The 4 Best Months to Buy a Car

From Mondays when business is slow to right before closing when salespeople are in a hurry, there’s no shortage of theories about the best time to negotiate the best price on a new car. But what if you’re not a Monday person or you work the swing shift? Here are the four best months to negotiate a new car deal.

May

Memorial Day weekend kicks off the “big sales event” season for car dealers from coast to coast. And of course, the typical Memorial Day sale runs longer than just those three days. If you want to head into summer in a new ride, this is the time to do it.

Also, according to data compiled by TrueCar, Memorial Day weekend is an especially good time to shop for a mid-size SUV.

October, November, and December

Yes, all three of these are good months to go car shopping, but each month for a different reason – and a different type of car.

October is the first month that dealers really become aggressive about clearing out the previous model year. According to TrueCar’s data, buyers in October average nearly 8% savings off MSRP.

October is also a slow month for full-size pickups. With supply high and demand low, it’s an especially good time to deal on that F-150 or Ram 1500. Most pickups don’t change much from year to year, so if you’re willing to accept a truck from the previous model year, you may find yourself with a screaming deal.

Black Friday is supposed to be all about retail. However, in recent years, car dealers have jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon, too. TrueCar data suggests that November is an especially good month to buy midsize and compact cars. However, you’re well-advised to avoid SUVs and crossovers in November. Sure, supply is ample, but so is demand. Dealers are less likely to deal on whatever’s hot at the moment.

By the time December rolls around, car dealers aren’t thinking only about clearing out the previous year’s models; they’re thinking about hitting their annual sales goals, too. The big push is on to close deals. If you’re in the market for an SUV, TrueCar’s data indicates that waiting until December will pay off. Regardless of what vehicle you’re looking for, keep this in mind: While you may get a great deal on the previous model year, by December your choices will likely be very limited.

Bonus: New Year’s Day

Why would you go car shopping after the end of the year? Isn’t it already too late? Haven’t the dealers already reset for the start of the new year? It may surprise you to learn that the car dealer year actually ends on January 2. This gives dealers one final holiday to clear out inventory and make sales quotas. It’s literally their last chance to sell you a vehicle during the current year, so you’re really in the driver’s seat, so to speak.

Limit your car shopping to the months (and holiday) described here, and you’re sure to save some serious dollars!

If you need help financing, First Financial has you covered with low rates, personalized service, same-day approval decisions and electronic closings! Learn more here, and apply online 24/7.*

Article Source: CUInsight.com

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. See credit union for details. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Federally insured by NCUA.

 

Could Your New Vehicle Have Been Impacted By Flood Damage?

Can regional floods impact car owners across the country?

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey unleased a wave of historic destruction on Houston, Texas and surrounding areas. Just weeks later in September, Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean islands before zeroing in on the state of Florida, leaving a statewide path of destruction in its wake. All in all, the damage of these two storms is estimated at more than $290 billion, according to Money.com.

After the flood waters receded and the magnitude of the loss became apparent—so did the shady tactics of opportunists. Across the country, a growing number of flood-damaged cars are being listed for sale as pre-owned vehicles in other states, and all too often, signs of that damage can be difficult to spot with a quick visual inspection.

Flood damage should show up on the car title, right?

In conventional situations, flood damage would be listed on an automobile’s state title, and the red flag would be waving. However, as a result of the staggering number of cars impacted by the hurricanes, many state offices are encountering a gridlock-inducing backlog of work. What does this mean to an average consumer? Unfortunately, it means some flood-damaged cars are being auctioned off and shipped all over the country before the title reflects the defects—leaving the new owner holding a “flood title” when the records are finally updated.

Short of becoming an expert in the mechanical and cosmetic indicators of flood damage, how can prospective buyers safeguard themselves? Obtaining a thorough vehicle history report is a solid start that offers a quick and easy way to spot trouble.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

To apply the old proverb to the car-buying process, spending a few dollars on a vehicle history report can save hours of headaches and thousands of dollars in the long run. With the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) providing free VIN checks and reputable companies like Carfax and AutoCheck offering reliable reports for reasonable prices, buying a used vehicle without gathering all the facts is an unnecessarily risky proposition. And with the recent catastrophes that swept across the South, it’s more important than ever for consumers to have all the facts possible before making a purchase decision.

