Common Questions about Bankruptcy and Buying a Car

bankruptcy and buying a car Q&A

When people need relief from crushing debts, there are two main types of bankruptcy available to them: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Many of the most common bankruptcy questions people ask are about how filing bankruptcy affects the car they already have, or what their options are when they have filed for bankruptcy and discover they need to replace their car. In this article, you’ll find answers to many of the common bankruptcy questions, and especially those that relate to buying a car during or after a bankruptcy.

One of the first questions people often ask is this: What is a fresh start program? You’ll see this phrase a lot when you’re exploring information about bankruptcy car loans. Bankruptcy laws were designed to help people reduce their debts make a “fresh start.” A Fresh Start Program means a loan program designed specifically to help people get the credit they need even though they have filed for bankruptcy. Among the most common fresh start programs are those to help bankruptcy filers get a car loan when they need to purchase a car in spite of an open or recently discharged bankruptcy.

Chapter 7: Common Bankruptcy Questions

chapter 7 q&a
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called a “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation” bankruptcy, is best for people who definitely don’t have enough regular income to ever realistically pay back the debts they owe. Keep in mind that not all debts qualify for inclusion in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Student loans, back taxes, child support, and alimony are typically not included (although in rare cases they may be included).

You will be required to sell off or liquidate any available property or assets to pay back as much of your debts as possible. But you don’t have to sell “exempt” property such as your car or house since you still need a place to live and way to get around. After any non-exempt property and assets are sold, any remaining qualifying debts will be wiped away entirely, giving you a fresh start. Here are the common bankruptcy questions people ask about Chapter 7 and how it relates to their car and buying a car:

Does Chapter 7 cover car loans? 

answerA Chapter 7 bankruptcy can include your current car loan if you want it to. If you include your current car loan in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, then you will have to surrender the vehicle. The upside to doing this is that it allows you to walk away from a car and loan you can’t afford because any remaining debt will be eliminated. The downside, of course, is that you won’t have a car. However, you then have the option of seeking a more affordable vehicle through a bankruptcy car loan.

Does Chapter 7 stop repossession? 

answerYes! If you’re behind on your payments and are on the verge of having your car repossessed, filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy will stop the debt collection and repossession process through what’s called an “automatic stay.” But it’s only a temporary halt to repossession and debt collection. During your Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, the lender can ask the court to lift the automatic stay so they can repossess your car. One option for you is to work with your lender on a plan for how to keep the car. The lender may be willing to reduce your payments, your interest rate, or even your principal balance because they know the debt will be entirely discharged if it ends up being part of the bankruptcy. Another option is to come up with the money to get current on your car loan, which tends to not be an option for most people in bankruptcy. You can also go ahead and surrender the vehicle and walk away from the loan, but then you don’t have a car at all (although a bankruptcy car loan is an option).

Can you keep a financed car in Chapter 7? 

answerYes! But you don’t have to. If part of the problem is that you really can’t afford the car you have, it’s worth considering including it in the bankruptcy, surrendering the car, eliminating any remaining debt you owe, and then getting a bankruptcy car loan for a vehicle that’s more affordable for you. There are lenders out there who see your bankruptcy filing as a positive step to getting your finances back on track. These specialized lenders may be willing to give you a bankruptcy car loan.

Can I buy a car after filing Chapter 7? 

answerYes! You can apply for a car loan at any time, regardless of your bankruptcy status. However, most traditional lenders won’t work with you because of your bankruptcy status, which they see as a huge negative risk factor. But there are other lenders who see your bankruptcy through a more positive lens, so the moment you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you might be eligible for a bankruptcy car loan from a lender who is willing to work with bankruptcy customers.

Can I buy a car before filing Chapter 7? 

answerYou can try to buy a car before filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but you probably won’t be successful. If you’re on the verge of filing bankruptcy, your credit score is probably already very low, which means most traditional lenders won’t take a chance on you. But since you haven’t actually filed for bankruptcy yet, the specialized lenders who work with bankruptcy customers also won’t work with you because they haven’t seen you take the positive step of filing for bankruptcy to make a fresh start.

Can I buy a car after chapter 7 discharge?

answerYes! But once again you have to make a distinction between traditional lenders and lenders who specialize in helping bankruptcy customers. Most traditional lenders will tell you to wait at least two years after your bankruptcy discharge before applying for a loan with them. They still see you as a very high-risk case when it comes to loans. But the specialized lenders who work with bankruptcy customers see your discharge as your fresh start and may be willing to work with you.

How long do you have to wait to buy a car after Chapter 7?

answerYou don’t have to wait at all. If you need to, you can apply for a bankruptcy car loan the day you file for bankruptcy. As soon as you have a Chapter 7 case number, you become eligible to work with the specialized lenders who specifically serve bankruptcy customers. You can apply as soon as you file, at any point while your bankruptcy is open, or after your debts are discharged.

What happens to your car when you file chapter 7?

answerWhen you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are three basic things that can happen to your car. First, can just surrender it and walk away from the loan, as previously described. Second, you can “retain-and-pay” where you include the car loan in the bankruptcy so the lender can’t go after you or your car but you continue to make your payments and keep driving the car (not all lenders go for this arrangement, but many will). Third, you can sign a “reaffirmation” agreement where the loan is not included in the bankruptcy and your promise to make good on your payments moving forward, which means you’re still personally liable and can have your car repossessed if you fall behind in your payments.

Chapter 13: Common Bankruptcy Questions

chapter 13 Q&A

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the idea is that you have enough regular income that you can get caught up on your debts if you just had some extra time. Filing Chapter 13 will stop all the debt collection efforts by those you owe. Then you’ll work with a bankruptcy court trustee to come up with a reasonable payment plan to repay your debts or get caught up on your debt payments over the course of 3-5 years. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called an “adjustment of debts” or “reorganization” bankruptcy because in working out the payment plan with those you owe, many of the qualifying debts will be adjusted in some way, such as reducing the interest rate, the principal, or the payment amount. Giving you this kind of break on your debts, along with extra time, is what allows you to get caught up and back on track with a court-approved payment plan.

Can I surrender my car in Chapter 13? 

answerYes! But you don’t have to. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll have a repayment plan that lasts 3-5 years, during which time debt collection efforts are stopped and you have the chance to get caught up on your debt payments. If at any time during the years of your open Chapter 13 bankruptcy case something changes and you need to get rid of the car, you can surrender it and then at the end of the bankruptcy any remaining debt owed will be discharged.

Can my car be repossessed during Chapter 13? 

answerNo! When you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an “automatic stay” will be issued by the bankruptcy court that stops most if not all debt collection efforts on qualifying debts, including repossession of your car. There is some lag time between when you file for Chapter 13 and the creation of your repayment plan. During this time, you need to pay at least enough towards your car loan to show you’re making an effort. The lender can also ask to have the automatic stay lifted. If successful, the lender could then go after your car. If your car was repossessed right before you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you might actually be able to get your car back. You would want to immediately discuss what to do with your qualified bankruptcy attorney helping you with your case.

Can I get a car loan in Chapter 13?

answerYes! Once you have a confirmed payment plan in place, you might be eligible to work with specialized bankruptcy lenders who see your bankruptcy as a positive step to improve your situation. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to obtain written permission from the bankruptcy court through your bankruptcy trustee that allows you to incur new debt. The bankruptcy trustee will want to make sure you can afford any new debt within your court-approved payment plan. If your current car dies or is totaled in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the bankruptcy court understands you need a car and will work with you to make it happen. But the car you get will need to be one you can afford.

Can I get a car loan after chapter 13 discharge? 

answerYes! Because your credit score will still be low even after meeting the payment plan of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’re best chance of being approved will be by applying for your loan with a bankruptcy car loan company. There will still be eligibility criteria you need to meet, and you’ll need to provide proof of your Chapter 13 discharge if it’s not already showing up on your credit report.

Can I keep my car if I file Chapter 13? 

answerYes! A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to help you get caught up on payments for things like your car and house so you can keep them. The bankruptcy court will do what it can to reorganize and adjust your debts, such as getting interest rates reduced or having the principal decreased in order to give you a chance to get caught up over several years.

What happens to your car when you file chapter 13?

answerIn a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are three basic options for what happens to your car, assuming you still owe money on a car loan for it. First, you can surrender it. When you do this, the car will be sold and applied towards the outstanding balance of your car loan. You still have to keep paying on what’s left, but it will now be considered unsecured debt, and in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment plan, you only end up paying back a portion of your unsecured debts based on what your income can handle, not the full amount. At the end of your payment plan all remaining unsecured debts are eliminated through the discharge process.

