Up Your Car’s Value Before Getting a Title Loan
One of the main reasons title loans are popular is for their reputation of funding loans in a hurry, usually in a day or less. Borrowers who find themselves in a financial pickle can complete the application and pick up their check thanks to a streamlined process.
However, maybe it’s time to look at title loans through a different lens. Maybe your back isn’t against the wall because the roof-is-leaking-I’ve-been-laid-off-the-refrigerator-broke-and-tutition-is-due. Maybe you have a bigger plan and want to maximize the financial opportunity of your auto title loan.
How to Add Value to Your Car
You can add value to your car even if it isn’t an expensive vehicle. We offer a few strategies so you can receive the maximum loan amount while the equity in your car is optimized.
The reason we think you’ll find these tips helpful is that while many assets appreciate in value the older they get, your car is not one of them. It’s estimated that a new car loses as much as 20 percent of their value as soon as they leave the lot.
Do Your Research
It’s always a good idea to “get your ducks in a row.” Use your time wisely and find the best title loan company for your needs. Research the various benefits they offer and which one(s) have the most convenient locations for when it’s time to pick up your check.
Some of the advantages you’ll want to look for include:
- Easy online application option
- Accessible, highly trained loan professionals
- Competitive interest rates – think around 10% as the max
- Generous loan amounts – find out their top loan
- They should offer flexible and/or extended payment plans
- Ask if they require a credit report
- Most good title loan companies have low documentation needs
- Ask if their loan service is free
- More reputable companies don’t require a minimum loan term
- Find out if they assess a penalty if you repay early
Regardless of the company you choose, remember one thing: Your car is the collateral for your title loan. When a someone borrows against their car and is unable to keep up with payments, the title loan company sells the car – so they want the most value for your vehicle too.
Letting your car get rusty or “dinged up” is the fastest way to lose equity. Depreciation is the key to lost value in vehicle ownership.
The easiest way to keep the value in your car is to keep it clean. Your car doesn’t have to be a restaurant on wheels – spilled liquids can cause damage and make your interior look unsightly.
Even getting into the habit of removing clutter – from the glove box and side storage units on the doors – will keep your car looking and smelling new. Don’t smoke in your car or let your passengers smoke.
When talking car resale, many professionals say you can get up to $2,000 extra for a properly cleaned car. Certainly that can also be true for getting a higher title loan amount.
Make sure your car is properly washed and waxed. Don’t use household detergents, as they’re hard on your car’s exterior. Keeping your vehicle waxed protects it from the elements (sun, ice, salt, dirt, etc.,).
Some people think that the clear coat finish is enough protection, but it isn’t. That finish is really just a thin layer that is not durable enough to stand up against the wear.
Treat Scratches and Dents
You should also maintain the exterior by treating minor scratches, dents, and any patches that over time will rust. It doesn’t take much for a little hole in the metal to grow into a gaping, rusty wound.
If you see a little chip in the body paint you can protect it right away with a bit of clear nail polish. That can tide you over until you get to the auto parts store and buy a little can of paint for a better touch up.
Even if you negotiated a really great deal on your car, you’ll still want to make the most of its overall value and equity. In order to safely maximize the equity in your car, some of these suggestions may require you to visit your mechanic.
And while it may cost you some money upfront, you’re accomplishing two things: making sure your vehicle is in top working order for your needs as well as bolstering the car’s worth.
Consider these tips:
- Check your engine and all functions
- Make sure the radio/stereo is working properly
- Inspect any red warning lights that glow on the dashboard
- Be efficient with your mileage
- Make sure interior light is working
- Replace any burned out taillights, etc.
- Rub out or buff any scratches in the steel or chrome
- Replace any cracks or flaws in your rear and side view mirrors
Some experts also recommend you replace old tires. Tires in poor condition not only make your car unsafe, they make the vehicle look old. Another easy fix is floormats – you can pick up a new set of rubber mats at an auto parts store under $40.
An Ounce of Prevention
Small problems can get bigger – and more expensive – if not treated in a timely manner. Don’t let procrastination devalue your asset: That “small” crack in your windshield can easily expand into a spider web-looking mess if left alone.
Not only will the repair be more expensive, if the crack expands while you’re driving, your visibility is compromised and you could cause an accident.
Even if you have a very long commute, your car is more idle than active. So, where do you park it when it’s not in use? Some geographic areas and climate zones can potentially add more wear to your vehicle.
Where Do You Park Your Car?
Do you park your car under a tree during a storm? Do you try to shelter it from the sun? Sun not only damages your exterior, but your interior surfaces.
Make sure you follow your maintenance schedule and that your mechanic signs the owner’s manual properly – as proof you’re conscientious about taking care of your car. Also keep any necessary receipts for tune-ups, etc.
Being proactive is a good habit to get into – not just for the benefit of getting your car title loan, but also for the life of your car.
You want the most from your title loan, and that makes sense. But you also have to see the situation from the role of your title loan lender. They’re not going to give you an extra $5,000 in your loan amount just because you’re a nice person.
You really have to earn it. And the best way to do that is let your sparkling, well-running car do your talking for you.