If you’re looking to buy a used vehicle and need assistance doing your research, contact our Loan Department today at 732.312.1500, Option 4. We can help make sure your new-to-you ride wasn’t involved in any of this year’s hurricanes and also provide you with low rate financing on it!* Get started here.

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. See credit union for details. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Federally insured by NCUA.

 

 

5 Reasons Buying Out Your Lease Makes Good Sense

With the end of your auto lease just around the corner, you’ve got some decisions to make. But before you start stressing about your current mileage or scratches on the bumper, you may want to think about buying out your lease. Would it make more sense to keep your car instead of turning it back in like you originally planned? In many cases, yes.

There are numerous benefits to buying out your lease—but first, a word of caution: Traditionally, dealerships have taken a hands-off approach to the buyout process, allowing consumers to deal directly with the corporate finance department or the leasing company. However, optional insurance and warranty products have given dealers an opportunity to increase their profits by facilitating the buyout process and including add-ons. These extras can come with a steep markup, making the final price more expensive than it should be.

Before agreeing to any buyout terms, it’s important to remember a credit union can routinely offer lease buyouts with lower rates and convenient payment terms. It’s worth your time—and potentially a lot of money—to get details on the financing options available.

Still wondering whether a lease buyout is right for you? Here are five points to consider:

  • Ownership has its advantages.
    Let’s be honest—the peace of mind that comes from not worrying about mileage overages and wear-and-tear penalties is a big deal. When you own the car outright, you no longer have to feel that growing sense of dread commonly associated with the end of a lease term.
  • Car shopping is a hassle.
    You’ve already gone through the frustrating highs and lows of car shopping. Why do it again? You probably selected your car after a thorough process of weighing pros and cons. If it was the right car for you then, there’s a good chance it’s still the right car for you now.
  • Better the used car you know (than the used car you don’t).
    This may seem obvious, but you’re already familiar with your car. If you had to start shopping for a different used car, there would be questions about how the previous owner cared for it. If you buy out your lease, you ARE the car’s previous owner. There are no unanswered questions about the car’s maintenance history or other people’s driving habits.
  • No more guessing games.
    At their core, auto leases are all about variables. A car’s market value ebbs and flows based on supply and demand. Lease rates may be higher the next time you come to the end of a term. By opting for lease buyout loan, you can lock in a great interest rate and a convenient payment plan for the life of your loan.
  • You have more leverage than you realize.
    Have you ever thought about what happens when you turn your car back in at the end of your lease? The leasing company is left with a used car, and they’re not in the used car sales business. In many instances, they would rather negotiate a good buyout price with you than go through the trouble of selling the car at auction or to a dealer.

Ready to look into a lease buyout?

You can fill out an online application here, learn more on our website, or call the Loan Department at 732.312.1500, Option 4.

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. See credit union for details. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Federally insured by NCUA

Don’t Get Scammed into Paying for Vehicle VIN Etching

Several weeks after purchasing a pre-owned car, the buyer noticed a charge of $398 that he didn’t recognize. It was labeled as Protection Plus Etch in his sales agreement. He made a quick call to the car dealership and confirmed that he’d been charged for glass etching. Wait, what? “Etching” is a security add-on where a unique code or vehicle identification number (VIN), is etched into the vehicle’s windows.

“The add-on will help identify the car if it was ever stolen and could even lead to discounts on auto-insurance,” the dealer assured him. The gentleman was certain he’d not been told about this service at the time of sale. Worse, when he checked with his insurance company they said that they offered no such discount.

To be clear, etching vehicle windows is not an outright scam, but the practice is of questionable value. There’s a good chance that your insurance company does not offer discounts for window etching on your vehicle, or if they do – that it’s not a substantial amount.

Still think there’s some value in this procedure? Don’t pay a few hundred dollars to the dealership for something that you can do with an $18 kit from Amazon.

If you recently purchased a vehicle, go back and check your sales receipt. Did you unknowingly pay for such a service? The dealer will claim that their etching comes with an insurance policy that will cover a certain amount should your car be stolen and not recovered within a certain amount of time (usually 30 days). Ask to see the details of this policy. If the dealer cannot produce the policy details, demand a refund.

