Tag Archives: repossessed cars

odometer on used car

Used Car Shopping: How Many Miles are Too Many?

Buying a used car is often a great way to save money while getting something dependable for work or school. As you shop for used or repossessed cars, you may be wondering how many miles are too many. Generally speaking, the higher the number of miles, the lower the value of the car. 

The problem is that not all miles are created equal. For example, a car with 100,000 highway miles is probably in better shape than a car with 50,000 city miles. As you consider your options for a used vehicle, here are some considerations when it comes to miles driven. 

How Do I Know if a Car Has Too Many Miles? 

When you look at two used or repo cars, one of the first things you’ll compare is the miles. If one car has 50,000 miles and the other has 100,000 miles, it’s easy to assume the vehicle with less miles is more desirable. However, it’s not quite that simple. 

Highway miles are actually easier on a car than city miles. You’re traveling long distances at high speeds, but this is good for the alternator and battery because it let’s them charge properly. It’s also better for fuel efficiency because you’re traveling at constant speeds. 

City miles, on the other hand, involve a lot of stop-and-go traffic. This type of driving is much harder on the vehicle because of the braking and accelerating, which is bad for your engine, transmission and brakes. Stop-and-go driving also hurts your fuel efficiency. 

The Age of the Car Matters 

Another thing to consider is how old the repo vehicle is. 15,000 miles a year is considered to be the industry average, so it’s not unreasonable for a 10-year-old vehicle to have 100,000-150,000 miles on it. If the repo car that you’re interested in has far more or less miles, it’s worth asking why. 

Some cars might have less miles than they should, which looks attractive at first glance. However, if the car hasn’t been driven in a while, you may need to replace the oil, change out the oil filter and replace the transmission fluid. If the car has more miles than what is reasonable, it may need a lot of maintenance. 

How Long Do Cars Last?  

In terms of mileage, cars have an average life expectancy of 200,000 miles. Today’s vehicles are built stronger than ever, allowing many to be pushed over the 200,000 mark, regardless of whether it was reached in two years or ten. In fact, high-mileage cars are a good indication that the engine is running smoothly and has lots of life left.

Find a Used Car with the Right Mileage at RepoFinder

RepoFinder.com has a full database of repo vehicles sold by banks and credit unions across the U.S. To find a reliable used vehicle for a fraction of the price, contact us today. You can browse our database and find local repossessed cars, trucks and SUVs that work for you. 

buying cars from a private seller

Risks of Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller

Purchasing a car from a private seller can be a great way to save money on a vehicle while avoiding the dealership. If you know what you want, there’s no reason not to entertain buying a car privately. But, there are some risks to be aware of. Once you learn about these risks, you may feel more comfortable buying a used car from a more trustworthy source like a bank or credit union. 

Lack of Consumer Protection

The first thing to know is that state and federal laws that apply to dealerships do not apply to private sellers. Even though people don’t always enjoy working with dealerships, there are protections in place if you’re not happy with your purchase.

Unfortunately, you don’t get these same protections when shopping privately. You’re buying the car as-is, which means whatever problems it has will become your problems. Additionally, you won’t get any warranties, unless the manufacturer’s warranty is still valid. In this case, the warranty can be transferred to your name. 

Greater Responsibility 

When you walk into a dealership, you have multiple people talking to you and asking about your wants and needs. The knowledge that car salespeople have can be incredibly helpful to your search. Even if you came in looking for a specific car, they can recommend other vehicles that will fit your needs and budget. 

Naturally, you aren’t going to get this type of customer service when buying from a private seller. The seller may be nice enough to answer your questions, show you the manual and take you for a test drive, but they don’t have to do any of these things, either. Consider all of the time you’ll spend researching cars, scheduling meetings, arranging for transportation, etc. Time is money after all. 

More paperwork

Not only are you responsible for everything listed above, but also you and the seller must handle the paperwork. This means you’ll have to work with the seller to transfer the title, registration and any related fees, taxes and warranties. Usually, you’ll have to make a trip to the DMV to sort this out. 