Second, you can get caught up on what you owe. If you’re several payments behind, then those can be lumped together and spread out over the course of your payment plan of 3-5 years. You still have to keep up your regular monthly loan payments, and then add the arrears amount on top of that, but because it’s spread out over several years, it’s usually a small enough amount that you can handle it.

Third, you might be able to “cram down” your car loan to eliminate negative equity. For example, if your car is worth $6,000 but you owe $10,000 on it, your principal could be “crammed down” to match what the car is worth ($6,000), which eliminates $4,000 of the debt. The new principal amount is then worked into your 3-5 year payment plan as part of your unsecured debt. But in a Chapter 13, you typically only end up paying back a percentage of your unsecured debts, and what’s left at the end of the payment plan will be wiped away. This means you’ll own your car free-and-clear when your Chapter 13 bankruptcy is discharged. Keep in mind, however, that recent car purchases don’t qualify for cram down. The purchase must have been made at least 910 days (about two-and-a-half years) before filing your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Can I sell my car while in Chapter 13? 

answerYes! You always have the option of selling your car at any time during your Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If selling the car doesn’t cover what you still owe on your car loan, then the remaining debt can be included as “unsecured debt” in your payment plan. You will end up paying some of what you owe based on your income, but probably not all of it. What’s left at the end of your payment plan will be wiped away in the bankruptcy discharge.

General Common Bankruptcy Questions

question

What does bankruptcy do to your credit report? 

answerHaving a bankruptcy listed in your credit report acts like a big red flag to most traditional creditors, who will see you as such a high-risk customer that they won’t extend you any credit at all. But there are also specialized lenders out there who view your bankruptcy as something positive you did to get your debts under control. Those specialized lenders may be willing to give you a loan if you meet their eligibility requirements, although the rates and terms will not be as favorable as those enjoyed by customers without a bankruptcy in their credit history.

How long is bankruptcy on your credit report? 

answerWhether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it will show up on your credit report. And it will stay there a long time. The public record of a bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years from the date it was filed. But with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can request the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) to remove it after 7 years. The various accounts listed on your credit report that were affected by your bankruptcy stay on your credit report for 7 years from the time the account first went delinquent and was then never again brought current.

How do you remove bankruptcy from your credit report? 

answerYou cannot remove a legitimate bankruptcy from your credit report before the time allowed by the law, and any credit repair service who claims otherwise is telling you a lie. The removal of your bankruptcy from your credit report should happen automatically after 10 years from the date it was filed. If it was a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can ask the credit reporting agencies to remove it as early as 7 years after it was filed. This is a “reward” for having used Chapter 13 to pay back some of your debts. You should check the timing of when your bankruptcy was filed to make sure it really does get removed on time. If 10 years have passed since you filed bankruptcy and you’re still seeing it in your credit report, get in touch with the credit bureau and request that it be removed.

Questions About Day One Credit Bankruptcy Car Loans

bankruptcy lawyers we recommend

 

If you find yourself needing a car when you have an open or recently discharged bankruptcy, Day One Credit is here to help! Here are some of the common bankruptcy questions people have specifically related to getting bankruptcy car loan from Day One Credit:

How soon can I get a new loan?

answerAt Day One Credit, filling out our car loan application takes less than five minutes. And then you’ll have an answer from us in just minutes! We send your application out to our specialized network of bankruptcy lenders and then choose the one that has the best rate and terms. When multiple lenders compete for your business, you’re the one who wins!

Do I have to wait until my bankruptcy is discharged?

answerNo! A lot of people think there is some special period they have to wait before applying for a bankruptcy car loan. Whether it’s a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, you do not have to wait until your bankruptcy is discharged. As soon as you have a Chapter 7 case number or a Chapter 13 confirmed payment plan and permission from your bankruptcy trustee or judge, you are free to apply for a Day One bankruptcy car loan, provided you meet our eligibility requirements.

If my bankruptcy is discharged, do I have to wait two years?

answerMany people have heard that lenders want to wait two whole years after a bankruptcy is discharged before they’ll consider making a loan to you. That may be true with many traditional lenders who see your bankruptcy as a negative and consider you too risky, but it is not true for the lenders who are part of the Day One network! If your bankruptcy was recently discharged and you meet our eligibility requirements, you are free to apply.

Do I have to put any money down?

answerMaking a down payment when financing a car purchase is always a good idea if you can do it. But at Day One we understand that many of our customers simply can’t, which is why we do not require it. Many of the lenders in our specialized bankruptcy network have no-money-down programs to help you get the car you need.

What will be my payment?

answerWe cannot predict ahead of time what your monthly payment will be. The amount of your payment depends on factors such as the price of the vehicle, your down payment (if any), the length of the loan, and the interest rate. These all become clear once you apply for a bankruptcy car loan at Day One and we send your application out to our network of lenders. They compete for your business and you end up with the best possible rate and terms for your situation.

What will be my APR?

answerYour interest rate and APR vary greatly because they depend on many factors, including your credit history, the vehicle’s age and condition, the length of the loan, and more. When you have an open or recently discharged bankruptcy, your APR will be higher than customers with good credit. But we work with many lenders and are able to secure the best rate available for your credit situation. If you meet our eligibility requirements, you can apply for a Day One bankruptcy car loan and see what kind of deal we can get for you.

Am I going to get a better rate if my bankruptcy is discharged?

answerThis is hard to answer because it depends on what you did or didn’t do when your bankruptcy was an open case. If you took specific actions while your bankruptcy was open to improve your credit or save up money for a down payment, you might get a slightly better rate. But many people simply can’t wait to get the car they need, and waiting may not make much of any difference at all. In many cases, the best rates Day One can get for your bankruptcy car loan are when you apply before discharge, when the bankruptcy case is still open.

What kind of car and amount financed I can get?

answerThere are no restrictions on the type of car you buy, except that you have to be able to afford it! Affordability depends on your payment-to-income and debt-to-income ratios, which are what lenders look at when evaluating your application. For most bankruptcy customers, what makes the most sense is to look at newer used cars with low miles that are in great shape. You get more bang for your buck and will have an easier time affording a good used car. New cars are so expensive these days that they’re often not a realistic option for bankruptcy customers.

What is going to happen with my old car?

answerIf you still have a car, Day One will give you a fair trade-in value for it, which will help you get your next ride! And if you still owe money on a car loan for it, we can help you figure out the best course of action.

If I signed a reaffirmation agreement can I still get a new loan?

answerYes, you can! When you signed a reaffirmation agreement, all it meant was that you were committing yourself to continued payments on your vehicle’s loan. But you still have the freedom to sell that vehicle and get another if you can qualify for the new loan. That may be difficult if you owe more on your vehicle than it’s worth (being “underwater” or “upside-down” on the loan), but we’ve successfully helped many customers with this exact situation.

Can I get out my current underwater car loan?

answerYes! This is a major advantage of working with Day One. We’ll help you get out of that upside-down loan and get you into a high-quality used car that’s more affordable.

Now that you know the answers to many of the common bankruptcy questions as they relate to your car and financing a car purchase with a bankruptcy car loan, we invite you to explore the Why Day One page to see what we can do for you. If you still have any questions, please feel free to contact us. And if you’re ready, go ahead and apply now!

When people need relief from crushing debts, there are two main types of bankruptcy available to them: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Many of the most common bankruptcy questions people ask are about how filing bankruptcy affects the car they already have, or what their options are when they have filed for bankruptcy and discover … Continue reading “Common Questions about Bankruptcy and Buying a Car”

What Happens to My Car When I File Bankruptcy?

my car and bankruptcy

When people get to a point where they decide they need to file bankruptcy because their debts have become too much for them to handle, those who are unfamiliar with the process and what it involves typically have a lot of questions. One the most important questions many people want to know about is what will happen to their car when they file bankruptcy. This article outlines all the different possibilities so you can decide which option is right for you.

Choose Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 to File Bankruptcy

chapter 7 or 13 car

If you don’t know much of anything about filing bankruptcy, you should work with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to help you with the process.  One of the many things a bankruptcy attorney will help you with is deciding which form of bankruptcy filing is right for you. The two most common options for individuals is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also referred to as a “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation” bankruptcy. If you have significant non-exempt assets/property, those will have to be sold off or liquidated in order to pay down the debts being included in the bankruptcy. Property and assets typically considered exempt from this include your house (because you still need a place to live) and your car (because you still need to get around, commute to work, etc.). If you are still paying on a car loan for your vehicle, that debt may or may not be included in the bankruptcy (more on that later).

