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Financing Options for a First-Time Car Buyer – Here's What to Expect

Financing Options for a First-Time Car Buyer – Here's What to Expect

It’s always exciting to buy a new car, but buying your first car is an especially big deal. It’s a great feeling when you finally drive out of the lot in your very own vehicle, but before you do that, you’ll need to navigate the buying process, which will likely include looking at financing options.

Here’s what you can expect if you’re a first-time car buyer looking to finance a new or used car.

First-Time Buyer Auto Loan Options

For most people, financing a first car involves getting an auto loan from a bank, from a credit union, or through the car dealership. When you’re deciding where to go for your auto loan, one of the first things to investigate is: Does this place offer all the loan services and customization options I need?

Choosing a credit union comes with some pretty great perks that most people aren’t aware of, which can be really helpful when it comes to getting a loan that meets your needs, lifestyle, and financial situation.

What to Expect from a Credit Union Auto Loan

Credit unions, like Valley Credit Union in Salem, OR, offer many of the same financial services as banks, but we’re different from banks in a few key ways:

  • We're a not-for-profit cooperative
  • We're entirely member owned
  • We don’t have stockholders
  • We don’t have large corporate salaries

These differences allow us to offer our members great auto loans with lower interest rates, more flexible payment options, and no hidden fees. Here are a few of the main benefits we offer with our auto loans:

  • Competitive rates
  • Financing up to 100% of Blue Book or purchase price
  • Options for cars, trucks, vans, and classic vehicles
  • Terms up to 84 months
  • No early payoff penalties
  • Payroll deduction payments
  • Auto consultation

First-Time Buyers Should Look for Customizable Loan Options

Multiple Signing Options: If you’re buying your first car, you might have specific needs when it comes to signing for your loan. Maybe you’re making the purchase together with a parent, sibling, or partner. Maybe you have a cosigner to help you qualify for a lower rate. Look for a lender who will work with you to meet your needs and help you get the best deal.

Flexible Payment Options: The best payment option for you will depend on your income, cash flow, savings, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Whether you want to pay off your loan with one big payment each year or small monthly payments, you’ll want to make sure you can set up a plan that works for you. Our payment options include:

  • Automatic transfers (from checking or savings)
  • Cash
  • Military Allotment
  • Payroll Deductions
  • More (we can work together to create a personalized plan that fits your situation)

Interest Rates: What Can First-Time Car Buyers Expect?

Your interest rate will depend on a variety of factors, including your credit history and the lender you choose. Credit unions offer lower interest rates than banks on average. At Valley Credit Union our number one objective is to help you reach your financial and life goals -- including buying your first car! That’s why we pride ourselves on offering the best rates in Salem as well as exceptional customer service for our members.

If you’re worried about your credit, we can talk about your options for getting the lowest rate you can, even without a stellar credit score. For example, some people are able to get a lower rate by having their parents cosign for them. We can also look at different loan term options and other factors that can influence what you pay in interest.

If you’re new to the car buying process, taking advantage of our auto consultation services may also help you get a better deal on your car, and a better deal could mean a smaller loan with fewer interest payments.

Work with a Lender You Trust

As a first-time buyer, you want to make sure you work with someone who has your best interests in mind and who has the expertise to help you get the best loan with the lowest interest rate possible. At Valley Credit Union, we are part of the same Salem community as our members.

  • Everyone is welcome here at Valley
  • We know our members by name -- you’re a person, not a number
  • We always answer the phone
  • We treat you how we would want to be treated
  • We listen to your needs first and create a plan from there

Are you ready to begin your next adventure in your new car?

We’d love to talk to you about financing options. If you’re curious what your interest rate would be, we even offer free rate quotes. Ready to get started? Have more questions? Interested in becoming a Valley Credit Union member?

Call us today, send us a message online, or stop by our office in Salem, Oregon.

About the Author

 Justin Roberts, Vice President of Lending

Justin Roberts is our Vice President of Lending and has been in the financial industry for over 18 years. He is an Oregon State University Graduate and has just completed Western CUNA Management School. When he is not focused on helping the members at Valley, you will find him coaching his two sons and volunteering his time to help develop the youth in our communities through sports.

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