Difficult Negotiations 

Again, this all depends on the seller, as some are more accommodating and will accept lower offers. However, many private sellers are not flexible on price. They’re expecting to make a certain profit, or they may be emotionally attached to the vehicle. This is why private sellers often charge more than they should. 

Banks and Lenders are a Safe Alternative to Private Sellers

If you’re unsure about working with a private seller but want to avoid the dealership, consider purchasing a repossessed vehicle through a bank, credit union or lender. Because these vehicles come straight from the source, there’s no middleman, easier negotiations and attractive financing offers. Plus, the banks aren’t emotionally attached to the vehicles – they want them sold!

To see what types of repos are available in your area, browse the inventory on RepoFinder.com

repossession

What Does it Mean to Buy a Repossessed Vehicle?

Are you thinking about buying a repossessed vehicle? It helps to know the facts about these vehicles so that you know what to expect. Some people think that repos are always in poor condition, but this is not necessarily the case. In fact, many people are able to purchase the car they want in great condition for a fraction of the price! However, patience and diligence are two qualities you’ll need.

Below is more information about what a repossessed vehicle is and what this means for you. 

What are Repossessed Vehicles? 

Owning a car can be a luxury, but it also comes with a steep price tag. According to Experian, average car payments are $554 for a new car and $391 for a used car. If you have other financial obligations like a mortgage payment or student loans, paying hundreds of dollars for a car every month may not be feasible.

As with other purchases, it’s common for people to overbuy on their vehicle. They can easily get swayed by the latest features or a newer model and end up taking on more than they can afford. For others, it’s a change in financial circumstances that makes it impossible to keep on top of their payments. 

Now, you might be thinking, “why not just return the car?” but it’s not that easy. Cars depreciate around 20% to 30% by the end of their first year. From years 2-6, depreciation ranges from 15% to 18% per year. This means that by year 5, cars have already depreciated by 60% or more of their initial value. 

How Quickly Can the Banks Repo Cars? 

Most people who buy cars use financing to do so. By taking out an auto loan, the borrower is agreeing to make the monthly payments on-time each month. If they don’t hold up their end of the deal, the lender has the right to take away the car. 

How quickly a car is repossessed depends on the lender and your state. Some lenders don’t start the repossession process until three payments are missed, while others will start it right after one missed payment. By law, lenders have the right to take your car away the day after a missed payment!

When are Repos Made Available to the Public? 

Once the car is repossessed, the banks usually try to give the owner another chance to catch back up. If this doesn’t happen, they’ll auction the vehicle off. Cars in poor condition are usually sent to a junkyard and not listed for sale. 

Repossessions come at a discount. This is what makes them valuable to car buyers. Many of the vehicles put up for auction are in good condition. However, they most likely haven’t had any maintenance, as the owner couldn’t even afford to make the payments. But with a bit of attention, most of the cars will be as good as new! 

Well, there you have it. Now you know about repossessed cars, where they come from and how they become available to the public. RepoFinder allows you to buy repossessions directly from banks and lenders. These are true repos at discounted prices. View our database for free and see what’s available in your area!

black SUV

Does a Check Engine Light Always Mean Something Bad?

When a vehicle has its check engine light (malfunction indicator lamp) on, it’s easy to feel discouraged. After all, this light is telling you that something is wrong, and it’s hard to say how big the problem is until you take it into a dealership. 

So what happens when you want to buy a vehicle and the check engine light is on?

This doesn’t typically happen at the dealership because all vehicles are thoroughly inspected before being placed on the lot. However, repossessions are collected from owners who aren’t paying on their loans, so these vehicles often don’t receive the maintenance they should. 

Let’s take a closer look at what the check engine light really means and if it’s safe to buy a car with one on. 

Is the Check Engine Light Always Bad? 

The check engine light is tied to your car’s onboard diagnostics system and is intended to light up when something is wrong. Problems in the electronic control system are stored in a “trouble code” so that the source of the issue can be identified.

To find out what the code is, you can take your car into a dealership or auto shop to have it read. You can also purchase your own inexpensive code reader online if you intend on diagnosing and fixing the problem yourself. This is a great way to save money and get experience working on cars.

