Tag Archives: repo cars

repo vehicle

5 Things to Look for in Online Auto Photos

When you’re browsing for clean or salvage title cars for sale, you have no choice but to rely on the information and photos provided. The quickest way to get an overall idea of each vehicle’s condition is by looking at the images. You can learn a lot from these pictures, including what the interior and exterior look like. However, there are things you can miss if you’re not careful. 

To help you select the best repo car for your budget, here are five things to look for in online auto photos.

1. Check for pooling liquids.  

Look at the ground under and around the vehicle. Is it dry? Or do you notice spots of pooling liquid? It’s not always possible to see this, and even if you do, the liquid may be from another vehicle. That said, pooling water or oil can indicate a serious mechanical problem so it’s important to check up on it. 

2. Look over the engine. 

Check for photos of the engine, and if there aren’t any available, ask for them. You’ll want to know if engine damage, corroded connections or missing parts are a problem. Repossessions are sold as is, so any engine issues are your responsibility to fix. Unfortunately, some people tamper with the engines when they know their vehicle is going to be repossessed. 

3. Locate the keys. 

If you plan on driving the vehicle off the lot, you’ll need a set of keys. The best way to check for them is to see if they’re physically present in the photos. A lot of times, the keys are hanging around the steering wheel. Other times, they’re held in an office to prevent theft. If you do need to replace the keys, budget roughly $100-$400 a set. 

4. Follow up on panel gaps.

Panel gaps don’t always indicate serious damage, but they are worth looking into, especially if the listing mentions “damage history” or “partial repair.” For example, a panel gap between the front panel and hood may mean that the vehicle was in a front-end collision that resulted in frame damage. 

5. Make sure the wheels match up. 

One last thing to check is the wheels. Many repossessed vehicles are not properly maintained, so it’s common to need new tires. But, some tire problems can indicate a more serious problem. For instance, misaligned wheels may be a sign of a bent or broken axle that will make the car inoperable.  

At RepoFinder, we always recommend having an inspection done. It’s best to search for repossessions in your local area so that you can visit them in person. However, if you find a vehicle you love but can’t inspect it yourself, hire a third party service. This way, you’ll have the clarity you need to make a confident and competitive offer. 

driving a repo car from a credit union

Is it Smart to Buy a Repo from a Credit Union?

If you’re thinking about buying a repossessed car, truck or recreational vehicle, you’ll find a number of ways to make this purchase. However, not all are created equal. For example, if you buy a repo from a dealership, you are going to pay more because the dealership has taken some time to fix and clean the vehicle. For the best prices and freedom in negotiations, it’s smart to buy a repo from a credit union.

What is a Credit Union? 

A credit union is a financial cooperative that is owned by its members. It exists to serve its members, allowing them a safe place to save and borrow money at affordable rates. Like banks, credit unions also accept deposits and make loans. They also repossess things when their borrowers don’t pay. 

Compared to banks, credit unions don’t have various departments and teams to manage repossessions. This means that in a short amount of time, they can start looking like used car lots. The solution to this problem is to get rid of repossessions as quickly as possible. It’s a win for the credit unions because they get vehicles off their lots, and it’s a win for buyers because they have safe vehicles to choose from. 

What are the Benefits of Buying from a Credit Union? 

Because credit unions are operated independently, there are different procedures that they follow. So, before buying a vehicle from a credit union in your area, ask about their process for listing repossessions. Gathering all the information you can will increase your chances of finding a safe and reliable repo car. 

Here are some benefits to purchasing a repo from a local credit union: 

  • Competitive prices. Credit unions want to get the cars off their lots and recoup their losses. You can find lower-than-average rates on plenty of great cars by browsing lender inventories. 
  • Ability to negotiate. Most of the time, credit unions are open to negotiations. Be sure to do your research so that you can make a compelling offer that’s hard to refuse! 
  • Option for financing. It’s possible that you can get financing directly from the credit union. Typically, credit unions have lower interest rates and fees, too.  
  • Inspect the vehicle. As long as you limit your search to local credit unions, you should be able to inspect the vehicle on their lot. If you find a vehicle in another state, you can have it shipped to you. 

Bottom line: Buying a repossession from a credit union is a great option, especially when you’re shopping for a vehicle on a budget. To browse a full list of repossessions in your area from local banks and credit unions, visit RepoFinder.com. It’s free! 

man looking at vin in car

Buying a Repo: What Does a VIN Lookup Tell You?

