Category Archives: Credit and Financing

Even Less Than Perfect Credit Can Get You A New Car

Freeman Grapevine understands that less than perfect credit these days has become a fact of life. With the current state of the economy, there are many who have been hit hard and had their good credit rating nearly obliterated.  For those looking to buy a new car, having bad credit is a virtual “The Scarlet Letter”.

I’m here to let you know that it might not be as bad as you think. There is a lot of misplaced anxiety when it comes to trying to get a new or used car. First, you shouldn’t feel bad, or self-conscious if you don’t qualify for a standard or good credit car loan. The bottom line is that it’s been a tough several years and there are many more people with a bad credit score looking for loans than you’d think. In fact, almost a quarter of Americans have bad or poor credit. The “bad credit” bus has a lot of passengers.  Thanks to this fact, there are actually several companies that could provide you with an auto loan regardless of how bad your credit is.

What should you do first? How about a little research on your credit ranking. Check your credit history annually for reports which are not yours or are certainly not accurate. Since those false reports would decrease your credit score and increase your loan percentage rate, it is worth your time to look at your credit report. You can get a free credit report once a year thanks to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.

Now, how much can you really afford to cover? Remember, these are regular monthly payments. Make sure you have enough for a down payment. Try using this loan calculator to help figure out your monthly payments:  car loan payment calculator.

To seek help from the right people to get your very own car with the best deals, swing by and talk to us. Our guys here at Freeman Grapevine are credit experts and can not only get you a car, but also be the first step in getting your credit back on the road too!

How Can I Get a Better Deal on Car Insurance?

In this economy, Freeman Grapevine wants to make sure that you have insurance that is reliable yet affordable. And if you have a good driving record with no recent accidents, you should see some discounts on your car insurance.

These discounts may not happen immediately, but over time you should see a reduction in your rates.

Several insurance companies are taking performance monitoring to the next level. With the installation of an opt-in diagnostics system that communicates with on-board sensors, insurance providers can monitor driving in real time, and offer lower rates to drivers with proven safety records. Specifically, the devices measure average speed, braking speed, and total time behind the wheel.

For drivers that are below average in these areas, a discount will be rewarded after a month. Discounts can range up to 30% from certain insurers, which can provide significant relief for fiscally challenged motorists. In most states, the devices can lead to never having higher insurance rates. Furthermore,  the program is completely voluntary, with an option to cancel at any time. The devices do not include GPS, so a driver’s privacy is maintained while using the system. [Source: Motorology]


I hope that you do have a good driving record. If you do then you should shop around for the best quotes. The lowest quote does not necessarily mean the best insurance for you. Make sure they have the coverage you will need.

If you are planning to buy a new car soon, now is a good time to call around for your best quotes on a Buicks, GMCs and Used, or you can just come and check out Freeman Grapevine.

Why is Car buying Hard? Part 3: Financing

Shaking hands car dealer

In my previous two blogs, we covered two of the three components of what makes car buying difficult:  price and trade in.   The last piece of the puzzle is financing, which is the biggest variable in purchasing a vehicle and here’s why.

Every customer’s financing history is different.  Maybe a customer has never bought a car before, has no credit history and needs a co-signer.  Perhaps a customer had a very long, excellent credit history, then was laid off and forced to get a job at a significant salary reduction.  Maybe a person has had steady employment for many years, recently got divorced and just doesn’t make a lot. The bottom line is that each person’s needs in regards to financing are different.

Whether you have a good financial history including paying off creditors on time & every month, your monthly income and how many outstanding balances you have, all affect your credit score.  Make no mistake, a customer’s credit score is the biggest component of financing.

A car dealer’s relationship with its lenders is also important.  If a Fort Worth dealer has been in business for many years, they probably have a good rapport with their financial lenders, often making it easier to get a customer approved.  Dealers who work with several banks might be able to offer a wider variety of financial programs to accommodate the array of customers’ financial situations. This will benefit the the shopper immensely.

Want to know the foolproof way to get better financing? Make a larger down payment.   The simple fact is the more money you can put down on a car or SUV, the less that will have to be financed.  The less you have to finance, the easier it will be to get approved.