Once you have the code, you’ll know what you’re working with and what repairs are required. The good news is that the check engine light doesn’t always mean that something major is wrong. All it means is that something needs to be addressed. 

Most Common Reasons Why the Check Engine Light Turns On 

The check engine light can turn on for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common: 

  • Oxygen sensor. The oxygen sensor tracks the number of unburned oxygen in your car’s fuel system. Without this sensor, you’re likely to have bad fuel economy and damage to your spark plug and catalytic converter. 
  • Broken gas cap. If your gas cap is broken, loose or missing, the check engine light will come on. Without a secure cap, you can lose gas and have to fill up more often. 
  • Failing catalytic converter. This converter turns carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. If it’s broken, you’ll have poor engine performance and fuel efficiency.
  • Spark plugs. The spark plugs need to be replaced every so often. Otherwise, poor components will lead to poor engine performance and damaged parts. 

Should I Buy a Car with the Check Engine Light On? 

If you’ve found a car that you really like but it has a check engine light on, have it checked out by a mechanic. Don’t take someone else’s word for it that it’s no big deal. The system is telling you that something is amiss, so take it seriously. It’s very possible that the light doesn’t indicate anything serious, but if it does, you’ll be glad to know about it.

If the mechanic is able to find out what’s wrong, you can request a discount to pay for the repair. Many banks and credit unions are willing to negotiate their prices. At the very least, you’ll have a full understanding of what’s wrong. If you’re not willing to make any repairs and you’re not a mechanic, it’s probably best to skip the car. 

RepoFinder has a huge inventory of repo cars, trucks, SUVs, recreational vehicles and more. Many are in great condition and have plenty of life left! Browse them today for free! 

dollar bill

What is the Best Way to Finance a Used Car?

If you’re planning on buying a used vehicle and want to know how to finance it, you’ll be surprised by the options you have. Planning ahead is a smart decision because it allows you to get the best rates. And, by running through a few different scenarios, you can determine exactly what fees to expect when making an auto purchase

Below are the best options for financing a used vehicle and the benefits to expect with each one. 

Used Car Loans 

The most popular option for financing a used vehicle is a used car loan. Many car loans come from big banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Capital One and Chase, but there are plenty of others out there, too. Large banks tend to have higher interest rates and fees, while smaller, brick-and-mortar branches are often more affordable. 

To ensure you get the best car loan, it helps to do some research. Know your credit score, determine what you’re willing to spend each month and review different companies. By getting prequalified, you’ll be in a better position when it comes time to bid on a vehicle.  

Credit Unions 

Credit unions can also finance your repo car purchase, just as the banks do. You will end up getting an auto loan with monthly payments, but you can expect a slightly different process. For instance, credit unions are not-for-profit and typically offer lower fees but higher interest rates. Their customer service tends to be above average as well. 

Home Equity Loans 

Used car loans aren’t the only way to pay for a car. If you have equity in your home and you can access it, you may use this money to purchase a vehicle. Home equity loans usually offer lower interest rates than standard auto loans, and you may even be able to write off a portion of the interest on your taxes. 

Personal Loans 

Another option for financing your vehicle is a personal loan. Most personal loans have no restrictions on what you can use them for, giving you the freedom to buy any vehicle you want, including a repossessed luxury vehicle. However, there are things to watch for as well. For example, some personal loans have higher interest rates and additional loan fees compared to auto loans. 

Peer-to-Peer Loans 

Peer-to-peer loan platforms allow you to borrow money from an investor. If you don’t qualify for traditional financing, or you don’t like the offers you are getting, this is an option worth checking out. The requirements are usually less strict compared to banks and credit unions, and the financing typically comes quickly. The loan amounts are usually low, but this won’t be a problem if you’re planning on buying an affordable repossession. 