If you’re interested in buying a repo car or truck, you can learn a lot of information from the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). A VIN is a unique code given to every vehicle when it’s manufactured. It contains 17 letters and numbers that can be found on the vehicle’s dashboard on the driver’s side. The numbers may seem random, but each section gives information on the vehicle’s origin.

Here at RepoFinder, we always remind car shoppers to inspect the vehicles they plan on purchasing. There are many great repos out there, but you have to do your research! The VIN is a good place to start. You can use this free tool from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to check if the car is subject to a recall. 

Breaking Down a VIN 

VIN information is organized into groups. By looking at each section, you can get a lot of information on a vehicle. For detailed charts breaking down the meaning of each digit and letter, visit driving-tests.org

  • First letter or digit. The first letter identifies the country of origin. For example, cars made in the U.S. start with a 1, 4 or 5, whereas cars made in Canada begin with a 2. Letters may also be used to indicate a country, as is the case with England (“S”), Germany (“W”) and South Korea (“K”). 
  • Second letter. The next letter tells you about the manufacturer. In some cases, the letter stands for the manufacturer’s name – “A” for Audi, “B” for BMW and “G” for General Motors. However, this isn’t always consistent because the letter “A” can also refer to Jaguar or Mitsubishi. 
  • Third digit. The third number, when combined with the first two letters and numbers, tells you the vehicle’s type. 
  • Numbers 4-9. The next set of numbers describes the vehicle’s model, body type, restraint system, transmission type and engine code. 
  • Number 9. This number is the check digit, which is used to detect invalid VINs. 
  • Numbers 10-17. The next group of numbers indicates the vehicle identifier section. For example, Number 10 is the model year, Number 11 is the manufacturing plant and the last six numbers are the production sequence numbers. 

VIN Checks are Free

Now that you have the basics on what a VIN stands for, you can get to work checking the VINs of the repos you’re looking at. You can run a VIN check for free, but this will only provide you with basic information on the car. We still recommend talking to the bank or credit union that has possession of the vehicle and doing a thorough inspection. For a full list of bank repos in your area, visit RepoFinder.com

used car for cheap

How to Find a Used Car for Under 10K

According to Experian, the average car price for 2019 tops $34,000! That’s a lot of money for a vehicle, especially when you start factoring in all the costs associated with having a car – insurance payments, oil changes, gas fill-ups, tire replacements, etc. 

Whether you’re on a tight budget or are purchasing a car for a young driver, paying over $30k might not seem reasonable. Fortunately, there are ways to get a dependable vehicle for $10k or less. You might have to wait longer, but the right car will come along. 

Browse Repossessions 

One of the best ways to find a cheap used car is to look at the repossessions in your area. Check with banks and credit unions for a complete list. If you do a simple search online, you’ll probably end up looking at dealerships that are selling so-called repos. You’ll end up paying more for these vehicles, so stick to local banks, lenders and credit unions. You can find a full list of repos in your state by visiting RepoFinder.com

Know How to Negotiate 

Negotiations can save you a few hundred dollars or more on a used car. The key is to do your research and know what the car sells for so that you can be an effective negotiator. If you’re interested in a repo car, you’ll find that many banks and lenders are open to negotiations. They’re looking to move repos as quickly as possible so they can get them off their books. A fair, reasonable offer is a win-win for both of you. 

Shop at the Right Time 

Some times of the year are better than others to shop for a car. Generally speaking, it’s best to shop late in the year and late in the month. Car dealerships have sales quotas they have to meet, which typically break down to monthly, quarterly and yearly sales goals. In order to reach these goals, dealerships may push harder to get cars sold at the end of a month, which means lower prices and better negotiations for buyers. 

Do Your Research 

Always do your research when shopping for used vehicles, whether they be “for sale by owner” or repossessions from your local credit union. Find out what the car is worth, as some makes/models have a low resale value. Others have reoccurring defects, hard-to-find parts or costly maintenance that will have you spending a lot more than $10k in the first year. It’s better to pay more initially and get a great car in the long run. 

With average car loans around $30k, it’s no wonder why many people are getting savvier with their vehicle purchases. There’s no reason to spend this much money if all you need is a clean, reliable car to get you to and from where you need to go. RepoFinder.com has a full list of banks, lenders and credit unions in your area with repo inventory. Browse our list and see what you can find for $10k or under! 

college student

5 Reasons Why Repo Cars are Great for College Students

Do you have a college student who’s begging to have a car? With the increasing costs of college tuition and everything that comes with it, it’s no wonder why buying a vehicle is the last thing you want to do. But, there are practical reasons why some college students need a vehicle, such as getting to and from work or sports practice. 

