First-Time Auto Buying Experience with Education First FCU
While I wished my old car would live forever, I had to be realistic about its safety and fading longevity. I am a recent college graduate in my first full-time job, and I thought it was time to trade in my old Hyundai for a fresh set of wheels.
Step 1: Set my budget and get approved
Education First’s Laurel Branch Manager, Laura Landry, was hands-on and helped see me through the entire process. We must have emailed back and forth thirty times to get everything squared away. She got me pre-approved with Education First and crunched the numbers. Once I solidified my maximum cost a month with my pre-approval, she got me signed up as a new member of Education First.
Next, I got serious about the car-hunt. Two great tools Education First offers that I used during this process were AutoSmart and Car Loan Calculator. AutoSmart gave me the inventory that helped me decide what vehicle I wanted. The Car Loan Calculator did the math for me when browsing the inventory and trying to get the best deal. This was my first time financing a car, and I cannot recommend anything more than getting pre-approved at a financial institution prior to going to the dealership. It narrowed my search to a specific price range and did not allow any car dealers to try to and persuade me to bite off more than I could chew; not to mention it is a time saver!
Step 2: Finding my perfect ride
I found a vehicle that seemed picture-perfect. I sent it to Laura, and she gave me the run down on the Car Fax and made me look at the situation realistically. Could it only be perfect in pictures? What if it has an awful smell? Does it have decent fuel economy? What if the dealership does not give me enough money for my trade in? These were all the questions that Laura kept at the forefront and leveled my needs versus my wants. I made an appointment with the dealership to check out the car on a Saturday morning, but kept the questions in mind to make sure I was getting the best deal possible. Even if I did not end up getting that vehicle, we had already started paperwork, gotten my membership approved and had a budget set. It was a relief having the background work completed before stepping foot into a dealership.
Step 3: The payoff
I got the car! The one I chose aligned with my pre-approval amount from Education First and they gave me a great APR that even impressed my family. I had enough money to get GAP coverage for an excellent price that the dealership would have possibly up charged me on; all while not being over budget.
We were working on a time crunch since Education First closes at noon on Saturday, but the amazing staff stayed an extra hour to make sure everything worked out for me. I am grateful for the measures Education First took to go above and beyond great service for their members that allowed me to leave with the vehicle that day.
Buying a car for the first time can be daunting, but the transition into this chapter was seamless with the help I received from Education First. The First-Time Auto Buyer Program is designed to assist people like me without any judgement on my young financial history while helping me build my credit with my first Auto Loan.