After liquidating non-exempt property/assets to pay creditors, any remaining qualifying debts will be wiped away entirely, giving you a kind of “clean slate.” There are, however, various debts that do not qualify to be included in a bankruptcy, such as students loans, alimony or child support payments you owe, and any recent federal/state/local taxes you haven’t paid. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option for those whose income is limited enough that there’s basically no way they’d ever be able to repay their qualifying debts, which is why they get wiped away.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the idea is that your income is high enough that you just need some time in order to get caught up on your debts. The bankruptcy court acts as a go-between between you and your creditors to hit the “pause” button on your qualifying debts and set up a reasonable repayment plan. Over the course of 3-5 years, you’ll be able to get caught up on your debt payments. During that time, creditors are not allowed to start or continue any debt collection actions. The bankruptcy court consolidates the qualifying debts into a single monthly payment you pay to your bankruptcy trustee, who then distributes it among your creditors, meaning you don’t have to have any direct contact with them.

How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Affects Your Car

chapter 7 bankruptcy car

If Chapter 7 ends up being the right choice for you to file bankruptcy, there are three basic options for what happens to your car if you’re still making payments on a loan for it, each of which is outlined below:

Surrender: If what you want to do is get rid of your car and the loan you’re still making payments on, you can just surrender the car to the lender and include the car loan in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. You can literally walk away from the loan, even if you owe more on the loan than the car is worth. If the debt is included in the bankruptcy, then it will be wiped away. The downside to this option, of course, is that you then won’t have a car. So why would anyone ever choose this option? Because it’s a way of getting out from under the burden of car you can longer afford. Surrender the car that’s too expensive for you when you file bankruptcy and then you have the option of getting a bankruptcy car loan for something you can afford.

Retain-and-pay: This is also common in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your car loan is included in the bankruptcy, which means the lender can’t come after you, but you go ahead and keep making payments and hang onto the car. Yes, there will be a lien placed on the vehicle, but as long as you keep making your payments, you get to keep driving the car. Once you’ve paid off the loan, then you can get the lien removed so you’re free and clear. However, not all lenders will go for this type of arrangement. Some will demand what’s called a “reaffirmation agreement.”

Reaffirmation: Some banks and credit unions want you to “reaffirm” your car loan if you intend to keep driving your car during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It basically means you promise to keep making payments on your loan, and remain personally liable for the debt, which means your vehicle could get repossessed if you fail to make your payments.

Which of the above options is right for you? Talk it over with your bankruptcy attorney, who will help you decide which option you should go for, or which option you have to go for based on your situation and the lender who has your car loan.

How Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Affects Your Car

chapter 13 bankruptcy car

Remember that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a repayment plan to help you get caught up on your debt payments. Below are the three basic options for what happens to your car and loan in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

Principal Reduction: This option is how you “cram down” your car loan. You can only do this if you took the loan out at least two-and-a-half years before filing bankruptcy. In this approach, the lender is willing to accept a reduction in the principle balance on the loan down to what the car is actually worth (fair market value). Instead of being “upside down” or “underwater” on the loan, where you owe more than the car is worth, after the cram down you’ll only owe what the car is worth. If you still owe $10,000 on the car but it’s only worth $7,000, the outstanding principal that you owe will be reduced or “crammed down” to $7,000.

Interest Rate Reduction: Another option is get the interest rate reduced on your loan. If part of your struggle to pay your car loan is because it has a high interest rate, this could be reduced by as much as 4-6%.

Arrears Catch-Up: If you’re several payments behind on your car and it hasn’t been repossessed yet, then you can take the total past due amount and stretch out repayment over the course of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy of 3-5 years. This can end up being a very small monthly payment that is easy to handle on top of the current monthly payment you have to continue making.

If you need to file bankruptcy as well as replace your car, Day One Credit is here to help. We’ve spent years developing a great network of the best lenders who specialize in serving bankruptcy customers. When you apply for a bankruptcy car loan at Day One Credit, we send your application out to all the lenders in our network because when they all compete against each other to get your business, you end up being the winner with the best possible rates and terms! Learn more by visiting our Why Day One page, find answers to common questions, feel free to contact us for anything else you want to know, or go ahead and apply now!

When people get to a point where they decide they need to file bankruptcy because their debts have become too much for them to handle, those who are unfamiliar with the process and what it involves typically have a lot of questions. One the most important questions many people want to know about is what … Continue reading “What Happens to My Car When I File Bankruptcy?”

Why Most Car Dealerships Avoid Bankruptcy Customers

dealers avoid bankruptcy customers

Filing for bankruptcy is a big step, but one that will ultimately help you get your debt under control so you can make a fresh start and move forward. But what happens if you file bankruptcy and then realize you have to replace your car? You might go to one of your local car dealerships, only to find out they can’t or won’t help you get the car you need as most dealers do not deal with bankruptcies. Why do most dealerships avoid bankruptcy customers? This article will explain why, as well as what you can do to still get the car you need even when you’re in the midst of a bankruptcy.

Reason #1: Few Lenders Willing to Finance Bankruptcy Customers

not many bankruptcy lenders

The first thing to understand is that there really aren’t that many lenders who are willing to make car loans (or any kind of loan, for that matter) to people with an open or recently discharged bankruptcy. Why is this the case?

Most traditional lenders like to restrict their loans to people who have a great credit score and solid credit history of making payments on time. They make money on these loans by charging interest and fees for making money available to you to buy a car. In other words, they want to get their money back, and then some. People with great credit are the ones who are most likely to repay their loans. The better their credit, the less likely they will default on the loan. They represent the lowest possible risk of the lender losing any money.

Another way of putting this is that traditional lenders are “risk-averse,” meaning they don’t want to take a risk by working with bankruptcy customers. The lenders see bankruptcy customers as a higher-risk group of people who are more likely to encounter difficult in repaying their loan. They simply don’t want to take the risk. When they look at a bankruptcy customer, they see someone who has failed. They see a glass that’s half-empty, to borrow a well-used metaphor.

This is a shame, really, because the whole point of filing bankruptcy is to give you a way to get your financial life back in order. The good news is that there are lenders out there who look at a bankruptcy customer and see a glass that’s half-full. They understand that filing bankruptcy is a positive step to reduce or eliminate your worst debts so you can get back on your feet. These are the lenders who have fresh start car loan programs and are willing to work with bankruptcy customers. Yes, it will cost you more in terms of higher interest rates to get a bankruptcy car loan, but that is understandable since the bankruptcy lender is taking on a higher level of risk by lending to you.

Although it would be nice if there were more lenders willing to work with bankruptcy filers, the reality is that it remains a limited pool of companies. Many dealerships avoid bankruptcy customers because there simply aren’t that many lenders they can work with, and it takes time and effort to develop relationships with those lenders. For many dealerships, it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth the time and effort to try and make this happen.

Reason #2: A Small Market Means Many Dealerships Avoid Bankruptcy Customers

small market for bankruptcy car dealers

And additional reality to layer on top of the lack of lenders who are willing to work with bankruptcy customers is how in most places, bankruptcy filers who need to finance a car purchase represent a small, niche market. In smaller communities, there really aren’t very many people filing for bankruptcy, and not all of them need to finance a car purchase. When you get down to this level of segmenting an audience for marketing purposes in smaller cities and towns, there simply aren’t enough people to justify the time and effort a dealership would have to make in order to set up the relationships with lenders (that are already scarce) and to conduct marketing activities to try and reach those few people. This is unfortunate if you’re a person declaring bankruptcy in a smaller place and need to replace your car because it’s likely your community’s dealerships avoid bankruptcy customers.

But this often situation changes when it comes to larger cities and major metropolitan areas. The market of people filing bankruptcy who need to finance a car purchase becomes big enough that some dealerships see an opportunity to serve a group of people who otherwise will be left out of the process altogether.

Reason #3: Lack of Experience is Another Reason Dealerships Avoid Bankruptcy Customers

lack of bankruptcy financing experience

Even when you’re in a major metropolitan area, though, you still have the situation where most dealerships avoid bankruptcy customers for the simple reason that they lack the experience needed to do it. If a dealership’s experience is mostly working with customers who already have great credit, the idea of learning how to work with bankruptcy customers is a big step. They need to understand the ins and outs of bankruptcy laws and how the process works in order to serve bankruptcy customers.

This is important because people filing bankruptcy or who are considering bankruptcy often don’t know much about the process or what their options are. When they also realize they need a car, they will have lots of questions not just about how they can get a car, but about bankruptcy in general. In other words, there is a certain level of expertise needed in order to serve the needs of bankruptcy filers. Most dealerships simply don’t have the expertise or experience.

