Person receiving the keys to their new car

Everything You Need to Purchase Your Next Vehicle

Tagged as: Everything Auto
Buying a new vehicle is exciting, but also can be a big decision. Being thoroughly prepared helps get you a good deal on the car you want at a price that fits your budget. Here’s a look at everything you need to purchase your next vehicle:

Good Credit

Strong credit is important if you’re considering taking out a loan to buy your next vehicle. Although you might be able to get a loan with average credit, the better your score the better your rate will be.
As a 1st United member, you get your credit score for free.
If your credit score is poor or average, try to improve it well in advance of your car-buying excursion by paying bills on time and paying down existing debt. If you don’t have a credit score yet, credit-building options include taking out a share secured loan or using a low-limit credit card and paying off your balance in full and on time each month.

A Down Payment

The less you borrow, the less your monthly payments will be and the less interest you’ll pay over the lifetime of the loan. Many car buyers save for a larger down payment so they won’t need to borrow as much. You might also consider trading in your old car and using what the dealer pays you to add to your down payment, although trade-ins sometimes don’t net as much as you might hope.


If you plan to apply for a car loan, we can pre-approve you before you start shopping. A pre-approval lets you focus on finding your ideal vehicle instead of worrying about how you’re going to pay for it.

Getting pre-approved also relieves some pressure from the sales process. If a salesperson tries to pitch the dealer’s financing, you can decline and let them know that you’re pre-approved with 1st United Credit Union. Of course, a dealer might offer a financing promotion that’s too good to pass up. In that case, you’re not obligated to use your pre-approval, but it’s good to know you have choices.


In the excitement of the car-buying process, make sure to keep track of the true costs of your investment. This includes not only your monthly payment (principal plus interest), but also gas, maintenance, insurance, and all the other costs that come with owning a car. Don’t hesitate to pause to calculate payments and other costs while at the dealership before making a decision.

Dealers could offer a promotion, giving you a choice between a low interest rate or a cash rebate. Sometimes when you’re offered these options on the spot, you might feel pressured and could end up picking the more expensive option without realizing it. We have a mobile-friendly calculator that helps you do the math and points you toward the better choice.

Auto Payments That Fit Your Budget


So much affects the cost of a vehicle, your monthly payments if you take out a loan, and the total cost of ownership. For example, advanced safety features that are now optional on many cars not only cost more at the time of purchase but also are expensive to repair. You may want those safety features, but you need to understand what that will mean to your budget.

You should learn everything you can about manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs), standard and optional features, and what other dealers might be offering for vehicles you’re considering. The more you know, the better the chance you’ll get the lowest price for the vehicle you want.

A Plan

Not every car buyer knows exactly what they want when they start shopping for their next vehicle. That’s okay, but having a solid plan for which kind of car you want, how much you’re willing to spend, and what’s a good deal will benefit you. Car shopping can be stressful. If you’ve planned well, you’ll be confident in your ability to handle that stress and make a deal that’s best for you.

You don’t have to face this process alone. Getting pre-approved for our Credit Union car loan is a great step toward buying your ideal vehicle. Apply online or contact us for more information. And if you need help finding that right car, consider our Autoland car-buying service – their experts do the work for you.

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