Buying your first truck is very exciting (who doesn’t remember their first truck?), but it can also be confusing. We want you to feel confident and prepared when you walk into the dealership, so we’ve put together a short guide explaining what you need to know as a first time buyer.
Here are our top tips for first time car buyers:
1. Build up some credit. If you’re thinking about getting your first truck, now is the time to get a low-limit credit card. Use that card to make necessary, smaller purchases, like gas, and then pay it off every month. That way, you can start to establish a good credit rating with that line of credit, which will help you get you approved for a larger loan.
2. Think about potential co-signers. If it’s your first time financing a vehicle, you may need someone to co-sign (agree to co-accept responsibility for the loan) for your first car loan. A spouse with established credit can be a great option, as can a parent, or anyone else who has good vehicle credit or a mortgage. It’s important to have these conversations early on the process, though, so the truck you want doesn’t get sold while you’re trying to find a co-signer!
3. Have a little time on the job. Does having a short time on the job mean you can’t get a loan? No! Banks take many factors into account when deciding to approve someone. However, having been at the same job for two or more years will help a bank see you as a strong candidate.
4. Save up for a down payment. If you’re purchasing a first truck, you’ll need a down payment. Saving at least 20% for a truck not only helps you get lower monthly payments than financing the entire purchase, but it can help show the banks that you’re responsible enough to manage a larger loan. That 20% helps cover the title, tag, dealer and other fees that the bank doesn’t want to finance.
You can also watch our tips for buying your first vehicle!
5. Know what vehicles to look for. As a first time buyer, you may think a bank will be more likely to finance you on an older truck with high mileage. The opposite is actually true! Ideally, you want a truck that’s 8 years old or newer, with less than 80,000 miles on it. If the vehicle is too old, the bank will be concerned you may not be able to handle both repairs and your loan payment. You’ll actually have a better time getting financed on a newer truck!
6. Prioritize your wants. With your first truck, you may not be able to get all the upgrades you want straight out of the gate (banks will be hesitant to finance them). However, if you buy a truck at Kelley Lakeland, you can bring your truck in to our Kelley’s Customs shop, and buy your upgrades as you go! Also, once you’re ready for your second truck, we know the value of those upgrades and can take that into account when appraising your trade.
Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to complete every one of these steps in order to buy a truck. We just want to put you in the most optimal situation to both get approved for a loan, and walk away satisfied with your purchase. If you have questions, feel free to call our Finance Director Valden at (863) 225-9650. He’ll be happy to answer your questions!
And now that you better understand the process of buying a car, don’t forget the most important tip of all: enjoy the ride! You’ll never have another first truck!