At Day One Credit, we’ve been working exclusively with bankruptcy customers for years. We’re deeply familiar with all the different common questions and concerns people have when declaring bankruptcy and how to finance a car purchase in spite of a bankruptcy.

Reason #4: It’s Difficult and Costly to Market to Bankruptcy Customers

marketing to bankruptcy car shoppers

One final reason why so many dealerships avoid bankruptcy customers is that marketing to them as a group is both difficult and costly. A lot of people in the midst of bankruptcy just assume there’s no way they could finance a car purchase, so they try to keep their current car going if they can, or rely on the help of family and friends for rides, or try to get by on public transportation even when it’s impractical and inconvenient. How can a dealership that is willing to work with bankruptcy customers reach them to let them know there are options available to them such as a bankruptcy car loan?

Because filing bankruptcy is a federal court proceeding, there is a public record in the public domain about your filing. Anyone can access these public records through a system called PACER, though very few do it. But a company that does provide services to bankruptcy filers can pay a fee (typically 8 cents/record) to access these records, including the mailing address of anyone who has filed for bankruptcy. One way to reach these potential bankruptcy car loan customers is through direct mailers. That is why most bankruptcy filers receive so much mail after filing for bankruptcy.  These mailers are quote costly for advertisers. Besides paying for each record from PACER, there are then all the costs to design the direct mailer, have it printed, and then mailed out to bankruptcy filers. The expense of this kind of marketing campaign is substantial, and the results are often not very good, often being 1% or less for many campaigns. The difficulty and expense of marketing to this group of consumers is another reason why so many dealerships avoid bankruptcy customers.

At Day One Credit, we are devoted to serving customers who need to finance a car purchase even though they have an open Chapter 7, an open Chapter 13, or a recently discharged bankruptcy. Discover more about how it works, read customer reviews, reach out through our contact us page if you have questions, or feel free to apply now!

Filing for bankruptcy is a big step, but one that will ultimately help you get your debt under control so you can make a fresh start and move forward. But what happens if you file bankruptcy and then realize you have to replace your car? You might go to one of your local car dealerships, … Continue reading “Why Most Car Dealerships Avoid Bankruptcy Customers”

How to Get a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Car Loan

If you’re in the process of deciding you need to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to get relief from large amounts of debt, what should you do if you also realize you need to get a different car? Maybe your current situation has made you realize the car you’re driving now is more expensive than you can afford. Or maybe your current vehicle needs too many expensive repairs or just died altogether. Whatever the reason may be, the combination of needing a car and needing to file bankruptcy can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, you can get a Chapter 7 bankruptcy car loan to get the vehicle you need even while getting a fresh start through bankruptcy. Here’s how to do it in just 7 steps:

Step 1: File for Bankruptcy BEFORE Applying for a Bankruptcy Car Loan

file for chapter 7 bankruptcy

One of the biggest myths out there is that filing for bankruptcy does so much damage to your credit score that if you need to finance a car purchase, you should hurry up and apply for that before you file for bankruptcy. Not true!

If your financial situation and debt load has gotten to the point where you need file for bankruptcy, your credit score is probably already very low. In fact, it may be so low that you you’ll be rejected by traditional lenders. But there are lenders out there who specialize in helping people finance a vehicle purchase once you have filed for bankruptcy, but not before. Before you file bankruptcy, you’re just another person with bad credit. But after you file bankruptcy, then you become a consumer who is taking action to improve your debt situation. With a Chapter 7, a big chunk of your debts are going to just be wiped away entirely. Specialized bankruptcy lenders are the ones willing to recognize that your situation is getting better, and are willing to help you finance the vehicle purchase you need to make.

When you’re on the verge of filing bankruptcy and need a car, getting a bankruptcy car loan is your best option, but you do have to file for bankruptcy first in order to be eligible for one!

Step 2: Assess Your Car Needs Prior to Seeking an Open Chapter 7 Auto Loan

your car needs

Before you apply for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy car loan, it’s important to spend some time thinking through your current car situation and what your vehicle needs are, as well as whether or not you meet the eligibility requirements for whatever bankruptcy lender you end up working with. If you choose Day One Credit, below are the eligibility requirements to keep in mind. Most bankruptcy lending services will have similar eligibility requirements, though these will vary by location and company.

Minimum monthly income: You need to show you’ve got at least a gross income of $2,200 in order to apply for a bankruptcy car loan. If your income is unstable or you know it’s going to be dropping (or your expenses are going to going up, or both), then you probably shouldn’t apply.

Valid license: Your driver’s license must be current and not under any kind of suspension.

You don’t already have the right car: This should be obvious, but if the car you’re currently driving is newer, has low miles, is in great shape, meets your needs, and you can afford to keep making on-time payments on your current loan, you should stick with it! At Day One Credit, our goal is to help get you into a high-quality used car you can afford that will meet your needs.

If your car is already dead, then you clearly need to get something to replace it. You might also notice that your current car is old enough that it seems to need constant repairs, which are starting to cost you more than you can afford. This is another case when it makes sense to go for the bankruptcy car loan. Maybe your family is growing and you need a bigger car. Or maybe you just got a new job that’s further away and you want to get a car with better fuel efficiency than the one you’re driving now. These are all legitimate reasons to try for a bankruptcy auto loan.

Step 3: Consult Your Bankruptcy Attorney

bankruptcy attorney

Most people need the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney to do the filing. You should feel free to reach out to your bankruptcy attorney and get their advice if you have to replace your current vehicle. Your attorney may know of a reputable lender you can work with in your area.

If you’re looking for a bankruptcy attorney because you haven’t filed yet, visit the Day One Attorneys page for our recommendations on who you should work with.

Step 4: Find a Dealership/Lender that Works with Bankruptcy Customers

dealers who work with bankruptcies

Very few dealerships who work with traditional lenders are willing to work with bankruptcy customers. Most dealerships simply don’t have experience working with bankruptcy customers, so they don’t have an understanding of their needs or how to deal with them. In addition, unless the dealership has specifically developed a network of specialized lenders who work with bankruptcy customers, the traditional lenders they work with won’t want to lend to bankruptcy customers.

With all the people filing bankruptcy these days, you might wonder there wouldn’t be more dealerships willing to work with bankruptcy filers. In part, it’s because of a geographical limitation. In smaller cities or rural areas, there aren’t enough people filing bankruptcy for most dealerships to bother going through the work of learning how to serve bankruptcy customers or develop a network of bankruptcy lenders. In major metropolitan areas, however, it’s a different story. In big cities there is enough of a market for some companies to specialize in serving bankruptcy customers.

Step 5: Apply, Get Approved, and Go Car Shopping!

get approved

Once you find the dealership and lender combination that is ready, willing, and able to work with you as a bankruptcy customer, then you can apply, get approved and go car shopping! But it’s also very important for you to avoid making some of the most common and worst mistakes people make with their open Chapter 7 auto loan, which all revolve around buying the wrong car. Whatever you do, don’t buy one of the following:

An older car with high miles. When you settle for an older vehicle with high miles, you often end up paying a lot more in repairs that you expected. When you add all those repair costs to the what you’re already paying for the car, you might have been better off paying a higher price on a newer vehicle with fewer miles that doesn’t need to be in the repair shop all the time.

An expensive luxury car. Filing for bankruptcy gives you the chance to make a fresh start, but it’s up to you to be responsible and buy a car you can afford if you want to rebuild your credit. If you go for an expensive luxury car, you probably won’t get approved. And even if you managed to get approved, what will you do if your circumstances change and the car becomes too expensive for you to keep? Be realistic about your circumstances and what you can truly afford.

A brand-new vehicle. Buying a brand-new vehicle is a bad idea because of the depreciation factor. In the first several years your new car loses 15-25% of its value each year, which means you’ll be “underwater” or “upside” down on the loan for years to come. When you buy a high-quality used vehicle, it’s the previous owner who already took the big hit on depreciation, which means you’re getting a great car for a lot less money!

A salvage car. Salvage cars are cheap, but almost always come with a host of problems that will start popping up and costing you tons of money in repairs.

A car you can’t afford. The last thing you want to do with your fresh start from bankruptcy is buy more car than you can really afford. If you experience any kind of hiccup with your income, you could end up in trouble. You should avoid even going for anything that results in a monthly payment that would be a stretch for you to make. Set yourself up for success by shopping for vehicles that are well within what you can afford.

A lemon. Cars with prices that seem too good to be true are probably just that! There could be hidden frame damage, flood damage or all kinds of other safety issues that will end costing you way more than you bargained for.

