When it comes to getting a loan, pre-planning goes a long way in understanding your best options. Loans are, unfortunately, a highly personal thing that is applied very differently based on your income, debt level, credit history, and the purpose of your loan. Knowledge can help you to make this work for you and not against you. Here are some tips to better understand how to get the best loan deal for you.
Know Your Credit Score
Your credit score, a number based your financial debt and payment histories, is an important part of getting a loan. The more debt you have in comparison to your earnings and the less responsible you are about making regular, on-time payments, the lower your credit score. This will increase your interest rate when applying for a mortgage or other loan.
Understand the Value of your Collateral
Loans come in two main categories- secured and unsecured. Secured loans are based on the lender’s ability to take an item back if you don’t pay your loan payments. Because of this, the interest rate is typically lower on a car loan payment or a mortgage than on an unsecured loan. The amount of loan you will be able to secure will be a direct proportion of the value of the collateral.
Look at the Present and the Future
Your ability to take a loan today may be different than if you waited a few months and removed a debt. If you have the ability to wait, and you are actively making a plan to improve a credit score or pay down debt, then this is a good strategy. If you need a car or other item immediately, consider a plan that allows you to continue improving your score. When it is improved, you may have the ability to refinance at a lower rate.
Consider Debt Consolidation when Underwater
If your debt has gotten the most of you, then debt consolidation may be a good way to catch up. This bundles all your debt into one loan that you can pay at a single rate. This is only effective if you don’t have consistent spending habits that will help you to avoid accruing new credit card debt.
Once you have a handle on the kind of loan you can get and the rates that are currently available, making a plan for your lending future is always a good idea. Low rates with payments that fit your budget, even during lean times, are always a smart bet.