Applying for a loan is a big step. You want to be fully prepared before you walk into the bank lobby or click the “approve me now” button on your computer. It’s important that you’re organized and have completed a checklist of pre-loan paperwork. There is no better feeling than hearing “yes” to your new car or first home loan. Second only to this is the calming knowledge that you negotiated the best deal and, therefore, will never miss a payment.
Types of Loans
Whether you are seeking a personal loan, taking out a second mortgage to pay for your daughter’s college, or finally starting your dream business, it’s important you understand all the different types of loans available.
- Unsecured Personal Loan
The name alone probably gives you pause. Ironically, this is the primary type of loan held by billions of people. Unsecured simply means the loan is given based on your credit history. As people know, one small change in financial circumstances can cause their credit scores to plummet.
- Secured Personal Loan
This loan is for people who have no credit or are trying to build their score back up. Personal property is required as collateral to extend the loan.
- Business Loans
There are at least six different types of loans for businesses, each tailored to a specific need, including duration of loan, equipment only loans, and credit lines. If you’re considering taking out a loan to start or grow your company, read thoroughly about each one. Business loans are far from being applicable to every circumstance.
Pay close attention to rate of interest you’ll pay over the duration of the loan. In the last few years, borrowers have seen the lowest rates in decades, and it has people scrambling to refinance their house, car, and building loans. However, just because your neighbor got a three-percent interest rate on their new boat doesn’t mean you will. Your credit score and history are indicators lenders use to decide what your interest rate will be and if they will fix the rate for you or allow it to flux based on the market.
Credit History and Length of Loan
This is truly the key to getting the best loan deal. Excellent credit makes you a good risk for bankers. They will reward you by offering you the lowest interest rate. This alone saves you money over the duration of your loan. It also allows you to take out the loan for a shorter period of time (three years vs. six years), therefore saving you thousands on interest. Be sure to ask for a loan with no prepayment penalty. This gives you the leeway to pay more when you can and pay off the loan in one lump sum if and when you hit the lottery.
Your Current Financial “Weather Report”
You are a person, not just a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, when a lender is thinking about loaning you hundreds of thousands of dollars, they look at the numbers. Be prepared to have your most recent taxes available, as well as current payoff amounts for any other loans or credit card debt you are holding. Some banks may ask for proof of employment and residence. Each institution has its own requirements. Just be ready to be totally transparent with your finances, and you’ll get an accurate idea if you can afford the loan.
The idea of taking out a loan can seem overwhelming, especially in today’s complicated debt climate. If you have a consistent job and good credit, go get pre-approved. You might be surprised at what you can afford.