Tag Archives: repossessed cars

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

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. 

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! 

cars in a flood

How to Look for Flood Damage in a Used Vehicle

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Every year, thousands of vehicles are damaged in floods. Some of them are expected to be sold on the used car market, putting consumers at risk. Floodwater damage can lead to safety risks because parts in the engine, transmission and drive train become damaged. This means that they won’t work properly, making cars unreliable and unsafe on the road. 

Fortunately, there are ways to look for flood damage in a repossession or used vehicle. Below we’ll teach you how to spot the signs of floodwater damage and how to keep you and your passengers safe. 

Ask about the Vehicle’s History

The first thing you can do is ask about the history of the vehicle. A dealer can verify that there is no damage, as they must report the car’s condition back to the consumer accurately. However, in the case of repossessions, there may be no way to tell where the vehicle came from. Lenders and banks often have no history on repossessions, which means you’ll have to do some more investigating. 

Check the VIN 

Always check the VIN before buying a used car. There are a number of sites you can use, such as the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VinCheck or Experian’s Auto Check. These reports provide a detailed history report. You can find out if flood damage was reported or the vehicle was given a salvage title. Additionally, pay attention to where the vehicle was from. Were there recent hurricanes or storms in the area? 

Inspect the Interior 

The next step is to check the interior of the vehicle. Responsible sellers will allow you to do this before placing a bid on the repo. Here is what we recommend paying attention to: 

  • Damp, musty odors 
  • Dirt buildup in unusual places
  • Sludge or debris in unusual places
  • Excessive use of deodorizers
  • Unusual aesthetic upgrades, like brand new interior fabric 
  • Rusted or corroded electrical wiring 

Look at the Exterior 

It’s normal for repossessions to have some exterior damage, especially as many sit outside for extended periods of time. But, there are a few things to pay attention to. First, look for moisture beads or fog in the light fixtures. This is hard to remove, so a car with water damage will often have foggy lights. 

Second, check for signs of rust. Corrosion is not common in vehicles that are new or owned in warmer climates. Lastly, there are rubber drain plugs located under the vehicle and doors. If they look like they were messed with, it’s possible they were used to drain water. 

Conclusion 

Make sure to always bring a trusted expert with you when inspecting the repo. There are many great cars out there, and you want to be sure that you walk away with one. To browse repossessions in your area, visit RepoFinder.com today. 

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. 

buying an as-is car

Buying a Used Vehicle: What Does “As-is” Mean?

When you purchase a used vehicle that is marked in “as-is” condition, it means you are agreeing to buy the car in its current condition. If there are repairs that need to be made, you will be responsible for them. Repossessed cars are typically sold in “as-is” condition. If you are considering a repo car, it’s important to understand this term in its entirety. Repos can be great purchases as long as you know what you’re getting into. 

Let’s learn more about what “as-is” means and protective steps you can take. 

What You Get with an As-Is Car Purchase

When buying a car “as-is,” you get the vehicle in the condition that it’s currently in. Usually, the seller will sell the car “as-is” with no warranty. This lets the buyer know they are buying the vehicle without any warranty coverage. So, if you are driving home and the transmission fails, the seller is under no obligation to take back the repo or make repairs. 

Not having this peace of mind makes some people uncomfortable with a repo purchase, but “as-is” doesn’t mean that the vehicle is in poor condition. In fact, many repos are high-quality cars in great condition – their owners just couldn’t afford them anymore. As long as you have the vehicle checked out by a mechanic, don’t let “as-is” scare you away. 

Buying an As-Is Repo Car 

In order to buy an “as-is” repossession, you should take a few steps to protect yourself. It may be harder to get a history report on the vehicle, and it’s possible that the lender won’t know anything about it. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Any information about the repo is helpful in knowing what work may be needed. 

Before making an offer, ask the lender if you can see the vehicle. Reputable sellers encourage this. Bring along a mechanic who will inspect the vehicle to uncover unknown problems. If there are issues found, you can either pass on the repo or negotiate a lower price. 

At the end of the day, being open to “as-is” vehicles is a great way to get a good car at a decent price. You just have to be willing to do your homework and bring along a trustworthy mechanic for an inspection. For a full list of lenders, banks and credit unions selling repossessions in your area, visit RepoFinder.com

credit score before buying used car

What Credit Score Do I Need to Buy a Used Car?

Whether you buy a new car, used car or repossessed car, you’ll need to pay for the vehicle before you take it home. Unless you have the cash upfront, you’ll have to take out a car loan. One of the biggest predictors in the type of loan you get and the interest rate you pay is your credit score. Knowing how important this three-digit number is, what do you need to get a decent used-car loan? 