Here’s a good video to check out:


But no matter what your situation, a good dealership treats every customer how they would like to be taken care of:  with respect.  Remember that the next time you’re car shopping.

New Car Financing: Most Have to Live with it, Few Without.

Unless your are independently wealthy, a trust fund baby or unusually frugal, chances of you needing to finance your new car is probably a given. So, now that we know that you are going to have to rely on a lending institution to put that new GMC truck in your driveway, to out-do Jim down the street who just got one of course, you’ll want the whole financing process to be as easy as possible. 

There’s no doubt that financing can be one of the most stressful and difficult parts of any new car purchase. Here are some tips you can use to find the financing for your perfect set of wheels.

“What can I do to lower the price of my car?” That is a question that many people ask. What many people may not realize, initially, is that financing plays a huge role in the final cost of your new car. The amount of money that was financed, the length of the loan, and the interest rate all impact the final cost of your new car.

All of these things might overwhelm someone who is new to car buying, and it is certainly difficult for even those who have purchased several cars before. Using these tips though, can help anyone get the best possible deal next time they are in the market.

  • Make a Larger Down Payment. Large down payments can help immensely because the more money you put down at the time of signing means that the lender is going to be providing less. This results in lower financing costs. This also shows the lender that you are a fairly solvent or thrifty individual, and therefore a “safe” bet for a car loan
  • Identify Your Needs. The potential buyer needs to understand exactly what they need in a car as opposed to what they want. While it is always nice to be able to get what you want, you only really need to get what you need. The wants are extras that can (and will) drive up the price of the car and therefore increase the amount of money that you need to finance.
  • Know Your Price Range. Knowing your price range prior to new car shopping is going to help keep you from impulse buying something you later find you cannot afford. Impulse buying is one of the leading causes to higher financing costs.
  • Do Your Homework. Check April issues of such magazines as Consumer Reports and Car and Driver. These popular publications issue reports about the new cars coming out that year, examining various categories such as repair rates and issues, depreciation rates, and so on. This information is all needed to be able to make sure you get the best value for the money that you are going to spend. Such information also plays a factor in how much money the lenders are willing to give you at financing time.


If you have any questions about financing a new car or new truck, these guys can help.

GMC Military Appreciation Month
David Gou, Flickr Creative Commons

Last month, GMC instituted their Military Appreciation Month and now that it’s June they’ve extended the special pricing until June 30! This offer is extended to ALL 22 million active duty, reserve duty, retired, veterans and spouses from each branch including the National Guard.

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, GMC and the US Military have had a long and successful relationship. From the days before WWI when the Army was in Mexico cashing Pancho Villa, to WWII when the GMC DUCKW was bringing troops ashore in the Pacific and the GMC Deuce and a Half was chasing Hitler all over Europe, to the trucks chasing Saddam out of Kuwait back to Iraq.

The GMC models, including the Denali trim, which are eligible for the GM Military Discount:

  • GMC Canyon midsize pickup, the newest member of the GMC family and winner of AutoWeek’s 2015 “Best of the Best” Truck award and Ward’s 10 Best Interiors
  • GMC Sierra 1500 – the most powerful light duty pickup on the market – and Sierra HD full-size pickups, all new for the 2014 model year
  • GMC Terrain small SUV and GMC Acadia large crossover
  • Yukon and Yukon XL full-size SUVs, all new for the 2015 model year
  • GMC Savana passenger vans

And this deal extends to 2 vehicles purchased under this program. If you’re buying more than two vehicles this year, the special savings will only extend to two vehicles per veteran.

You’ll need to supply current military ID, or if you are former military, a copy of your DD 214. And to prevent folks from flipping these cars, you’ll have to agree to have possession of the vehicles purchased under this program for a minimum of 6 months. Unfortunately not every dealer is a participant, so if you can’t get a dealer to work with you within this program, you are more than welcome to find any participating dealer!


Knowing your Credit Score Can Make Buying a Car a Snap

It’s true, the more tools you have on your side, the easier the negotiating process is.