At Day One Credit, we serve as the go-between to meet all your needs, both in terms of finding you the best Chapter 7 bankruptcy car loan from our top-notch network of lenders as well as helping you find the right car for your bankruptcy situation.

Step 6: Surrender Your Current Car (if you have one)

surrender your car

If you have positive equity in your current car, any dealership you work with on purchasing your next car should be willing to take your current vehicle off your hands, even if it’s no longer running, and also offer you a fair price for it as a trade-in. It’s probably wise to get the dealership to value your trade-in before you even say you’re shopping for another vehicle. This forces them to make you as fair an offer as they’re going to make rather than low-ball an offer and divert your attention away from that by focusing on the car you’re going to buy from them.

If you have negative equity in your current car and/or do not want to trade it in, you can surrender your vehicle to your lender.  Ask the dealership you are working with if they can help you with the process as it may take time for the lender to pick up the vehicle.

7. Enjoy Your Ride and Make All Your Payments On Time

timely payments

Your last step is to enjoy your ride! But not just that. You recently filed for bankruptcy, so you know the painful reality of struggling financially. Now you’re getting a fresh start through bankruptcy, which means you can immediately start to rebuild your credit and boost your credit score by making all your car payments on time, every month.

Ready to find out how Day One Credit can help you get the car you need with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Car loan? Get in touch or jump right in and apply now!

If you’re in the process of deciding you need to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to get relief from large amounts of debt, what should you do if you also realize you need to get a different car? Maybe your current situation has made you realize the car you’re driving now is more … Continue reading “How to Get a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Car Loan”

10 Bankruptcy Car Loan Benefits

bankruptcy car loan benefits

No one wants to declare bankruptcy. There’s a good deal of stigma attached to it. It’s stressful, and even more so when people make you feel like filing bankruptcy is some kind of failure. While it’s true that some people find their way into bankruptcy because of bad choices and poor spending habits, there are many more who have to file through no fault of their own. In fact, the most common reason people declare bankruptcy is because of an illness or accident that leaves them with staggering medical bills they will never be able to pay. Health insurance is great, but it doesn’t always cover everything, and the costs of medical care continue to spiral out of control. Now imagine how you’ll feel if you file for bankruptcy and then discover you need to replace your car as well. More stress! But this is when you need to find out about the 10 Bankruptcy Car Loan Benefits.

General Bankruptcy Car Loan Benefits

general car loan benefits in bankruptcy

There are several bankruptcy car loan benefits that can be gained from any provider who serves up loans to people with challenged credit, including the following:

Improve Your Credit Score. When you realize filing for bankruptcy is the only way you’ll be able to get your debts under control, your credit score will probably be as low as it’s ever been. And then you find out that the bankruptcy will be on your credit reports for at least 7-10 years for other lenders to see. How will you ever get a new line of credit if you need one? But the moment you file is when you have the opportunity to start rebuilding your credit history and moving your credit score up instead of down. There are specialized lenders who recognize that filing bankruptcy is a positive thing. It will either result in your worst debts being totally eliminated (Chapter 7 bankruptcy) or create a reasonable repayment plan that will get you back on your feet (Chapter 13 bankruptcy). Financing the purchase of used car with one of these specialized lenders offers you the opportunity to show the credit bureaus how you can make on-time payments on a new line of credit. This is how you get your credit score moving in the right direction!

Get Out of a Bad Loan. Lots of people in a bankruptcy situation feel trapped by an “underwater” or “upside-down” car loan, meaning they owe more on the vehicle than it’s worth. One of the best bankruptcy car loan benefits is the opportunity to ditch the bad loan and get into a great used car you can actually afford.

Upgrade Your Ride. Other people have filed for bankruptcy or had one recently discharged and are struggling to keep their older car with lots of miles on the road because it keeps needing more repairs, which add up to be quite expensive over time. You can use a bankruptcy car loan to drive a better car with fewer miles on it in good enough shape that it will actually cost you less in the long run!

Better Loan Rates. You might think that being in a bankruptcy situation automatically means you’ll have to settle for the highest interest rates out there on a used car loan. Not so! People who have a horrible credit score who haven’t declared bankruptcy get the worst rates of all. Why? Because as previously mentioned, the lenders who specialize in serving bankruptcy customers realize that declaring bankruptcy is a sign you’re taking action to improve your situation. When some of your worst debts are wiped away or part of a reasonable repayment plan, your debt-to-income ratio goes down, and bankruptcy lenders reward you for that with better rates than people with bad credit who haven’t filed. Their debt-to-income ratio is higher and they have no prospects of improvement.

Day One Credit Bankruptcy Car Loan Benefits

day one credit bankruptcy car loans

There are eight more bankruptcy car loan benefits you can gain if you choose to work with Day One Credit, including the following:

Deep Experience. Day One Credit was founded by the same people who started the Auto City used car dealership in El Cajon more than a decade. Working with with bankruptcy customers to find the financing they need has been a part of the core mission of this team from the very beginning.

Robust Network of Lenders. We’ve spent years putting together the most incredible network of lenders you can imagine. The lenders we work with have special programs to serve bankruptcy customers of all kinds.  When we get all these lenders competing for your business at the same time, you end up with the best rates and terms possible for your credit situation.

Affordability. We help many of our customers find bankruptcy car loans that don’t require any down payment at all. Of course, if you’re able to make a down payment, you definitely should. But if you can’t make a down payment, that doesn’t have to keep you from getting the loan and car you need. We’ll also help you make sure you end up with a car and loan you can afford. It doesn’t do any good to you or us if you stretch yourself too far and end up delinquent on your payments.

Trusted. The good work we have done on behalf of our bankruptcy customers has not gone unnoticed. In fact, great bankruptcy attorneys in the San Diego area recommend us and refer their customers to us if they need a car when they’re also filing for bankruptcy. Needless to say, our customers are super-appreciative of the results we get for them, as well as our excellence in customer service. We treat each and every customer like a VIP!

Know-How. Because we’ve been doing this work for so long, we know all the common questions people tend to ask, and we are always ready to give the answers that help our customers navigate the bankruptcy car loan process. Our goal is always to educate our customers so they feel confident they are making an informed decision.

Getting a Great Car. The top-notch inventory of used cars we offer through Auto City can’t be beat. Each and every vehicle comes with fair up-front pricing (no haggling, ever), a 6-month warranty, and 3-day test drives including a 3-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any bankruptcy car loan company that also offers all these perks to get you into the used car that’s right for you.

Many people view filing for bankruptcy as some kind of ending, but you’ll be much better off if you view like a new beginning. Bankruptcy laws were designed to give you a fresh start. You owe it to yourself to make the most of this fresh start. And one of the best things you can to do with it is to start rebuilding your credit. Instead of thinking of bankruptcy as something that’s holding you back, think of it as the launching pad into a brighter financial future, because that’s exactly what it is. Now that you know about all 10 bankruptcy car loan benefits, what are you waiting for? The loan and car you need are just a few clicks away. Get started today!

 

No one wants to declare bankruptcy. There’s a good deal of stigma attached to it. It’s stressful, and even more so when people make you feel like filing bankruptcy is some kind of failure. While it’s true that some people find their way into bankruptcy because of bad choices and poor spending habits, there are … Continue reading “10 Bankruptcy Car Loan Benefits”

How Reaffirmation Affects Bankruptcy Car Loans

Filing for bankruptcy can be a confusing process for first-timers, which is why we always recommend working with a qualified bankruptcy attorney if you want get a fresh start and regain control of your financial life. One thing people often don’t understand about bankruptcy is what reaffirmation means. In this article we’ll explain what you need to know about reaffirmation, as well as how reaffirmation affects bankruptcy car loans when you need to replace your car with an open bankruptcy case.

What is Reaffirmation During a Bankruptcy?

When you file for either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, one of the things you have to do is decide which debts are going to be included in the bankruptcy filing and which ones will not be included. Typically, you’ll be including most or all of your unsecured debts (credit cards, personal loans, etc.). But there are some things you own and are making payments on that you need to keep – like your car. If you want to keep your vehicle in bankruptcy, the way you do it is to enter into a reaffirmation agreement with the lender. The reaffirmation agreement means you’re committed to keeping up your payments on your car loan and will not include that debt in the bankruptcy. After all, you still need a vehicle to get around, right? You should only enter into reaffirmation agreements on debts that are for things you really need to keep – and make sure you can afford to keep up the payments and make those payments on time. Also keep in mind that when you sign a reaffirmation on a car loan, the lender may not report your loan payments to the credit bureaus while the agreement is in place, essentially forcing you into several more years of payments to pay off the car, but without those payments helping to improve your credit score.