Average Credit Scores for New and Used Cars 

According to a 2017 Experian report, the average credit score for a new-car loan was 713 and 656 for a used-car loan. A repossession is no different than a used car in the eyes of a bank. But, it’s your responsibility to do your homework. A used car from a dealership might have a warranty, but a repossession will not (unless it’s from the manufacturer). If you take out a loan for a repo and it ends up not running, you are still responsible for paying back the loan. 

So, what happens if you don’t have the average 656 credit score? You can still get a loan, but you can expect to pay more in interest rates. Someone in the low 700s might see interest rates of 5%, while someone in the low 500s might see 15%. Also, the state you live in makes a difference, as some states give higher insurance rates to those with poor credit. 

To break things down, here is a chart of credit scores vs average APRs on new and used vehicles, courtesy of Experian. 

Credit score Average APR, new car Average APR, used car
Superprime: 781-850 3.68% 4.34% 
Prime: 661-780 4.56% 5.97%
Non Prime: 601-660 7.52% 10.34%
Subprime: 501-600 11.89% 16.14%
Deep subprime: 300-500 14.41% 19.98%

Before You Start Shopping

One of the benefits you have when buying a repo car is the financing. When you purchase a repo directly from a lender or credit union, they are willing to work with you on the financing. They are banks, after all, and they make money by lending money.

Because it can take time to find the perfect repo car, use this period to check your credit profile and make improvements. You can request a copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – once a year. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. 

Once you know what your score is, you can get a realistic idea of what interest rates you will be paying. If you have to delay your repo car purchase, bring your credit score up by doing the following: 

  • Pay your bills on time
  • Avoid applying for new credit
  • Keep credit card balances low relative to your limits
  • Leave old accounts open 

For a complete list of repossessed cars, trucks, ATVs, RVs, boats, etc., visit RepoFinder.com today. Our list includes banks, lenders and credit unions that have repossessed vehicles and are willing to work with the public to sell cars and provide financing.

repossessed cars

Buying a Repo Car that Hasn’t Been Driven in a Long Time

It doesn’t take much for a car to be repossessed. In most states, one default can kickstart the repossession process. After default, the creditor can repossess the car at any time and without notice. This is why there are many great repossessions on the market, you just have to be willing to look for them. 

However, not all repossessions go quickly. Extensions may be granted on the loan – unsuccessfully. Then, when the car is finally repossessed, it goes to an impound lot where it’s held for 30 days. If the owner can’t catch up on payments, the lender gets the title and can sell the repo. 

It’s possible that the car you’re looking at has been sitting for a long time. The previous owner didn’t make their payments on time, so it’s almost guaranteed that the vehicle hasn’t received maintenance. How can you safely buy a repo car that hasn’t been driven? 

Here are a few tips to help you make a smart used car purchase. 

Bring Along a Mechanic 

Before bidding on a repo, ask to inspect the vehicle. Reputable lenders will allow you to do this. If you don’t know a lot about cars, bring along someone who does, preferably a mechanic. For a couple hundred dollars, you can get the answers you need. 

Below are a couple ways a mechanic can help: 

  • Check for corrosion and frame rot. If the car was parked outside for an extended period, it will probably show frame corrosion. Repairing this will be very expensive, so it’s best to move onto a different vehicle. 
  • Make sure it runs. If the car ran fine before, it won’t need much to restart. However, if it had problems in the past, think twice about the repo. It could be an easy fix (e.g., dead battery), but it’s more likely to be something major. 

Ask Why the Car Hasn’t Been Driven

The lender may or may not have information on the vehicle. It depends on how they acquired the repo in the first place. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions. Sometimes, lenders can shed light on why a particular vehicle was taken away from its owners. 

Pay Attention to Signs of “Lot Rot” 

“Lot rot” is a term that describes cars that sit too long on a dealership’s lot. The same rules apply for repossessed vehicles that haven’t been driven in a long time. It’s possible that they sat on the street for months without any maintenance. 

Be familiar with the signs of lot rot such as: 

  • Rust
  • Damaged paint 
  • Brake issues
  • Battery that won’t hold a charge
  • Flat spots on tires 
  • Screeching tires 

Even though repos are far cheaper than buying new or used from a dealership, you’re still making an investment that you will be responsible for. If you can’t drive the car off the lot, it’s your problem. This is why it’s important to do your research, ask the questions you can and bring along an expert to look at the vehicle. Fortunately, plenty of repos sit for a long time and manage to start up with no problems! 

To find a repossessed car that fits your needs and budget, browse RepoFinder.com for FREE!