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Car Buying Made Easy

Mindy Brouwer, our VP of consumer lending, joined us on our Podcast to discuss everything you need to know about car buying!

Listen to the full episode on Spotify or iTunes. Make sure to follow us to be the first to know when we post a new podcast!

How Do You Know When Looking to Buy a Car How Much You Can Afford?

The monthly payment is a big deal, that’s probably what people think of first. But, along with the monthly payment, think about other expenses that you might have in owning a car. Some of these would include your full coverage insurance costs, savings for something unexpected, and maintenance. You also want to think of what kind of costs, in general, is associated with having a car. For example, if you’re someone that’s maybe an inexperienced or young driver, you might have a higher insurance rate than someone that’s been driving for a long time. Your driving record also affects your insurance rates. Don’t only think about that monthly vehicle payment, but also about the extra things that might come along with it.

How Much Should I Pay for a New or Used Vehicle?

It’s a really great idea to just do your research. When you’re thinking about how much you should pay for a used or a new vehicle, there’s a couple of tips that I would give.

  1. The internet makes car buying a much different process than it was years ago. The great thing is there are a lot of tools available to do that. If you’re looking at a new vehicle, start by checking around the franchise dealerships that are selling the make and model that you’re most interested in. Call and talk with a salesperson and ask them if there are any rebates or discounts on the particular model that you’re looking at purchasing. 
  2. Use pricing guides online such as Kelly Blue Book or These websites will give you some good guidance on what to expect to pay for new or used vehicles.
  3. Another smart thing would be to compare pricing on used vehicles, from different dealerships through online auto sales websites. We specifically have one on our website that gives you some inventory with lists for our preferred dealerships that we work with.
  4.  Doing a search on the internet for used car pricing is a great way to determine whether vehicles that you’re looking at are in a good price range, compared to the market.


Is There a Way to Find out How Much My Current Car is Worth Before I Start The Buying Process? 

First, start by deciding if you are going to be trading in your vehicle at the dealership or selling it privately yourself. If you’re trading it in, the dealership that you’re working with is ultimately the one that’s going to tell you how much your car is worth. By looking through NADA or Kelly Blue Book, you can gain a general idea of what you think your car should be worth.

If you’re selling it privately, websites such as Kelly blue book will actually give you a private sale value, and a lot of times it is going to be higher than what the trade-in value is. Remember when you’re trading in, you’re paying for convenience. You don’t have to make phone calls or deal with people. There’s a lot of things with trading that make it more convenient, but you are going to have to take a lower price for it than if you sold it privately.

What Services Do We at Voyage Offer When Buying a Car?

It’s a great idea to call the credit union first, that way you can walk into the dealership with confidence. If you call the credit union and talk with a loan officer, you’re going to get answers to all these questions. You will be able to find out how much you can afford, what your trade-in value is worth, what your interest rate will be, and what your loan is going to look like. They will also get into some protection options for you to ensure you are confident in your decision. That way when you head out to the dealership with a car or budget in mind, you have that peace of mind of knowing that you’ve got all of the finance pieces taken care of, and you can just negotiate on the price of the car. 

Are There Different Financing Options for New Cars Versus Used Cars? 

That’s a complicated question because a lot of lenders’ rate sheets are a little bit complicated. Typically the newer the vehicle, the better your loan terms are. Your interest rate might be better, and the length of financing might be better. At the credit union, we actually offer new car rates for models back in 2017. It just depends a little bit on each lender. It is best to just do your research ahead of time to know what to expect.


When I Find a Car, How Do I Finance it With The Credit Union?

If you’ve done any work with the credit union prior, you should have pre-approval. If you haven’t worked with the credit union prior that’s no problem, you can just give us a call as soon as you make that decision and we will work with you pretty quickly to get the loan approved. There are lots of options as far as signing your loan documents and contracts.

If you’re working with one of our preferred dealers around Sioux falls, you can actually do your paperwork right there at their office. You can do any of these things at any of our branches, as well as signing your documents electronically or through email with your loans.

If Buying Used, Should You Be Concerned About the Reliability of the Car? 

When you’re buying any car, there are thousands of moving parts both mechanically and electronically. It’s safe to say that new or used, you’re probably going to experience some required maintenance. The thing about used vehicles is they’ve been on the road longer, they’ve been used, and they’ve got more miles. If it’s something that you’re concerned about, I would suggest looking into doing an extended warranty. Another great idea is to have a mechanic who is independent of the dealership take a look at the vehicle for you. They can give you an idea of how things underneath the vehicle are looking. Don’t be scared of buying a used vehicle because of reliability issues. There’s a lot of things you can do including maintenance plans and warranties. Overall you have to expect when you’re buying a vehicle, you’re going to face some repair and maintenance. 

Will Maintenance Be Easier With a New Car?

The nice thing about buying something brand new is you’ve got that manufacturer’s warranty right out of the gate. If you have bumper to bumper, they’re covering everything but maintenance issues. Keep in mind that a lot of really great warranties are sold on used vehicles and they come with a lot of the same type of coverage, such as bumper to bumper. The main thing is to stay on budget. We will discuss what you are looking to spend every month on a vehicle payment, and that might help you better decide. 

Is the First Step to Contact The Credit Union and Talk With the Loan Officer?

Yes, the first step would be to talk with a loan officer. You could certainly give us a call and talk with someone but we also have an online loan application that’s up 24 seven. Start with the loan application, if there is a loan officer that you’d like to take a look at the application, we can arrange that at their next available time.

If you would like to learn more about Voyage Federal Credit Union or how to become a member you can check out our website. For any questions, you can call us at 6053382533 or you can send us a message.