I’ve been looking for a new car on and off for a bit now and about two weeks ago, I realized that I was more likely to get a loan approval with good terms if I did it before I moved than after. (I’ve lived in my current place for 3 years which looks good on paper for the credit scoring game.) This meant that I had a grand total of about 6 weeks to find a car I wanted, negotiate and secure financing…
(And pack and work and have some sort of life…no pressure.)
Here’s the thing: I hate car shopping. There’s too much “guessing” involved. I want to know how much I can spend and go from there. I want to know what they’ll give me upfront for my car and how much money I have to work with before I find a car I love. Too bad that’s not always how it works.
(See, I know that I’ll be sad if I had to “settle” on a car I liked when there was one I loved out there.)
So Wednesday, I called my credit union to talk about a car loan and see how much I could borrow with what I could afford to pay every month. This was a pretty painless process and I even got preapproval contingent on providing documentation that one of the items on my credit report was incorrect. (A topic for a different post.)
Now I had a number to work with and this considerably cut my anxiety level. I also had general parameters for what I wanted in my new(er) car. I wanted low mileage, good gas mileage and reviews, decently low maintenance costs, power windows and locks, and an AUX jack for my iPod.
I started poking around local car dealership web sites and found a few that I wanted to test drive. An ’09 Ford Focus, an ’08 Nissan Sentra and an ’08 Toyota Corolla. Basically I was looking at the same car from different companies. It would come down to which dealership could work with me best.
First, (and it turned out only) I drove a ’08 Nissan Sentra – I’ve already owned 2 and loved both of them. When we got back to the dealership we talked numbers…And oddly, we found a number that we could agree on! (The whole time I was willing to walk away and I think that was helpful.)
To make a long story shorter, I finished the paperwork, picked up my car and was on my way on Saturday.
It still doesn’t feel real that I got approved for a loan, found and negotiated a price for a car all by my self. I was sure that with my credit score, they’d never say yes to a loan by my self, that the dealership would never offer me enough for a trade in to even try and that something would horribly go wrong.
But there I am, driving my new(er) car out of the lot.
I DID IT!!! I’m so flippin’ proud of myself, it’s not even funny…
What are you most proud of yourself for currently?