Fortunately, there is a solution to your dilemma: a repossessed vehicle. These used cars are a great pick for college students and other young drivers. Here are five reasons why. 

  1. Repos are reasonably priced. 

Repossessions have been taken away by the lender or bank. They want to recoup their losses as quickly as possible, which allows you to land a great deal on a used car. Use RepoFinder.com to find repossessions in your area. We recommend buying directly from the lender – not a dealership or third party. Buying direct is cheapest, and you may even be able to purchase the vehicle without financing. 

  1. You won’t mind leaving it parked on campus. 

If your student comes to college with a car, they won’t get a heated, covered parking space. The vehicle will be left out in various parking lots or on the sides of streets. It may be borrowed or used to transport friends. Repos are not always in poor condition, but many of them have been well-loved. You won’t mind if it gets a few dings along the way. 

  1. …Or they sit in your driveway.

Perhaps you want to purchase a used vehicle for your student to use when they come home. If the car will be sitting on your driveway while your child is away at college, a repossession is a great option. Again, the used car will probably already have some dents and dings, so it can sit outside without you worrying. When your child does come home from college, they’ll have a safe car to drive.

  1. Your insurance rates will be lower. 

Car insurance rates are typically lower with repossessions. Because these cars aren’t new, they are cheaper to insure. And, if you choose to buy the vehicle without financing, you don’t have to get full coverage. You can get the basic insurance in your state and save money on your monthly premiums. 

  1. They’re not beaters. 

Lastly, repossessed vehicles are not beaters. In fact, many are new and in great condition! This means that your college student can have a car that they’re proud of and start working toward more responsibility by making monthly payments, paying for oil changes, etc. It’s a win-win for everyone in the household.

To browse repossessions in your area, visit RepoFinder.com. It’s free and updated regularly, so check back often for new repos that you can bid on.

retired woman on bench

Why Retirees Should Consider Repo Cars

Each year, thousands of people buy repossessed trucks, cars and recreational vehicles because of their affordability. Many repos are in good condition and sold at a fair price, allowing buyers to pay in full for the vehicle or finance a small amount. But, repos are not just reserved for young people with little to put down or car enthusiasts who love getting a good deal. They are also a great option for retirees.

Once retired and living off savings, people have a different perspective when making purchase decisions. If you’re currently retired and living off a fixed income, you may want to consider a repo for your primary or second vehicle. Here are the reasons why these used vehicles make a great option for retirees. 

Affordable Monthly Payments 

The most obvious benefit to repos is that they are affordable. How much they cost depends on the condition they are in and what the previous owner owed on their loan. Banks and lenders try to recoup their losses, but there is always room for negotiation. That’s why it’s important to do your homework, look up Kelley Blue Book prices and know what you should be paying for a particular vehicle. 

In general, repos sell for 25 to 40 percent of a similar car’s value. This means that you can walk away with a lower car payment than if you were to buy new or lease. And, if you choose to buy the car outright, you won’t have a car payment at all. This usually isn’t an option with new and used cars, but it can be with a repo. 

Service and Warranty Plans May Be Intact 

Many repossessions are in good working condition, as they were being used and driven up until they were taken away. If you can land a repo that’s new, the service and warranty plans may still be intact. While you won’t get a warranty with the bank or lender, the existing warranties that came with the vehicle can transfer to a new owner. 

Greater Flexibility with Car Choices 

When you were working, driving the kids around, etc., you may have been limited on the types of vehicles you could drive. Today, you probably don’t need that minivan with built-in tablets and sliding doors. You may only need a vehicle for practical purposes – getting from Point A to Point B. This opens up many possibilities. For example, you can buy a repo that’s in good condition but has a lot of miles. 

As you can see, repo cars are worth considering for retirees. They are affordable and do the job of providing you with reliable transportation. Before buying a repo, always do your research and inspect the car. We recommend bringing along someone who knows cars if you don’t. To browse the repo vehicles in your state, visit RepoFinder.com today. 

checking for used car problems

Used Car Problems You’ll Want to Avoid

Buying a used vehicle can be a stressful experience, especially when you’re not sure what to look for. Things get even more complicated with repossessions because they do not come with a warranty. Whatever problems the repo has will become yours to fix. Many issues can be fixed but there are some you’ll want to avoid. 

