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While filing for bankruptcy can turn out to be a blessing in disguise, you may feel uncertain about every financial decision you make afterward. After all, you don’t want to wind up right back where you were financially before you filed for bankruptcy in the first place. Having a guide can prove instrumental, and having a reliable set of wheels can also help you get back on financial track in regards to having a way to get back and forth to work. Here are a few tips on buying a car after bankruptcy.

Boost Your Credit

Your credit score may have taken a hit as a result of your bankruptcy. Because you’ll likely have to take out a loan to help pay for your car, it’s best to do everything you can to boost your credit score before applying for an auto loan. Take another look at your credit report to ensure there aren’t discrepancies or outdated details after your bankruptcy. The better your credit score, the easier time you’ll have being approved for a loan, and the lower your interest rate will be.

Get Pre-Owned Rather Than Brand New

As you’re exploring ways to get a car after bankruptcy, you’ll be much better off checking out certified pre-owned or used cars rather than brand new cars. This is because brand new cars lose thousands of dollars in value the moment you drive them off the dealership lot. While used cars still depreciate, the car’s previous owner took the biggest hit of that depreciation. Certified pre-owned cars are often inspected by professional mechanics to ensure they’re safe to drive, and you’re likely to be able to find a model that still has its warranty.

Lower Your Interest Rate

Even if you manage to score a decent interest rate as someone who just filed for bankruptcy, see what you can do about lowering that rate even more. This means gathering a larger down payment so you don’t have to borrow as much. If one of your friends or family members has great credit and a willingness to cosign on your loan, you can explore that option. Just make sure this person understands the risk she or he takes should you default on the loan, and make sure you’re prepared to take on this responsibility.

Another step you can take to avoid paying more interest than necessary is looking over the loan agreement for hidden fees. Unfortunately, some lenders like to take advantage of those who have bad credit and are in dire financial straits. Look over the loan agreement carefully, and be sure to ask questions about anything you don’t understand or that seems predatory. Don’t be afraid to walk away if anything seems off. Remember, the future of your financial health is at stake here.

Make Your Payments Early

Once you’ve found a car you like and loan terms you’re comfortable with, you aren’t done yet. Rather than make your payments on time, make them early, if possible. This gives you just as much peace of mind as it gives lenders because that’s one less thing you both have to worry about. By making late payments, you not only have to worry about wasting money on late fees, but you also risk your car being repossessed.

Also, on-time and early payments help rebuild your credit. After a few years into your loan, your boosted credit score and history of on-time payments can help lower your interest rate should you decide to refinance your auto loan.

Rather than approach buying a new car after bankruptcy with apprehension, it’s better to approach the process from a well-informed viewpoint. Keep these tips in mind, and do everything you can to save as much as possible while regaining your financial footing.