Check to See if Your Car is Exempt from Bankruptcy

Depending on how much real equity you have in your car, it might fall into the exempt property category in California. If your car is exempt, then you get to keep it during bankruptcy without going through the reaffirmation process. In California, you get to choose between two different exemption schemes. Your bankruptcy attorney can help you figure out which one is best for you depending on all the different kinds of property you own. But when it comes to your car, here’s what the two different schemes consider exempt: In System 1 (704) up to $3,050 in car equity is exempt and in System 2 (703) up to $5,350 in car equity is exempt. These figures are updated every three years. Since these are the figures from 2016, new figures will be in April of 2019 to account for changes in the cost of living.

Your equity in the car is the difference between what you owe on the loan and what the car is worth. If you owe more on the loan than the car is worth (meaning you’re “upside down” or “underwater” on the loan), then you have no equity in the car and it cannot be exempted from the bankruptcy. If you want to keep that car, you’d want to enter into a reaffirmation agreement on that debt. But, if you have a car that’s worth $10,000 and you only owe $7,000 on it, then you have $3,000 of real equity in the vehicle, which falls under the threshold of both exemption systems. This means your ownership of the vehicle is protected from creditors during bankruptcy as long as you keep making your payments on time.

Note that if you choose System 2 (703), there is an additional “wildcard” exemption of $1,425 that can be applied to any property you want. Let’s say you have that same car mentioned before that’s worth $10,000 but now you owe only $3,500 on the loan. You have equity of $6,500 in the car, but the vehicle exemption is only protecting $5,350 of that equity. What about the other $1,150 of equity you want to protect? If you want to have it all exempted, you could take $1,150 of your wildcard exemption and apply it to the vehicle so all of your equity is protected from the bankruptcy.

Does Reaffirmation Affect Bankruptcy Car Loans?

It’s important to make sure you understand one aspect of reaffirmation that a lot of people get wrong. Many people think that if they sign a reaffirmation on their car loan, they are somehow “locked-in” on that loan and have to ride it out to the bitter end. Not true! You are totally free to sell that car and get another vehicle if that’s what you need to do, but you need to be careful.

What you need to pay special attention to is whether you have positive or negative equity in the vehicle. If you’ve signed a reaffirmation agreement, some lenders require you to first cover all or at least half of the balance before they will offer you a new loan, and even then the terms may not be very good. If you have positive equity in the car, you should have no problem getting the bankruptcy loan you need, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements. You can use the positive equity as a down payment towards your next loan. You can also cancel a reaffirmation agreement and then apply for a bankruptcy car loan through a fresh start lending program. The window for canceling a reaffirmation agreement is either before your bankruptcy is discharged or within 60 days of when you the reaffirmation agreement was filed with the court (whichever date is later). If you’re past both those dates and want to cancel a reaffirmation agreement, enlist the help of an attorney.

For example, let’s say you signed a reaffirmation agreement on your car loan. By doing so, you committed to keep making your payments on the car loan. But what if you realize keeping up the payments is going to be harder than you thought? Or what if your family is growing and you need a bigger vehicle? Having positive equity in your current vehicle is the best way to ensure you can get a new loan to buy your next car, but even then there is no guarantee. You’ve been making your loan payments and thinking your credit is improving, but if the lender has not been reporting those payments to the credit bureaus, your credit score might be worse than it was before the bankruptcy! And, as mentioned earlier, if you have negative equity in the car, a lender could require you to cover 50% to 100% of the balance of the loan before they will consider giving you a new loan with better terms.

As you can see, this aspect of bankruptcy that’s about property exemptions and reaffirmation agreements can become complex if you have a lot of different kinds of property. You have to figure out which of the two different California exemption schemes is the right one for you, and then also determine if you should do a reaffirmation on your current car loan. This is why Day One recommends you work with one of the bankruptcy attorneys we know will treat you right . And if you need to replace your current vehicle after filing bankruptcy, Day One is your best choice for bankruptcy car loans. Our process is fast and gets incredible results for you. Contact us for more information or start our online application now!

Filing for bankruptcy can be a confusing process for first-timers, which is why we always recommend working with a qualified bankruptcy attorney if you want get a fresh start and regain control of your financial life. One thing people often don’t understand about bankruptcy is what reaffirmation means. In this article we’ll explain what you … Continue reading “How Reaffirmation Affects Bankruptcy Car Loans”

10 Bankruptcy Car Buying Mistakes to Avoid

bankruptcy car buying mistakes

When you realize that the mountain of debt you’re facing for whatever reason is way more than you’ll ever be able to handle, filing for bankruptcy offers you a way out. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll work with an attorney and the bankruptcy court to come up with a reasonable payment plan that will get your debts back under control – something that can take anywhere from 3-5 years to achieve. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all your worst debts are completely eliminated, leaving you with only those you need to maintain (such as your house, car, and student loans). The decision to file and the process of filing for bankruptcy causes a lot of stress for most people going through it. If they discover they need to replace their car, the added stress causes many people to make one or more of the 10 bankruptcy car buying mistakes. This article explains each one, and how you can avoid all of them.

1. Paying Cash for a Car

paying cash for a car

People with fantastic credit who can pay for a car in cash should always feel free to do so and avoid all the interest payments of a financed purchase. But if you in a bankruptcy situation, paying cash for a car is one of the worst bankruptcy car buying mistakes you can make. Why? Because one of your primary goals in filing bankruptcy is to start rebuilding your credit history and increase your credit score.

What the credit bureaus are looking for is how you now handle new lines of credit. If you pay cash for a car, nothing gets reported to the credit bureaus, which means you won’t gain any credit-improving benefits! One of the fastest ways to start restoring your credit is by financing the purchase of a vehicle and making on-time payments, each of which will be reported to the credit bureaus.

Although the costs of the loan mean you’ll end up paying more than you would with cash, it’s worth it in order to improve your credit score. You’ll end up having more credit options available to you for other kinds of loans like a mortgage to buy a house, a home equity loan to make improvements to your house, and qualify for better credit cards. Can you afford to miss out on all those benefits? Day One Credit has a strong network of lenders who specialize in serving bankruptcy customers, whether it’s a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13, or a recently discharged bankruptcy.

2. Buying from a BHPH Dealer

buy here pay here

What is a BHPH dealer? It’s an acronym standing for “Buy-Here-Pay-Here car.” This kind of car dealership offers what some people call “in-house financing.” It means the dealer is not only selling you the car, it is also loaning you the money to make the purchase. This is one of the most serious bankruptcy car buying mistakes you should avoid at all costs! If you’re not sure whether or not a dealer is a BHPH, one sign is that they almost always guarantee approval.

The problem is that the terms of the loan are probably going to be horrible. BHPH dealers are notorious for taking advantage of credit-challenged people by charging grossly high interest rates. Then, to add insult to injury, they often hide all kinds of fees and other inconvenient terms in the fine print of the finance contract. For example, the contract might specifiy that you have to make weekly payments instead of monthly payments, and if you’re late on just one payment they will repossess the car! No one should settle for those kinds of shady practices.

At Day One Credit, we don’t make loans, we find loans. We send your application out to all the lenders in our network who have special programs for bankruptcy customers. These lenders are competing for your business, which means you’ll end up with best terms possible for your particular credit situation.

3. Purchasing an Older Car with High Miles

older car

When bankruptcy filers assume there’s no way they could ever get approved for a car loan, they often end up trying to spend as little as possible on a car they can buy for whatever little cash they have. What the end up being able to afford without financing is often an older car with a whole lot of miles on it that’s not in the best of shape. But here’s the thing: When you settle for an older vehicle with high miles, you often end up paying a lot more in repairs that you thought you would. If you add all those repair costs to what you’ve already paid for the car, you might realize you would have been better off paying a higher price on a newer used vehicle with fewer miles that doesn’t need to constantly be in the repair shop.

Other kinds of cars you should avoid at all costs are those with salvage titles and those that are clearly lemons. Cars with prices that seem too good to be true are probably exactly that. If shop the bottom of the barrel, you inevitably get what you pay for, and then some in the form of hidden frame damage, flood damage or all kinds of other safety issues that will cost you way more than you bargained for. Financing a better used car will save you money in the long run, as well as help your rebuilt your credit.