Wondering what else you might have paid too much for? First Financial offers a free review of your deal to see if you are eligible to receive a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment. Some members have saved hundreds, even thousands of dollars in interest by taking a few moments to do this.* Fill out the form below to schedule a free in-person or over-the-phone appointment, to see how much you may be able to save!

Fill out this form to see if we can save you money!

Learn more about First Financial Auto Loans, our Lease Buyout Program, or apply online 24/7.

*Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. First Financial FCU maintains the right to not extend credit, after you respond, if we determine you do not meet our guidelines for creditworthiness. Current loans financed with First Financial FCU are not eligible for review or refinance. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a Base Savings Account is required to establish membership. Federally insured by NCUA. 

The Pros and Cons of Leasing a Vehicle

Have you ever thought about leasing your next car? If the thought has crossed your mind, here are a few pros and cons of leasing a car.

Pro: Lower monthly payments
Generally, lease payments are lower than car payments and if you’re used to having a payment, this probably sounds great to you.

Con: No equity
When you sign a lease, you’ll have to make payments over a defined period of time. When that time is up, the car goes back to the dealer. At this point, you’ll have a decision to make. You can either enter into a new lease or you’ll have to buy the car.

Pro: Repairs are usually covered
Since you’ll only have a leased car for a handful of years, it will more than likely be covered by a factory warranty. This will save you from having to shell out big bucks for repairs while you have the car.

Con: Mileage limit
How many miles do you drive each year? If you drive over 10-12k miles a year, you’ll probably face some sort of penalty fee at the end of your lease term. Be mindful of this, because those extra miles can really add up.

Pro: A new car every few years
If you’re serial leaser, you probably love driving a new car. This is a definite advantage of leasing over buying. Buying and selling cars can be a hassle, so if you love driving new cars, leasing can be a great option for you.

Con: Fees for damages
When you turn in your car at the end of your lease term, the dealership is going to want to sell it. If there are any dents or scratches to be repaired, you may want to get them taken care of before you turn in the car. A little ding in the door isn’t a big deal if it’s your car, but with a lease, you’ll probably have to pay a fee to get it repaired.

Leasing isn’t for everyone. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to leasing vehicles. Do your homework and decide what is the best option for you.

Have you leased a vehicle and you’ve gone over your miles or excessive wear and tear? First Financial can help you buy out your lease and help you save! With our Lease Buy Out Program, you aren’t stuck with a big lump sum payment. We’ll help you keep that car you love.* Get started today.

*Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Not all applicants will yield savings examples advertised. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. See credit union for details.  A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties NJ. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Federally insured by NCUA.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

 

4 Tips to Make Car Buying Easier

If you want to save yourself time, money, and a few headaches when purchasing a vehicle – be sure to follow these steps.

Do your homework.

The last thing you want to do is show up unprepared. Sure, you may find a car you like by walking around the lot, but that can backfire. Study up, look at as many different makes and models as you can online first, and try to be sure you’re getting the car that satisfies your heart and your wallet.

Know before you go: Check out our YouTube video on buying a car in 5 easy steps.

Use your credit union.

Once you know which car you want to purchase, head to your local credit union and find out what kind interest rate you can get on a loan. With this knowledge, you’re now ready to go to the dealership and make a deal.

If you’re in the market for a new or used vehicle, stop by First Financial and apply for an Auto Loan with us! We have the same great low rates whether you plan on purchasing a new or used vehicle.* To apply, click here for our online application or stop into any branch location.

Shop on a Tuesday.

Car dealerships are usually busier on the weekends. By shopping in the middle of the week, you’re going to get more attention and better service. This may not necessarily translate to a lower price, but it will definitely speed up the process and make it easier to get done.

Remember you’re not buying a cheeseburger.

When you have a craving for a Five Guys cheeseburger, you go to your nearest Five Guys and you eat a cheeseburger. It wouldn’t make sense to drive one town over for the same cheeseburger at roughly the same price. With a car, things are different. There are a lot of factors (including the salesperson you deal with) that can determine the price you’re going to pay, so driving 20 minutes to a neighboring dealership may be worth your time and money.

If you are a First Financial member, be sure to visit our Preferred Dealerships. The right car and offer is out there for you!

*Subject to credit approval. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com