Car Buying Made Easier

Whether you were a little boy pushing matchbox cars around the living room or a little girl making sure Barbie got where she was going in her convertible, you probably grew up dreaming to have a nice set of wheels of your own someday.

Buying a car is a major decision. The many choices, costs, and fact that it's not something you do every day make car buying a daunting task. Here are some car buying tips to help.

Search for a car that's right for you

First, ask yourself some questions to narrow down your vehicle choices. How many people will you transport? Do you need a truck for hauling or a car for highway driving? What kind of gas mileage do you want? Features, options and even color are important to consider at this point.

Focusing on what you need rather than what you want will probably help keep the cost down.

Use the Internet

The Internet has a wealth of automobile information and even makes it possible to buy cars online. If you're concerned that a car purchase is too large to make online, feel free to test drive, buy and sign the papers in person. However, you should use the Internet for research beforehand. Compare features, options and prices online versus going from one dealer to the next.

Search for a car you can afford

Don't forget your car payment won't be your only expense. Insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, batteries and other maintenance will add to your bill; not to mention accidents or unforeseen repairs. Your combined transportation costs should not consume more than 25% of your income.

There are many auto financing and payment options. You should be able to put enough money down or make payments to pay off the loan within four years. Otherwise, the car you purchase may depreciate until you owe more than it's worth.

Know your credit history

Before lenders will finance your car, they'll want to be sure you have a history of paying your bills on time. They'll do this is by checking your credit report and credit score.

Your credit history can affect your interest rate or prevent you from getting a loan altogether. Review your credit report before you shop for a car loan so you have time to fix any errors or take action to improve your credit.

By law, everyone is entitled to receive one free credit report per year from each of the three reporting agencies. We recommend accessing your free reports from

Negotiate price

Shop around and check online to get a good idea of the price of the car you want to buy. Sellers will be more likely to negotiate if you find a lower price somewhere else.

Negotiate as if you don't have a trade-in and are paying cash. This will help ensure clarity in the price negotiations, and you can always discuss trade-in value and financing terms later.

Be aware of any rebates or factory to dealer incentives that the seller could pass along to you. Again, the Internet is a good place to look for available incentives.

Decide whether you want to trade in or sell

If you already have a car, decide whether to trade it in on your new car or sell it yourself. There are pros and cons to both.

Trading in will likely be less hassle and can reduce the taxable sale value of your new car. However, you most likely will not get the best value for your car on a trade-in.

You'll more likely get a better price for your car by selling. You can use resources like Kelley Blue Book or online classifieds to find comparable used car prices. The downside of selling is that you may need to pay for advertising and insurance during the sales process. You must decide if your effort is worth the reward.

Find the right financing offer

Starion Financial has consumer auto loans and will help you find terms that are right for you. Use the financial calculators at to estimate your monthly payment. You can also prequalify, which will save you a lot of time and stress. You'll walk into the dealership with your financing in place, so you can focus on negotiating the best purchase price. When you find the car of your dreams, we can have your paperwork ready that day!

Starion Financial auto loans come with other conveniences like online banking, which enables you to see your loan balance and make payments 24 hours a day, or schedule automatic payments.

Contact your closest Starion Financial location for more information about auto loans and other financing options.