The upside down car?


Trees Full of Money shows us how to deal with a situation where we’re ‘upside down’ on our car loan:

If you can no longer afford your “upside down” vehicle, here is a a better way to get out of your loan:

Step 1
The most important step in unloading a vehicle with negative equity is to accept the situation for what it is. Saying “if I sell my vehicle now I’ll lose money” is not a plan. The quicker you sell your “upside down” vehicle, the less money you loose due to further depreciation.

Step 2
The second step in selling an “upside down vehicle” is deciding on a fair market value. Lately, the value of used vehicles has been just as volatile as the stock market or the price of oil. The fair market value of your vehicle may be significantly more or less than used vehicle pricing guides such as NADA and Kelly Blue Book suggest.

Step 3

Once you’ve established a competitive price, you need to secure funding for the difference between what you owe and what the vehicle will bring.

Step 4
Once you have met the obligations of your loan, it’s time to do a little marketing and salesmanship. I little effort in the marketing of your vehicle can pay huge dividends.

Step 5
When you have identified a prospective buyer for your vehicle, be sure to ask your bank how to proceed with the transaction. Each state has different laws so be sure to contact your state’s motor vehicle division as well.

[AJC: If you do want to sell your financed vehicle, I recommend that you read the full post here, as I have only extracted TFoM’s highlights]

But, where is Step 6??!!

It should be the one that says: how do I buy a replacement vehicle?

You see, unlike many things that you may choose to own, a car is probably a necessity … now, that doesn’t mean that you need the best car, but you do need a car that can achieve [Insert objective of choice: get to/from work; haul stuff around the farm; schlepp the kids; etc; etc].

So, what do you do?

Well, you first try as hard as you can NOT to get yourself into a financed vehicle in the first place …

… you see, almost anybody who has a financed vehicle is in a negative equity situation:

– As soon as you walk a new car off the lot it has depreciated 10% to 30%, yet you still owe 100% – deposit + payout costs on the loan,

– If your loan is longer than a year or two, the car is probably depreciating at a faster rate than you can pay down the loan.

If you’re not convinced that you are already ‘upside down’ on your loan, ask for a ‘payout figure’ from your finance company – this is the amount that they would expect in a check today to hand over the title to the vehicle to you ‘free and clear’ – and, get ready to choke! Go on, try it …

So, don’t get yourself into this predicament!

But, if that is the only way that you can get into your first set of wheels (is it really, truly the only way? Or, are you just kidding yourself?!), or you are already into a financed vehicle, don’t sweat it.

Just take a look at your current monthly payments and the payout cost … if you can payout the vehicle and buy a cheaper one with cash, go for it. But, the chances are you will need to hang onto your current vehicle, as long as you can afford the payments.

Now, if you can’t afford the payments and you ARE upside down on the loan (as you surely will be), you will need some help to negotiate your way into handing back the vehicle, walking away from the loan and finding a way to start again. Now, that’s a whole can of worms that you just don’t want to open …

… so, next time you’re thinking of upgrading your car with a nice little “low-interest dealer loan” … don’t 😉

Be Sociable, Share!

5 thoughts on “The upside down car?

  1. Yes, I know this one all too well and wrote about it here. The end result of my analysis on the situation: hang onto the car and accelerate the car payments. I got myself into a wee bit of a bad situation in the car financing area.

    Cars can be such a nuisance! 😉

  2. >But, if that is the only way that you can get into your first >set of wheels (is it really, truly the only way? Or, are you >just kidding yourself?!),

    I remember when I got my first car; I was in graduate school and thus had a pretty small income. I was tempted to buy a new car- by financing it. I’m very glad I didn’t though; not having a car payment made life a lot easier. Instead I bought a used but reliable Toyota Tercel for ~$5000 for cash. I drove it for about five year and eventually sold it for ~$2000.

    I found the paperwork from the original owner; they spent around $17,000 including a couple of thousand in financing costs on the car when it was new. That was about a year’s income for me at the time, so it really would have been a bad idea.

    -Rick Francis

  3. Never got too much into that financing cars thing. I bout a car (2 years old) financed it, then upgraded to a 1 year old ,financed it, and later my(ex) got us behind on payments. Not a good situation, and certainly wasn’t happy with her for that. Normally thought I try to save up the Cash to pay for a car when a new one is deemed a necessity!!!! I actually prefer to do that with all home needs,such as furniture,satellite dish or lawn care equipment. I never found a need to rush out and buy if I didn’t have the cash on hand to do so.

  4. What ever happened to the videos, I have noticed,its a long time since your last one.

  5. @ Steve – Camera arrived without the charger 🙁 A new one is finally on it’s way (we hope); we should be making some new videos soon. I’ll keep you posted ….

Leave a Reply