Here are few easy ways to raise your credit score I found at

1. Pay your bills in full and on time. Your current bill payment accounts for about 35% of the FICO score.  Missing credit card payments or submitting the minimum due each month will immediately lower scores, as will any debt collections or bankruptcy filings.

2. Build up an active and lengthy credit history. Don’t close out all of those old credit cards! Keeping them open builds your credit history.  This makes up about 15% of the FICO score.  Keep a few dormant accounts active.

3. Don’t open new accounts within 60 days of making a major purchase. This is 10% of your score.  Taking out new credit lines raises red flags because it makes you look riskier.

4. Maxing or topping out your credit cards will drop your score like a rock.   Even using 50% or more of your limit can cause problems because it increases the risk that you may not be able to repay.  If you have five credit cards with a $10,000 credit line each, for example, it’s not wise to carry a balance of more than $5,000 per card.  It’s better to carry smaller balances on several cards than to pile everything onto one card.

5. Get a copy of your credit report. This is very important.  Since credit scores are based on credit reports, it’s very important to make sure the information in your reports are fee of errors and fraud.  Federal law gives you the right to get a free report from each of the major credit bureaus once per year.

6. Hold a wide variety of credit experiences and loans, over time.  This is diversification. You’ll get credit for having a variety of loans. It’s better to have an assortment, including installment plans like auto loans or mortgages rather than simply credit cards.

Here’s an informative video that will explain the importance of understanding how your credit score is calculated and what you can do to raise it.


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask, or come by and see me.

Financing A New Car Loan

Should you want to purchase a used car and wish to have it financed, but do not know where or how to go about it, then this info is for you.  Where do you find financing for a used car loan?  In most cases getting any used vehicles financed will involve paying higher interest rates than any new car loan.  Also having any used car financed could involve a higher rate down payment, but that also varies depending upon your credit score.

First here’s a video differentiating between a loan and a lease just as a refresher;


When you are ready to get a used (previously owned) car financed from a dealership then first you will want to choose a certified pre-owned auto that will be on site and available from the dealers car lot.  Then begin with some negotiating for the price and purchase of this used automobile long before ever getting yourself involved with any arrangements for the financing.  Check prices on line so you have all of your negotiating tools ready when it comes down to sitting with the salesman.

You can get yourself plenty of used car quotes, right over the internet, before you ever start making any deals towards the purchase of a used car.  When you are online be sure to check the terms of the used car loan and also the rate of the interest at one of the many websites that will offer you this kind of information.  Going online for financing will result in you getting some of the best rates available via direct to consumer financing and could help you get the best sales price for your used car.  Start looking around for some alternative financing for a used car loan should you be planning on purchasing a used (previously owned) car.  Many of the lenders will offer a lower interest rate for newer cars than used cars. Finally be sure to know just what your credit score is whenever you are ready to discuss any financing options.

Remember, the higher your credit score, the lower the rates.  Should you have a score above 680, you should be able to get very fair terms in regard to any financing of a used vehicle, via your online source.

If you have any more questions about financing, don’t hesitate to give me a call and I can go over your options in greater detail.

Figure Out Your budget for a New GMC Dallas

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Set a realistic new car budget.

No matter how much you believe your new car budget is, it is still best to figure out a true budget friendly car payment when you are planning to buy a new car. This will enable you to stretch your budget more effectively. Here are the common tips to figure it out.

First Tip: Take Note of the loan’s Length The monthly payment is dependent on the length of the loan. Long term loans are appropriate to those who have a tight budget. The longevity of the period will allow them to raise funds for the payment. The short term loan on the other hand is favorable to those with sufficient money. They are able to pay the loan even in shorter period. Short term loans has lower interests. With long-term loans, however, you’ll encounter higher high interest rates.

Second Tip: Be Sure to Pay a Down Payment No matter how tight your budget is, make sure that you pay the car’s down payment. The down reduces your car’s monthly charge. It also lowers down the interest of the original loan since a large part of this was already paid.

It is also important to pay the necessary down payment because it protects the car from annual depreciation. Most dealers demand a down payment equals to the 20% of the car’s loan value. This rate is also equal to the vehicle’s annual depreciation rate.