As you can see, there are many options for financing your repo car purchase. Repossessions are lower in price to begin with, so when you choose the right financing option, you can expect reasonable monthly payments that won’t break the bank.

car keys buying a car

Car Fees to Expect When Buying a Used Car

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Buying a new vehicle is an exciting experience, that is, until you see the number of fees you’re hit with! Some of these fees are conveniently rolled into your monthly payments, but you still want to be aware of what extra things you have to cover. You don’t want to get stuck paying for fees that aren’t really necessary. 

Below we’ll cover the most common fees you encounter when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Keep in mind that every state is different in how they charge sales tax on trade-ins and rebates. Plus, most states don’t have a cap on documentation fees, so they can range from $50-$400 or more depending on where you live.

What Fees Can I Expect When Purchasing a Car? 

Generally speaking, there are three categories of fees you will encounter when purchasing a used or repossessed vehicle:

  • Title and registration fees. When you buy a used car, you’ll need to transfer the title and register the vehicle in your name. Without a title in your name, there is no way to prove that you are the owner of the vehicle. 
  • Used car sales tax. You’ll probably have to pay a used car sales tax when purchasing a pre-owned vehicle. The amount you pay depends on the state you’re buying the car in. 
  • Documentation fee. Most states require you to pay a documentation fee before driving away with the vehicle. This fee covers things like processing paperwork, storing documents and writing up contracts. 

Aside from these fees, you may have to pay the following as well: 

  • Export and shipping fees. If you purchase a repossessed vehicle from a different state, consider how you’ll get the car. You may have to pay a third party to ship the repo to you.
  • Sales taxes. Depending on your state, you may have to pay sales taxes on the vehicle. Some factors can influence the taxes you pay, such as trading in another vehicle or qualifying for rebates and incentives. 
  • Repairs. Cars sold through auctions often need some repairs, so be sure to factor these into your cost. It’s best to stick with cars and trucks that only require light repair work like tire and break changes. 

Shop for Your New Car with RepoFinder

Are you thinking about buying a repossessed car from an online site like RepoFinder.com? Many people have had great experiences with their purchases through us. We have a full list of banks, credit unions and lenders that are selling cars, trucks and recreational vehicles. Most are in great condition and ready for a new owner! Browse our site today and find your dream vehicle. 

man shopping for cars online

Tips for Online Car Shopping During Coronavirus

Car dealerships remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic because they are considered essential services. If your car tanks, you’ll need a new one after all. However, the pandemic is changing the way people shop for vehicles. Rather than coming into the showroom and being in close contact with others (car salespeople, financing department), you can shop for vehicles online. 

If you’re thinking about buying a new car during the pandemic, there are some things you should know. By following the tips below, you can ensure a smooth and successful online transaction whether you’re buying a brand new vehicle or a used repossession. 

Do Your Research 

Research is key when buying a vehicle online. You don’t have someone to show you the ropes and go over the available features, so you’ll have to do this yourself. Most people don’t mind, as it allows them to browse for vehicles at their leisure. If you’re shopping for a repossessed car or truck, keep your expectations realistic. Know what you can afford and the types of vehicles available in your price range. 

Decide Where You’ll Buy From 

Most dealerships have a good selection of inventory online, but they’re not the only ones that sell cars and trucks. You can also go with an online car site that sells all types of vehicles at different price points. Or, you can shop with an online auction site that allows you to bid on the vehicles you want. In addition to cars, RepoFinder.com has pickup trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, RVs, ATVs, boats and even small aircraft. 

Consider the Test Drive 

The one downfall to shopping for cars online is that you can’t test drive them all like you could at a dealership. In fact, you might not be able to take a test drive at all! Not all online car services are accommodating with this type of stuff, so you’ll need to be flexible. Your best bet is to do your research and look for virtual tools that allow you to “drive” and explore the vehicle of your choice. 

Get Used Cars Independently Inspected

Because test drives aren’t always available when shopping online, we recommend getting an independent inspection. When shopping for repossessions, for example, you’ll usually have the chance to inspect the vehicle before signing anything. Bring along someone who knows cars, and if the vehicle is far from home, hire someone local to do a quick inspection. 

