehicle purchase a much happier experience.

Set a Budget

Take a look at your finances to see what funds you have available. Will you trade-in your current vehicle or do you have money set aside for a down payment? The price of the vehicle extends beyond the sticker price. Don’t forget to calculate insurance, gas and maintenance costs too. Calculate how much car you can afford to find the price range that best fits your budget. Once you know how much per month you have for buying and operating a car, it’s time to find a car that fits that number.

Get Pre-Approved

Dealers are notorious for trying to focus your attention on the monthly payment (is it a payment you can afford?). That’s why having your auto loan pre-approved improves your chances of negotiating on what really matters: your new auto’s price. When you have a pre-approved auto loan, your monthly payment is none of the dealer’s business – so there are no games to play. You and your lender have already agreed to something, and the dealer just needs to decide if you’re offering enough for them to let go of the car.

Research

No one wants to overpay for a car, but you need context to know you’re getting a good price. Free programs, like Apple’s Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar®, makes it easy to access unlimited price and market reports, compare car features, see pictures, read reviews and check your trade-in value. You can also review the TrueCar Price Curve to see the average other shoppers have paid for the car you want, learn what you should be paying and discover what you could save off the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).

Purchase

Once your loan is pre-approved and you’re ready to make an offer, it’s important to find a trusted dealer. “You know what you can afford and you have found a couple of cars that fit into your budget. Don’t allow a salesperson to push you into something else”, says Russ Heaps from Autotrader.com. “Keep your monthly budget amount to yourself. The salesperson doesn’t need to know it. Your goal is to find the right car and then negotiate down the purchase price. Don’t muddy the water by revealing what you can afford to pay per month.”

 

To more easily navigate the car buying process, use the checklist below. And remember, the folks at Apple FCU are always happy to help. With low-rate Auto Loans and Apple’s Car Buying Service we’re sure you’ll find the car you want, a price you can afford and enjoy a hassle-free buying experience.

Best of luck with your car shopping experience and happy hunting!

SmartCarBuyingCheckllist

How to Properly Handle
a Car Accident

On average, 1 out of 26 licensed drivers are involved in a crash every day, according to the Virginia Highway Safety Office 2013 VA Traffic Crash Facts. Preparing and understanding how to handle a car accident ahead of time will help you act appropriately if the real thing happens. Read more about the steps you should take when an accident occurs:

  1. Stop. As soon as it’s safe to do so, move your car to a safe area away from traffic or put your hazard lights on to warn other drivers.
  2. Call 911 and/or the Police. If anyone is injured call 911. However, it’s good to have an officer at the scene whether anyone is hurt or not.
  3. Collect the other driver’s information. Gather information and write it down while the incident is still fresh in your mind, and in the minds of others. The information you should have are the names of the driver and passenger, the license plate number, insurance information, the make and model of the car, contact information, and the location of the accident.
  4. Take pictures of the scene and the accident with any kind of camera you have at the time.
  5. Contact your insurance to file a claim.

Apple Financial Services LLC can help keep your car as safe as possible with an affordable auto insurance policy. We take the time to assess our clients and understand their needs to find the right insurance coverage. Contact us for a no cost, no obligation Auto Insurance rate quote today.

Quick Tips for Buying your First Car

Buying a car is typically an inevitable purchase many of us have to make at some point in our life. New car excitement; unfortunately, is often balanced with the dread and stress of loans and dealerships.

There’s good news.

With a little prep work you can nearly eliminate the uncertainty you feel. Here are a few tips to help you lessen your stress, pay what you can afford, get the best deal and fall in love with your new set of wheels.

Find out what you can pay each month.

Take a look at your cost-of-living. Calculate what you spend on rent, food, insurance and what you would like to have in the way of “fun money.” What can you afford to pay for a car each month? This will include not only the car payment, but the insurance cost as well. Next, determine how long you want to make payments. Loan terms can be spread out from 36 to 72-months depending on how much money you put on the down payment, how much you are financing and what you can afford.

Figure out your cost of ownership.

Loan payments, insurance costs, gas, oil changes, maintenance costs and taxes should all be considered when calculating your monthly cost commitment. When you have better knowledge of where your money is going, you keep from being surprised in the long run.

Get pre-approved for your loan.

Don’t waste your time looking at cars you can’t afford. With a pre-approval you can focus on options within your price range.
Research your options. Keep an open mind. You may have your heart set on a $35,000 vehicle, but you can only afford to spend $10,000. Consider new and pre-owned options within your price range. Test drive several vehicles before you buy. You and your car will have a long relationship, you want to make sure it’s the right fit.

Get the negotiations out of the way.

You may hear conversations about how sitting through your first car deal can be daunting. Well, buying a car just got easier. There are free car buying services that allow you to shop online and avoid all the dealership negotiations and haggling ? often saving you money in the process. Simply, choose your make and model, pick the color, options/specifications and view all of the available incentives. The process is similar for used cars too. After you have decided on the car you are interested in, you get a certificate showing you the guaranteed price from a certified dealer. This includes the TrueCar® Price Curve which shows others have paid for the same vehicle. This information will help ensure you are getting a great deal.

Go finalize the deal.

At the dealership always review your contract details. Before signing, make sure you are comfortable with the terms. Ask the dealer to remove any add-on fees that you did not agree to.

Follow these steps and you will feel an overwhelming sense of pride knowing that you made smart choices, got the deal you deserve and did it completely on your own. Good luck.