Third Tip: Be Aware of the Annual Percentage Rate The Annual Percentage Rate affects your car’s installment payments. Paying the car’s bills with a lower Annual Percentage Rate is beneficial on your part. This could mean that you will be paying the car with lower interest.

Reliable Annual Percentage Rates are obtained from banks. It is helpful if you will conduct good research with several banks. Low APR however are only granted to creditors with good credit records. Those who have bad credit records are left with no choice but to bear the burden of high interest payments.

The three useful tips described above can help you figure out a budget friendly new car payment. It would be better to look for other useful tips to add up to these three. Car payment should as much as possible be budget friendly.

Dallas Fort Worth Buick GMC, What Does It Mean To Be “Upside-Down”

I wrote about being “upside-down” a little while ago, and I think it’s time to revisit that topic. For those of you scratching your heads, “upside-down” means you owe more on the car than it is worth”. This can be particularly frustrating for people looking to buy a new car. If you owe more on your car now than it’s worth, the remaining debt gets wrapped into your new car purchase. Increasing the cost of your new car, but not necessarily the value.

This can be a vicious cycle for a lot of people. How do you stop it? Here are some ways to get out from under being upside-down:

Consider your automotive purchases more carefully in the first place. Look into the “residual,” which is the projected, future resale value. Even though they may cost more up front, vehicles with higher residuals are less expensive to own in the long-term because they depreciate less. Purchase mainstream vehicles. A higher trim level four-door sedan in a fairly common color will hold onto its value more than a lime green sport model with excessive customization. Unless you find a buyer whose taste in personalization is exactly like yours.

Resist the urge to keep buying new cars on a regular basis. Take care of what you have and hang onto it. Pay it off. If you’ve taken care of it, then it will bring more money when you sell it or trade it in. And if you’ve paid it off, you will then have some positive, rather than negative, equity.  Spend a little time and money cleaning it up and ready for sale, but you’ll get more in the bargain.  Fixing it up and spending a few Saturdays waiting by the phone can result in several thousand dollars in your pocket. If you don’t want the hassle, the dealership will be more than happy to take it in trade and make some good money on it.

Here’s an in-depth explanation on being “Upside Down”.


Also check for extra help.

Thanks to

If you have any questions about your car finances, don’t hesitate to give your Dallas Fort Worth Buick GMC dealer, Freeman Grapevine a call. We can try to get you out of that “upside down” situation.

Dallas Fort Worth GMC: Get A New Car With A Lease Takeover

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Your Dallas Fort Worth Buick GMC dealer, Freeman Grapevine is going to let you in on a little secret. Everyone knows that when someone leases a new car or vehicle, it is new only on the first day, right?  The moment they drive off of the lot the depreciation begins. Therefore, if you find a vehicle or car for Lease Takeovers, where the lessee has already paid all the upfront fees that are associated with a new lease (anywhere from $1000-$3000), you can just take over the monthly lease payments and get a great deal.

If you are lucky, the person trying to get out of the lease may be willing to give you a few installments and other monitory incentives just to entice you into the lease takeover. That is why you should not reject a lease takeover and lease transfer option, or offer. It may be financially beneficial for you to at least analyze some offers and weigh the pros and cons of each offer individually and see if you can get a better deal with a lease takeover, rather than opting for a new vehicle lease.


Now, why someone would be willing to pay you some money or offer some incentive for a new car lease takeover?People may want to get out of their vehicle leases due to marriage, divorce, losing a job, a new job, getting a company car, moving to another country, financial problems, etc. Besides this, the lessee may have to face the payment of thousands of dollars in early lease termination expenses.

Before you begin to transfer a lease or continue with this process at all, you’ll first need to contact the leasing agency or company and inquire as to whether or not they allow transferals of their auto leases. Many companies do allow such a transfer, but only after a certain period of time has passed since your lease was initiated. Other companies may not allow you to transfer your car lease at all.

The bottom line is, if someone else is driving the car of your dreams, it might be  a nightmare for them. If you want to learn more about taking over a lease, don’t hesitate to call your Dallas Fort Worth Buick GMC dealer, Freeman Grapevine.