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Buying a new vehicle can be a stressful experience, and the stress will only increase for people who don't bring along the right paperwork and information. We did some research and found exactly what's need to ensure you never find yourself in this situation.
The following checklist includes everything needed to buy a car from a dealership. These seven items should be gathered and organized before entering the dealership lot:
- Proof of insurance
- Your driver's license
- Form of payment
- Credit history and score
- Recent pay stubs
- An organized list of references
- Discount information
Listing them out might be a little confusing to a first-time buyer. We intend to solve this issue below by explaining each one in more detail. As a result, you shouldn't have any problems entering a dealership and buying the perfect vehicle.
1. Proof of Insurance
One of the first things needed before putting keys in your new car's ignition is proof of insurance. Car insurance is a requirement in most states for anyone driving a car. You can speed up the car buying process and avoid trouble at the dealership by calling your insurance agent beforehand.
We suggest asking the agent how you can prepare to add a new vehicle and remove an old one from your policy. You must bring current proof of insurance to the dealership as well.
2. Your Driver's License
The most obvious item to bring is your driver's license. Honestly, it should be on your person at all times, but it's a crucial part of this process. The dealership needs to confirm that each buyer is a licensed driver before selling and watching them drive off with a brand new car. Make sure to check your license is valid and not expired before entering the dealership.
3. Form Of Payment
It doesn't matter whether you're paying using a loan, cash, or check; you must have it ready. Buyers planning on getting a loan with the dealership should expect to spend a couple of hours there getting that sorted out because there's a lot of critical paperwork associated with getting a loan.
Likewise, people using loans should prepare to issue a down payment at the dealership. It would be wise to call beforehand and speak with the financing department. Make sure to ask them what documents they require and about pre-approved financing.
4. Credit Score And History
The dealership will be able to pull up both your credit history and score. But we suggest checking, reviewing, and bringing it with you to the dealership. This will make sure an error doesn't occur during the buying process. You must also check and resolve any late or unpaid bills on these reports before buying a car.
5. Recent Pay Stubs
Buyers looking to get a loan should bring a couple of your most recent pay stubs. The dealership might ask for some proof of your current employment and income. It's a precaution on their part to examine whether you're capable of paying them back.
6. A List Of References
If you're applying for a loan and don't have the best credit, a list of references might be needed. These references must be from people who don't live inside your home. You should have this list on hand with business addresses, contact information, and names of the people vouching for you.
7. Discount Information
Some people might have a discount coming from the dealership, their credit card company, the manufacturer, or elsewhere. If you fall into this category, make sure to have all the required information and don't mess up the deal. Slowly reviewing it beforehand to ensure you know everything about it wouldn't be a bad idea, either.
What Documents Will I Get When Buying A Car From Dealer?
As any person who's bought a car knows, the paperwork doesn't end after purchasing the vehicle. You have to take some paper home and put them somewhere safe. These following documents are commonly what you receive after buying a new car:
1. Bill Of Sale Or Buyer's Order
This document is a basic sales contract. The dealership or seller should give you a copy of the signed and completed contract after the car's been purchased. It's an essential piece of paper because it's needed to apply for a license plate and register your new vehicle.
You must also make sure it depicts the terms of your agreement with the seller. We suggest making sure any verbal promise is added in this contract in writing before closing your deal. Otherwise, it's not valid and doesn't need to be honored.
The car's title is a document that shows ownership. In most cases, it will be given to you right after signing the financing loan or purchase contracts at the dealership. But it can vary from state to state based on their respective laws.
Some states require the seller to turn a car's title over to the registration agency until the loan's paid. Others will allow sellers to hold the title until payment is met. The buyer may even be asked to present the title to the agency themselves.
However, people who purchase the car right away without any loan help have it easy. These buyers will be given the title right after purchasing the vehicle. This will allow the vehicle to be transferred into your name immediately.
3. Temporary Tags
Temporary tags and a temporary registration document are two other things provided by the dealership after purchase. These items will offer a grace period to give you a reasonable amount of time to get the official documentation.
Getting the official documentation will require visiting the state registration agency and DMV. These places will then make sure these temporary items get replaced with the real deal.
4. Additional Documentation
Aside from the prior documents, the rest will vary based on where you're located. In some states, dealerships require additional paperwork when a car sale is completed. These could include an accident and damage report or an official odometer reading at the time of purchase.
In some cases, buyers using loans will be given the option of rolling potential sales tax into their car loan. This would require the dealership to provide proof of tax payment. You'd need this document to present when registering your car.
What Documents Do I Need For A Car Loan?
Certain documents will be required to get an auto loan. It doesn't matter whether you apply online or at the dealership; the following documents will be required to complete the process:
- Proof of identity: passport or ID is acceptable
- A copy of your credit report
- Valid state-issued driver's license
- Utility bills or mortgage statements to prove residency
- Pay stubs or social security income reports proving monthly income
- Vehicle's make and model
- Proof of car insurance
- Contact information
- Payment type (debit, credit, cash, check, etc.)
- The trade-in vehicle's registration (if applicable)
It's a rather long list, but having each document will speed up the process considerably. Plus, you won't have to ruffle through your files when filling out the application.
Do I Need Insurance Before I Buy A Car?
You don't technically need insurance to buy a car. But most states won't let you legally drive it on highways or public roads without insurance. Car dealerships usually won't even let you leave their lot without having some proof of insurance first.
If you intend to buy a car in a private sale, it would be smart to ensure you have reliable auto insurance before taking it out on a drive. Driving around uninsured can lead to various issues, such as fines, license suspension, or even jail.
Do First Time Car Buyers Need A Cosigner?
The simple answer is no. A first-time car buyer doesn't need a cosigner. The need for cosigner has nothing to do with it being your first car purchase. It instead depends on your lender and credit. Here are three common scenarios where a cosigner might be necessary:
- An income source that's garnishable is needed: Subprime lenders prefer to see garnishable income because this source lets them collect debt. If you have a fixed income that's not garnishable like disability or social security, a lender might require a cosigner with a garnishable source. A cosigner with this type of income shouldn't have any issues getting your loan approved. Of course, the person would have to meet the lender's other requirements, as well.
- You have less than perfect credit: Let's say you're a first-time buyer with no history of credit. In this case, a cosigner can be used to help you get approved for an auto loan. This cosigner will need to have good credit, as you're basically borrowing their credit to get approved. As a result, this person becomes responsible for the loan just like you.
- You need a higher income: Subprime lenders operate using minimum income, debt to income, and payment to income guidelines that need to be met for approval. If a loan applicant doesn't meet all three, they won't qualify. But a person with a spouse could have them become a co-buyer. This means you can combine incomes to meet a lender's requirements.
Can I Buy A Car And Take It Home The Same Day?
Absolutely! Whether you decide to finance a new vehicle or pay cash for a used one, you'll be able to drive the car off the lot that very day assuming there are no hiccups in the purchasing process.
Our looking into what's required to buy a car should've provided clarity about the entire process. But if you have any lingering questions, feel free to let us know in our comment section.