To ensure you are making a good decision, always inspect the vehicle you’re going to bid on and take a friend with you, preferably someone who understands cars. This way, you have a second set of eyes and ears picking up on things you might miss. Below are used car problems we recommend avoiding. 

Inoperative Gauges or Warning Lights 

Make sure the warning lights and gauges work properly. You’ll need these lights to tell you if something in the car needs immediate attention. If you see the lights come on, this means they’re working, though you probably need to address an issue like low tire pressure, low oil pressure or power steering problems. 

Major Structural Damage 

Minor body damage that has been professionally repaired shouldn’t be a big deal. But major body damage is a different issue. Damage from car accidents that bend the frame or structure can be difficult and expensive to repair. Even if you were to get them fixed, there’s a possibility that you and your passengers wouldn’t be properly protected in a car crash. Bottom line: avoid repos with major body damage. 

Flood Damage 

Another type of damage to avoid is flood damage. Rising water can be just as damaging as a severe crash because it can create rust and mold in the interior. Aside from damaging the carpeting, insulation and upholstery, water can also cause corrosion in the electrical connections. Some signs to look for include mold, rust and mud in unlikely places.

Missing Titles 

As long as you purchase the repo from a reputable seller, you should have no problem getting the title. The bank, lender or credit union that owns the vehicle will release the title once you pay for the vehicle. However, we do not recommend buying a repo without the title, even if it seems like a good deal. Otherwise, there’s always a chance that the true owner could come back and claim the car. 

The best way to avoid bringing home a used car with lots of problems is by inspecting it before buying it. Bring along a mechanic, or at least someone who knows a lot about cars. This way, you can look over the vehicle and make sure nothing obvious stands out. To shop for repossessions in your area, visit RepoFinder.com

fixing a common car problem

Common Car Problems You Can Fix on Your Own

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When buying a used car, there’s always a chance that you’ll inherit some problems. Most car buyers are aware of this but recognize they’re getting a much lower price on the vehicle than if they were to buy it new. The hope is that any problems that do turn up will be minor and easy/inexpensive to fix. 

Even though used cars don’t have the same warranties as new cars, dealerships will often provide a limited warranty on some or all of the vehicle’s components. When buying a repossession, this is not the case. You buy the car “as-is” and that’s that. Whatever problems the vehicle has will become yours. 

This is not to say that all repossessed cars, trucks and RVs have problems. Many are actually in great condition and only require light cleaning and routine maintenance. Below are the most common car problems you can fix on your own. Don’t let them scare you out of a great repo purchase! 

Replace Dead Battery 

If the repo you’re inspecting isn’t running, it might need a new battery. Batteries are reasonable and can be replaced on your own. Here are a few ways to tell if the battery is dead or close to dying: 

  • The engine cranks but doesn’t start. 
  • The car starts but is sluggish. 
  • The engine starts but the interior lights don’t turn on. 
  • Jumpstarting the battery works. 

If it’s not the battery giving the repo vehicle trouble, it could be the alternator, which will need to be fixed by a professional. Alternators run from around $500 to $1,000. 

Install New Bulbs 

It’s possible that the repo will have non-working lights. You can change out any non-headlight bulbs (e.g., license plate, side marker, fog lights) by removing the retaining screws, pulling out the old bulbs and replacing them with new bulbs. Car headlights can be more difficult to remove and replace, but referring to the owner’s manual will likely provide you with the direction you need. 

Switch Out the Air Filter 

Air filters trap dirt and debris that could damage internal engine parts. They are often checked and replaced during routine oil changes, though it’s very likely that the previous owner didn’t do this. Inspect the air filter during your initial inspection. If it blocks 50% or more light, it will need to be replaced. 

Touch Up Chipped Paint 

It’s common for repossessed vehicles to have chipped auto paint from sitting outdoors. Fortunately, it’s easy to touch up auto paint without it looking shoddy. Clean the chip with wax and grease remover (purchased from the auto store). When dry, dip the applicator in paint and dab it onto the chip. After a month, apply wax to the area. The vehicle will look good as new! 

Fix a Leaky Sunroof

If the repo you’re interested in has a leaky sunroof, don’t be discouraged. It’s probably leaking because the sunroof drains are clogged. To fix this, locate the sunroof drains and clean out any debris that is stuck in them. There is protocol to follow on this, as you don’t want to damage the drain tubes. But, it’s an easy job you can do yourself. 

