Getting a Loan
From financing a car or a college education, to buying a new home or fixing up an old one, at some point in your life you'll probably need to take out a loan.
Check your credit
Before you apply for any type of loan, the first thing you should do is check your credit. Not only will this determine whether you get the loan, but your credit rating will decide what interest rate you'll pay. Here is a quick checklist of what lenders are looking for:
- Timely bill payment. A history of on-time payments demonstrates that you're a good credit risk.
- Reasonable debts. Your non-mortgage debt should not exceed 10 to 15 percent of your take-home pay each month.
- Unnecessary inquiries. A large number of inquiries at one time may signal that you're applying for more credit than you can handle.
- Unused credit. Available credit means you may overextend your finances.
The golden rule of financing your car - new or used - is to be prepared. Here are a few things to consider when you take out an auto loan:
- The APR. The Annual Percentage Rate is the best way to know what interest rate you're paying.
- Price. Research the invoice price and the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). Then get ready to bargain.
- Your old car. Arrange a trade-in first; then discuss price on your new vehicle.
Buying a home is one of the most solid investments you can make. A qualified mortgage broker can help you choose the best mortgage for you.
- Fixed-rate loans. Have a stated interest rate that does not change over the life of the loan
- Adjustable rate loans. Are linked to an index and change as the index rate changes.
- Points. Can lower your interest rate. One point is equal to one percent of your loan.
Home equity loans
If the value of your home has appreciated, you may qualify for a home equity loan. Home equity loans can be used for:
- Debt consolidation. You can save money with low interest rates and tax deductible interest.
- Home improvements. You can use an equity loan, or line of credit, to remodel and increase the value of your home.
- Education. For your children's education or for your own second degree.
- Emergency funds. A home equity loan can be used for personal use during hard times.
Whether you're looking for an immediate purchase or a big-ticket item, there's a loan that's right for you.