Decide How You’ll Get the Car 

Dealerships often deliver vehicles right to your doorstep for a fee. However, other services expect you to come and pick up the car. In this case, you’ll need to coordinate the details. Often times, two people will come down together in one car and then drive both vehicles back home. 

RepoFinder offers a full list of banks and credit unions that are selling repossessed cars, trucks and recreational vehicles. You can do everything online, from viewing the pictures to making a bid. Visit us today and enjoy a safe, convenient way to shop for affordable repossessions in good condition. 

wheels

AWD vs 4WD: What’s the Difference?

When shopping for used cars, there are a number of features to pay attention to. An important one is all-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD). Years ago, if you wanted four driven wheels, you were limited to a small selection of vehicles. Today, this is not the case. Close to half of all vehicles sold in the U.S. have either AWD or 4WD. 

So what’s the significance of having all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive? Is one better than the other? We’ll answer your questions in this article. 

What is All-Wheel Drive? 

All-wheel drive systems send power to both the front and rear wheels. Some AWD vehicles have all four wheels driving continuously, while others operate in mostly two-wheel drive. If you need the extra traction, the car will automatically send power to all four wheels. 

The benefit to AWD is that you don’t have to make any decisions about your wheels. Either the wheels are driven the whole time, or the system will drive with two and send power to all four if it senses a loss of traction. This allows you to drive smoothly in all types of weather conditions and terrains. 

What is Four-Wheel Drive? 

Four-wheel drive systems have become incredibly sophisticated over the years. They can handle more off-road use and are found in a wide range of vehicles, including luxury cars. However, 4WD is robust and remains most popular for ruggedness and pulling power. 

Like AWD, 4WD comes in two types: full-time and part-time. With full-time 4WD, the wheels receive power continuously. With part-time 4WD, only the two wheels move. If you need to send power to the other wheels, you’ll need to make the decision and push a button or shift the lever. 

Which is Better: AWD vs. 4WD? 

There is no best option for everyone. It all depends on where you live and what types of driving conditions you encounter. Before buying a repossession in your area, think about how you plan to use the vehicle. Will you be going off-roading with your new truck? Do you drive in snow and ice in the winter? Is fuel economy important to you?

We recommend AWD for many drivers because it delivers traction in the right conditions, offers better fuel economy and can be found in a wide range of vehicles, including luxury cars and SUVs. On the other hand, if you live in a remote area, work in extreme conditions or enjoy off-roading, we suggest 4WD. It’s better equipped to handle these rugged conditions. 

Find Your AWD or 4WD Repo Today 

When you shop for repossessed cars and trucks with RepoFinder, we try to put AWD or 4WD in the vehicle’s description. This way, you can easily see what system each vehicle comes with. It’s a quick and easy way to narrow down your options, especially if you prefer one system over the other. View a full list of repos in your area by visiting RepoFinder.com today. 

person driving vehicle

What Steps Should I Follow When Buying a Repossessed Vehicle?

If you’re shopping for an affordable vehicle in decent condition, you don’t have to settle for a pricey used car. Another option is a repossessed vehicle, or one that was taken away from its previous owner for defaulting on the loan. 

The nice thing about shopping for repos is that they don’t have any upcharges. Buying a used car from a dealership is still expensive because it has been cleaned, repaired and inspected by a mechanic. Repo cars are sold as-is, which is reflected in the price. 

Below are the steps you should follow when buying a repossessed car, truck or other vehicle. 

Choose who you are going to buy from.

There are a number of ways you can purchase a repossessed vehicle:

  • Lenders. Buying directly from a lender is the best way to get a great deal. Credit unions and banks want to get rid of repos and recoup their losses, passing on the savings to you. For a complete list of repos in your state, visit RepoFinder.com.
  • Repo reseller. The benefit to working with a repo reseller is that they generally have some standard for the condition of vehicles they sell. You will pay more for these vehicles, but you can expect a better car. 
  • Auctions. There are all types of auctions online, though the majority are for used car dealers, not individual buyers. However, if you happen to find an online auction, make sure you register online and take a look at their inventory. 
  • Used car dealers. Used car dealerships do sell repos, but keep in mind that they will be more expensive. This is because the dealerships inspect the vehicles and fix them up before selling. 