4. Getting a Brand-New Vehicle Instead of Used Vehicle

new car

When you’re in an open or recently discharged bankruptcy situation, you need to make smart choices in order to make the most of the fresh start bankruptcy provides. The smart choice here is to get the most bang for your buck as possible, which makes buying new one of the most common bankruptcy car buying mistakes people make. Why is purchasing a brand-new vehicle a bad idea? The reason is because of the depreciation factor. In the first several years your new car loses 15-25% of its value each year, which means you’ll be “underwater” or “upside-down” on the loan for years. But if you buy a high-quality used vehicle, the previous owner has already taken the big hit on depreciation, which means you get a great car for a lot less money!

5. Choosing an Unaffordable Vehicle such as a Luxury Car

luxury car

This one is a variation on making responsible choices as a bankruptcy car buyer. Can you really afford a luxury car? Would it be a stretch to afford it? What will you do if something changes and your income goes down? At Day One Credit, we help people be realistic about what they can afford. After all, the last thing you want to happen when you’re trying to rebuild your credit is bite off more than you can chew and end up being delinquent on your car payments. What many people don’t realize is that there’s more costs to owning a luxury car than just the price tag and monthly payment. Luxury cars cost a lot more to insure, and they’re also going to cost more to maintain and repair when something goes wrong.

6. Failing to get GAP Insurance and Service Contracts

GAP and service contracts

What is GAP insurance? This is another acronym that stands for Guaranteed Asset Protection. It’s a type of insurance that covers any “gap” between the balance of a loan due on a vehicle and what an insurance company pays in the event of a total loss. In case you didn’t know, those two figures rarely match up. The insurance company often pays less for the car than what you still owe on it. No one likes being stuck with payments on a car that no longer exists, and GAP insurance is what protects you from that scenario. Service contracts are another kind of insurance that help pay for maintenance and repairs when needed. Please note that service contracts vary widely in terms of what is covered, for how long, and with what kind of deductible you have to pay. Read the fine print before signing on the dotted line!

7. Replacing a Great Car

great car

You would be surprised how many people in a bankruptcy situation make the mistake of getting a different car when they don’t even need one to being with. Yes, you want to rebuild your credit, and financing a car purchase is a great way to do that, but it should never be your only reason to do it, and especially if you already have a great car. Here’s what Day One Credit offers as a rule of thumb in this situation: If your current car is less than five years old, has relatively low mileage, and is paid off or close to being paid off, you should definitely stick with it! There are other ways to start rebuilding your credit, such as getting a secured credit card.

8. Buying a Car for Someone Else

someone else

Whether it’s your child, other family member, or a friend, buying a car for someone else may be a very generous thing to do, but often ends up being one of the worst bankruptcy car buying mistakes you can make. Remember, your top priority with a bankruptcy is to get your credit back into good shape. But when you buy a car for someone else, can you guess who is on the hook if something goes wrong? The answer is YOU! When you’re trying to restore your credit, the last thing you should do is become the one who is ultimately financially responsible for someone else’s vehicle no matter how responsible you think they are.

9. Having a Cosigner Who did Not Also File for Bankruptcy

co-signer

You have to be very careful to understand the situation you have with your current car and its outstanding loan if you decide to declare bankruptcy but had a cosigner on the loan. If you declare bankruptcy but your cosigner doesn’t, the lender can (and will) go after your cosigner to collect on the remaining debt. This can cause a great deal of pain and heartache between two people, so be sure you know the details of your current situation. Day One Credit is always happy to help you understand all your options – just contact us!

10. Lacking a Valid License

valid driver's license

Most lenders are going to require that your driver’s license be valid, up-to-date, and not suspended. You should not try to get a car at all if you lack a valid driver’s license because it could land you in some serious trouble. Don’t do it!

If you’re in a bankruptcy situation and you need a car, you won’t find a better option in the greater San Diego area than Day One Credit. Read our Why Day One page and see for yourself!

When you realize that the mountain of debt you’re facing for whatever reason is way more than you’ll ever be able to handle, filing for bankruptcy offers you a way out. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll work with an attorney and the bankruptcy court to come up with a reasonable payment plan that will … Continue reading “10 Bankruptcy Car Buying Mistakes to Avoid”

10 Signs it is Time to File Bankruptcy

10 signs to file for bankruptcy

Looking at all the different debts you owe versus what you make in terms of income can be an eye-opening experience. Some people go through life not paying attention to the big picture of their debt and income until something happens that forces them to do it. When the reality of the picture sinks in, it can cause a wave of panic, often followed by despair at what might feel like a hopeless situation. This is when filing for bankruptcy might be your best option to reduce your debts and work towards a brighter financial future. This article describes 10 different signs to help you realize when it’s time to file bankruptcy.

1. Struggling to Pay the Basics

struggle basic needs

If you find yourself having to choose which basic bills you can afford to pay each month and which ones to put off until next time, you’re either not earning enough income to meet your basic needs or have to send off too much of your income to keep up with your debts, leaving less for the basics. This can be the result of losing a job or experiencing a sudden medical emergency not fully covered by your health insurance (if you have health insurance to begin with). If debt payments are getting in the way of meeting your basic needs and normal bills, it may well be time to file bankruptcy.

2. Minimum Payments (or less) on Credit Cards

credit card minimum payments

Missing the occasional payment here and there on a credit is not a big deal. But if you find yourself in a situation with multiple credit cards and high balances where all you can ever do is pay the “minimum due” amount (and sometimes not even that much), you should definitely look at the rest your finances and see if it all is trying to tell you it’s time to file bankruptcy. Another variation on this problem is when you take a cash advance out on one card to make the payment on another, or if you’re constantly transferring balances to new cards. These are just delaying tactics that won’t solve your credit card debt problems in the longer term. In fact, it typically worsens the problem by allowing the debt to grow over time.

3. Collection Agencies are Constantly Calling

collection agencies

If you’re late on a loan payment, the company holding the loan will probably do an auto-call to remind you to make a payment. If the debt has been turned over to a collection agency because you’ve missed several payments, you can expect the calls to ratchet up in terms of frequency. Ignoring the calls is not a long-term strategy to free you from the mounting pressures of the debts you owe, which means it might be time to file bankruptcy.

4. Using Credit Cards or Personal Loans to Pay for Necessities

personal loans and credit cards

Some people purposefully use credit cards to pay for necessities because they earn rewards for their spending, such as frequent flyer miles and so on. That’s fine if they’re paying off their balance from month to month. But if you’re using credit cards to pay the basics because you don’t have enough money coming in, you run the risk of running up more credit card debt than you’ll be able to handle. This can be a reason to look at whether or not it’s time to file bankruptcy.

5. Debt Consolidation Looks Good

debt consolidation

You’ve seen the offers to consolidate your debt with a company that also promises to lower your overall monthly debt payment. This sounds great from a cash-flow perspective because you’ll have more money each month to spend. It is rarely, however, a good idea in the bigger picture of your financial future. The consolidation gives you a lower monthly debt payment by spreading the payments out over a much longer period of time, which also masks the interest you’ll pay over those years. This can mean you’ll end up paying significantly more than your original debts in the long term. You might be better off realizing it’s time to file bankruptcy.

6. Lawsuits from One or More Debt Collectors

lawsuits

If you receive a court summons because you’ve ignored the attempts of debt collectors to get you to pay up, it’s important to understand that you could end up being responsible for all the court costs and other legal fees involved in the lawsuit. Filing bankruptcy will stop the lawsuit in its tracks and help protect you from other actions of debt collectors.

7. Wage Garnishing

wage garnishing

After a lawsuit has been decided in favor of the debt collector, they have legal recourse to do things to get their money, although this varies by state. In some cases they can freeze your bank account. In other cases they can garnish your wages, which means your employer will be required to hold back a certain amount of your paycheck until the debt is paid off. Proactively filing for bankruptcy can prevent these sorts of things from happening. And make no mistake, wage garnishment is not as uncommon as you might think. Some estimates say as many as one in ten Americans have their wages garnished to pay off debts.

8. Foreclosure on Your Home

foreclosure

If you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments and foreclosure is looming on the horizon, bankruptcy can be a way to figure it all out and keep your home, either by eliminating many of your debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or sticking to a reasonable repayment plan over 3-5 years in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

9. You’re Tired of Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck

paycheck to paycheck

If every month is a major struggle because of your debt, it’s worth taking time to figure out what’s really going on. If the debts you owe total up to more than half your annual income, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your debt under control in the foreseeable future. Missing multiple payments can result in vehicle repossession, student loan default, collection agencies and lawsuits. All of which will keep your credit score going down instead of up. Filing bankruptcy can help you turn that situation around (note that student debt is almost never covered by bankruptcy, so you’ll still have to make good on that).