These are just some of the things you can fix on your own, so you shouldn’t let them deter you from an otherwise good repo purchase. To browse repossessions in your area, visit RepoFinder.com and click on your state!

BMO Harris car repo

Purchasing a Repo Car from BMO Harris

BMO Harris has more than 12 million customers that count on them for personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment services. They are the 8th largest bank in North America, based on assets. The bank takes great pride in helping customers make the most of their money. 

With millions of customers, there will always be some who default on their loans. This sometimes happens with auto loans. 

BMO Harris Auto Loans 

When purchasing a car, a buyer may have to put some money down to cover the down payment and title fees, but they can finance the rest of their purchase. What some people don’t realize is how expensive car payments can be, especially once the interest rates are added on. 

Here is some basic information on BMO Harris auto loans. 

  • BMO Harris will finance cars, motorcycles, boats and RVs. 
  • Auto loan amounts start at $5,000 and go up to $30,000.
  • All loan products have fixed APRs that range from 4.8% to 7.11%.
  • Maximum loan terms are 72 months.
  • Loan origination fees are up to 1% of the loan amount.
  • Borrowers are charged late fees. 

When Auto Loan Borrowers Default 

When taking out a loan, the borrower agrees to pay it back according to the loan agreement. If, at any time, they can’t make the loan payments, the loan will go into default and the car can be repossessed. Usually, it only takes a few months for this to happen, as the bank isn’t going to continue losing money every month. 

Once the vehicle is repossessed, it is usually sold at an auction. Everyday people can bid on the vehicle, though dealerships are good at picking up decent cars and reselling them at a higher price. This is why it’s best to buy repossessions directly from the bank, as you don’t want to buy a repo with a price markup. 

Where to Find BMO Harris Repo Cars 

The best way to find repossessions from BMO Harris is by visiting their site directly. Being a large bank, their inventory changes often. Visit RepoFinder.com and click on the state you live in. You can then search for BMO Harris’ inventory of repo vehicles. Also, because BMO Harris provides financing for motorcycles, boats and RVs, you can also find these vehicles for auction. 

Currently, BMO Harris is only in ten states: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin, so do keep this in mind. You always want to be able to see the car before buying, so shop only as far as you’re willing to drive. 

repo car bought direct from a lender

Buying a Repo? Make Sure it’s Direct from a Lender

There are different ways to buy a repossession, such as through a physical auction house, an online auction service or a lender. At RepoFinder.com, we always recommend buying repos direct from lenders, banks and credit unions. You can find a better deal this way because lenders are motivated to sell. Also, they rarely put money into repos, so you’re not paying for things you can do yourself, like cleaning the vehicle or making minor repairs. 

It’s not always clear cut who you are buying from when purchasing a repossession. For example, some dealerships advertise repo cars and trucks. They aren’t lying – the vehicles really were repossessed. However, the dealership most likely put money into cleaning up and restoring the vehicle, which means the vehicle has a markup to it. 

So, how can you make sure that you’re buying a repo directly from the lender? Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.

Go Straight to the Source – Lender Websites 

If you do a general search for repossessions, advertisements and sponsored content will pop up first. This content is dominated by dealerships and auction sites that are trying to sell repos for a profit. They’ve likely taken the repos off the hands of lenders and credit unions, then prepped, repaired and added their markup to it. 

The better option is to look for repossessions directly on the websites of lenders, banks and credit unions. This means that you have to visit each site independently, which will take more time. But at least you know that you’re looking at true repos.  

Not sure which lenders and banks to start with? No worries! RepoFinder.com has taken care of the sorting for you. Visit our site, choose the state you live in and that’s it! You’ll be given a list of the banks and credit unions in your area that sell repos. Their inventory changes often, so be sure to check back frequently for newly added repossessions. 

Be Patient in Your Research 

While some people have landed a great repo car right away, this isn’t the norm. It usually takes time and patience to find a decent car at the right price. This is why we recommend starting early and taking your time finding a repossession. 

In some cases, you might find that a car you really like is going for more than its NADA or Kelley Blue Book value. This usually happens because more is owed to the bank than what the vehicle is worth. You should have some negotiating power in these instances, but it’s also possible that the bank will be firm. So, give yourself time to find the right vehicle. 

RepoFinder.com makes it easy to find repossessions directly from banks and credit unions. Browse our site today to find a repo car or truck that fits your needs and budget.