Determine your budget. 

It’s important to establish your budget in advance. Most repos need some type of maintenance, so this will need to be factored into your budget. If you use all of your money to buy the car, you won’t have enough to make essential repairs. Like used cars, repos come in all price ranges. 

Research the vehicles you want. 

To narrow down your search online, research the best vehicles for your needs. Consider what features are most important to you, such as special cameras, sensors, tire pressure alerts and seating. Also research what car makes/models are most reliable. Generally speaking, repo shoppers do best with reliable, low maintenance cars that hold their value. 

Place your bid.

Once you find a repo that fits your criteria, you can make an offer on it. We also recommend having financing in place, as this shows that you are a serious buyer. 

Nearly all repo sites require you to be a member, which is why it’s important to choose how you’re going to buy your vehicle first. For example, when you sign up for RepoFinder Pro for just $4.95 a month, you get full access to our repo list and can place bids. 

Inspect the vehicle.

If the seller accepts your bid, you can purchase the vehicle. We strongly recommend inspecting the repo before signing anything. You probably won’t be able to test drive it, but you can look at it for an overall assessment. Once this is done, you can sign the paperwork and take your vehicle home! 

Buying a repo is fairly straightforward, though it does require more diligence on the buyer’s part. You won’t have a car salesperson showing you around and selling you vehicles, which some look at as an advantage, but you will be on your own. Use the online tools to your advantage, research the cars you’re interested in and inspect the repo before signing anything and you should be just fine.

woman shopping for auto loans

How to Get a Low Rate on a Used Car Loan

Shopping for cars is fun. Shopping for car loans – not so much. The good news is that you are in a stronger negotiating position when you shop for auto loans in advance. Many people don’t do this until they find a vehicle, but at this point, you’re at the mercy of the banks. 

Below are the steps to take to get the best rates on a used car loan. 

Shop in the Right Places 

Don’t wait to look for financing until you’ve won your bid. The best way to get lower interest rates is by shopping for car loans ahead of time. This way, you can compare shop and take advantage of available discounts and incentives. 

Where can you shop? Consider large national banks like Chase or Bank of America, as they tend to have special promotions and automated processes. Also try credit unions and community banks. Credit unions usually have lower interest rates than banks, whereas community banks tend to be more flexible and easier to communicate with. Other options worth looking into are online lenders and financial companies. 

Get Pre-Approved on Your Auto Loan 

Once you have shopped around for quotes, take the next steps to get pre-approved. Having a pre-approval in place shows the seller that you are qualified to purchase the vehicle. And, if you choose to use the seller’s financing services, they’ll know what rates they have to beat, which can result in an ever lower rate for you. 

If you find that you’re not approved for a car loan, be wary of dealers that say they can finance your purchase regardless of your credit. You could end up paying very high interest rates. In this case, it’s better to work on building your credit and trying again for a loan at a later date. 

Know Your Credit Score

Speaking of credit scores, it’s important to know how these numbers affect your ability to get a loan and their influence on your interest rates. Credit scores are important because they tell lenders how likely you are to pay back the loan. Having a high credit number is a good sign, resulting in faster approvals and lower rates. 

According to Experian, buyers with bad credit pay four times more than those with excellent credit. Again, if your credit isn’t good, it may be best to wait on a vehicle and work on improving your score. This way, you can get better rates and loan options when it comes time to buy a repo. 

Manage Your Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)

The loan-to-value ratio is the value of the vehicle you’re buying compared to the amount you’re borrowing. For the best interest rates, you’ll need an LTV of 80% or less. If you have an LTV that is greater than 100%, this means that you’re underwater or have negative equity. If something happens to your car, your auto insurance carrier won’t pay for the total loss, which means you’ll still be on the hook for the rest of the loan balance. 

When shopping around for a repo, be sure to check out your options for financing in advance. This way, you’ll have everything ready to go when you start bidding on vehicles. For a full selection of repo lists from local banks and credit unions, visit RepoFinder.com