10. Your Income Isn’t Going to Go Up and You’ve Spent Your Savings

savings

Sometimes people who are struggling to keep up with their debts think they can hold out for more income, whether it’s getting a better-paying job or taking on an additional job (or two). But you need to be realistic about this. If the reality is that your income is not going to be going up any time soon, or only by a little bit, then your overall situation isn’t really going to change, which might mean a better approach is seeing it’s time to file bankruptcy. If you look ahead and come up with a real plan to pay off your debts but it’s going to take longer than five years to do it, bankruptcy is probably a better option. What often goes along with this is running through all your savings to maintain debt payments and living expenses. If all the savings are gone and you still have more debt than you can manage, it may be time to file bankruptcy. If you haven’t already started spending your savings, then don’t! Protect your long-term financial health and that of your family by exploring bankruptcy as an option.

When more than one of the signs listed above apply to you, then it’s probably time to file bankruptcy. You’ll need the help of a qualified attorney to ensure it’s the right option for you and to make it happen.  Day One Credit is pleased to recommend any of the lawyers listed on our Bankruptcy Attorney Page.  Alternatively, also check out our post on how to choose a good bankruptcy lawyer.

If you are considering filing bankruptcy or have recently filed and realize you need to replace your car, Day One Credit specializes in bankruptcy car loans to make sure you can get the vehicle you need without your bankruptcy getting in the way. Our goal is simple: Helping each customer going through bankruptcy get the car and loan they need while also helping them rebuild their credit. Feel free to contact us to speak with one of our friendly customer service representatives to learn more about how we can help. You can also get started right away when you apply online with our easy online application, which will give you an answer in a matter of minutes thanks to our great network of lenders who all compete for your business. This is how we find the loan option that’s best for you!

Looking at all the different debts you owe versus what you make in terms of income can be an eye-opening experience. Some people go through life not paying attention to the big picture of their debt and income until something happens that forces them to do it. When the reality of the picture sinks in, … Continue reading “10 Signs it is Time to File Bankruptcy”

Bankruptcy Car Loan Guidelines

bankruptcy car loan guidelines

Every time a lender makes a loan to a borrower, they’re taking a big risk. How can a lender know if the borrower will make on-time payments? How will the lender know the borrower won’t default on the loan? They honestly don’t know, which is why lending is a risk. But through experience, lenders have discovered ways to help them predict the chances of default.

What the lenders do is look at particular data and characteristics related to a borrower to assess the level of risk in making a loan to that borrower. As lenders refine this risk-assessment process, they often also create loan guidelines borrowers can use to see if they’re even eligible. This helps save time by preventing people from applying for a loan who would most likely be rejected anyways. For that to work, however, consumers need to understand the financial terms used in loan guidelines. This article will help you understand the common financial terms you’ll find in bankruptcy auto loan guidelines so you can decide whether or not this type of a loan is right for you.

How Credit Reports and Credit Scores Affect Loan Guidelines

credit reports and bankruptcy car loan

Some lenders have a very clear guideline for a minimum credit score potential borrowers have to meet in order to be eligible to apply for a loan. It’s going to vary widely from lender to lender depending on the level of risk they are willing to take on in making a loan. The higher the credit score requirement, the less risk they are willing to expose themselves to, making it harder or impossible for folks with challenged credit to get a loan through that lender.

At Day One Credit, we don’t have a minimum credit score requirement. In fact, you might qualify even if you have no credit history at all! Because we specialize in bankruptcy car loans, we know your credit score is already not good. But because you’re in bankruptcy or recently had one discharged, we know you’re on the pathway to restoring your credit and doing better. The lenders we work with are the ones who also look past a credit score to serve this group of customers and help them make the most of the fresh start bankruptcy provides.

Payment to Income and Debt to Income ratios: PTI and DTI

income and debt ratios

Many lenders want to take a close look not just at your income, but how much of your monthly gross income (before taxes are taken out) is going to go towards the loan payment. This is a way of making sure you don’t end up with a loan payment you really can’t afford. Lenders refer to this ratio as PTI – your payment to income ratio. But they don’t just take into account the monthly car loan payment. They’re also going to add in your monthly car insurance payment because you need to be able to afford both.

You can figure out your own PTI ratio by taking what you think you can afford in terms of a car loan payment plus an estimate of the monthly car insurance payment, add them together, and then divide that total by your monthly gross income and express the result as a percentage. A lot of lenders who work with people who have challenged credit generally want your PTI ratio to be in the 15-20% range. As an example, let’s say you’re interested in buying a used car but you need to finance it. You have an idea of what you want and think a reasonable monthly car loan payment for you would be $250/month and insurance of about $90/month for a grand total monthly car-related payment of $340. Now let’s say your gross monthly income is $2,400. You take the payment of $340 and divided it by your income of $2,400 and get .14 (rounding down), then move the decimal point over to places to the right and get 14%. This would be an acceptable PTI ration for many lenders. That is, unless you have a lot of other debt payments to make. This is why most lenders will also look at your DTI ratio – your debt-to-income ratio.

Your DTI gives lenders a picture of how much of your gross monthly income has to go to all your debt and bill payments combined together. If most of your monthly income is eaten up with your bills, lenders will question how you can add another significant bill in the form of a car and insurance. Calculating your DTI is similar to calculating your PTI. The difference is that in the case of DTI what you’re adding together are all your regular monthly bills and debt payments for housing, utilities, and so on. Many lenders get very nervous about making a loan to you if your DTI is more than 50%.

Here at Day One Credit, the advantage you have is the fact that you’ve either declared bankruptcy or have recently had your bankruptcy discharged. This is when your debt-to-income ratio is going to be much better than it was before you declared bankruptcy, and the lenders we work with understand how much this matters.

Day One Credit Bankruptcy Car Loan Guidelines

Day One Credit bankruptcy car loan guidelines

At Day One Credit, we take great pride in helping people who have declared bankruptcy get the car they need with our bankruptcy car loans. The lenders we work with specialize in this type of lending, and we get them all competing with each other to get your business. This helps you get the best terms possible given your credit situation. We find we can help most people in a bankruptcy situation, but not everyone. We do have our own eligibility guidelines to help you determine whether or not you should apply. Please note, however, that meeting our eligibility guidelines does not guarantee you’ll get a loan. We still have to evaluate your application to make sure we can work with you. If you meet the guidelines below, you should feel free to apply:

Income: We need documented proof of minimum gross monthly income of at least $2,200 per month. You can prove your income with W-2 forms from your employer or with 1099 forms or bank statements if you are self-employed.

Bankruptcy Status: Because we work exclusively with bankruptcy customers, you need to have either already filed for bankruptcy or have had your bankruptcy recently discharged.

Valid Driver’s License: Unfortunately, if your driver’s license is expired or suspended, we cannot help you.

Those are our three most basic eligibility guidelines. But we also find there other cases where we think a bankruptcy car loan is not a good choice for you, including the following:

You Already Have a Great Car: If your current vehicle is still on the new side with low miles, is paid off or close to being paid off, you should just stick with it.

Income is Not Stable: In order for a bankruptcy car loan to work in your favor, your income needs to be stable. If you know your income is about to drop or you’re going to experience a sudden increase in expenses, it would be better not to apply.

Cosigner Bankruptcy Status: Sometimes our bankruptcy customers want to use a cosigner to boost their chances of getting a loan. But if your cosigner didn’t also file for bankruptcy and things go badly with payments, the lender will go after the cosigner.

Our commitment to you at Day One Credit is to help you understand the details of your own credit situation and give you a realistic picture of what’s possible. We aren’t going to let you take on a loan payment you can’t afford because that doesn’t help anyone.

The other piece of good news about working with Day One Credit for a bankruptcy car loan is it’s one of the best ways to start rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy. The quickest, surest pathway to restoring your credit is with a new loan and making on-time payments. Most traditional lenders won’t give you the time of day with a bankruptcy on your credit history, but it’s our whole mission to work with bankruptcy customers!

We have lending programs that don’t require any down payment, and we will also help you find the very best affordable used car that’s right for you. If you meet our basic bankruptcy car loan guidelines, you can start the process online at our website when you fill out our easy online application. If we need to clarify any of the information on your application, we’ll contact you. And then you’ll hear back from us in a matter of minutes! But if you have more questions about how all this works, please feel free to contact us – we’ll be happy to talk you and help you understand everything you need to know!

Every time a lender makes a loan to a borrower, they’re taking a big risk. How can a lender know if the borrower will make on-time payments? How will the lender know the borrower won’t default on the loan? They honestly don’t know, which is why lending is a risk. But through experience, lenders have … Continue reading “Bankruptcy Car Loan Guidelines”