5 Questions to Ask Buy Here-Pay Here Dealers

By Jon Acuff, as written for the AutoTrader.com web site

Getting the right answers starts with asking the right questions

That's why we created Buy Here Pay Here Financing Basics and this list of questions you might ask. Each one is designed to give you a starting point in your conversation with a Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) Dealer. Pick the two that matter most, ask all five or add your own questions to get the information you're interested in. Regardless of how you use this list, we hope you'll feel confident and comfortable when you visit a BHPH dealership.

1. What do I need to bring when I visit your dealership?

Bringing the correct documents to a BHPH dealership can dramatically speed up your purchase process. Although the list of items can differ depending on your unique credit situation and each dealer, we interviewed BHPH dealers around the country and here is what they suggested you take:

* Driver's License
* Proof of Auto Insurance
* Financial Info (bank and credit card account info to fill out credit application)
* Social Security Number
* References (with complete contact info)
* Proof of Employment and Salary (paycheck stubs, with one less than 30 days old)
* Proof of Residence (mortgage document or rental lease agreement)
* Current Phone Bill (or other utility bill such as gas, electric or water)
* Down Payment

To find out exactly what to bring, call the dealership before you visit. They'll help you pull together everything you need.

2. How do you accept payment?

Instead of making monthly payments to a traditional lender, you make weekly or bi-weekly payments at a BHPH dealership. Many BHPH dealers require you to physically bring cash to their location, but some are expanding the ways they'll accept payment. Ask if they take payment by phone or online. Some dealers will require an automatic withdrawal if you currently have a checking account, savings account or credit card. Other dealers offer the option of paying through money orders. Explore a variety of payment methods with your dealer to find one that best fits your financial situation.

3. What is your late payment policy?

No one ever intends to make a late payment on a car loan, but sometimes it happens. It's critical to understand the dealership's late payment policy. Will they repossess the car the day after you fail to make a payment or is there a grace period? Will they contact you or simply take the car back with no questions asked? More than likely, this will never be an issue, but it's good to know what to expect if an emergency temporarily delays your payment. You might also ask if the dealership regularly reports both positive and negative payment information to the credit reporting agencies. If you have a good payment record and the dealer reports this information, this can help you start or rebuild a credit history if that is important to you.

4. Where are you located?

If you're already at the dealership then this question is an easy one to answer, but when selecting from a list of BHPH establishments, location is important. Pick one close to where you live or work so that it's convenient to come in to make your payment. What's more, BHPH dealers prefer to work with customers who live close to the dealership so that it's simple to geographically maintain the financial agreement. Thus, finding a dealership nearby may make it even easier to get the car loan you need.

5. What value do you place on providing quality vehicles?

Bad credit shouldn't prevent you from getting a good vehicle. In fact, many BHPH dealers are extremely focused on offering reliable vehicles. They understand that to ensure your faithfulness to the payment plan, they need to offer you a dependable vehicle. Ask dealerships about the inspection standards or reconditioning processes they use to prepare vehicles for purchase. See if they offer maintenance and repairs onsite, or if they have a partner provider that does. A reliable vehicle serves the interests of both parties, and a dealer should be happy to provide you with this information.

Whether it's your first time or your tenth time at a BHPH dealership, it's important that you know what to look for.

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