A car purchase is a big commitment. Outside of home ownership, buying a car is the second largest purchase of many Americans’ lives. Understandably, many people can obsess about automotive purchases: endlessly researching different brands, makes, and models, asking the opinions of friends, family, co-workers, strangers, and the ever informative Google.
Whether leasing or buying, future car owners have a lot to analyze and consider at the start of the car buying process. When you lease an automobile, you’re locked into that decision for the next three years. But if you’re buying, and planning to keep the vehicle for a long duration – whoa – it’s even more important to be confident in your car buying choices.
Knowing your credit score before you go into a car dealership can help you eliminate – or at least manage – car buying anxiety.
After countless considerations, you’re finally ready to visit a dealership, test drive your dream car and start the vehicle purchase process. While you’re excited to get a new car, you’re still a little worried about getting the best possible deal. And oh yeah, is your credit good enough to get the best possible finance rate?
I’ve got good news for you on this iDriveSoCal Podcast! You don’t have to suffer panic attacks over handing your credit application to a car dealership salesperson. And nope, the answer does not include dinging your credit with another hard inquiry.
Click Play to listen below as David Latif, the General Manager of Rock Honda, explains his dealership’s new, super-helpful (and free!) tool for anyone who wants to check their credit score before buying a new car. And it doesn’t impact your credit a bit!
Recorded August 13, 2018, Rock Honda, Fontana, CA
Pre-Checking Your Credit Score
David Latif: If you’re thinking anytime in the near future you want to buy a car get yourself ready; do a little bit of homework ahead of time before you walk into a dealership. You and you can walk in a say exactly, “Look this is where I stand, this is my rate, this is what I can get.” And you’re in and out.
Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast, all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. Tom Smith here and today I am at Rock Honda in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana, California with my good friend, Mr. David Latif, who is the general manager of Rock Honda. Thanks for joining me again David.
David Latif: Thank you.
“Out of 600 cars we sell, maybe one or two, if that.” [Buy in cash.]
Tom Smith: Today’s topic is about really empowering you, the buyer, to walk into a dealership armed with as much information as possible to get yourself the best deal. The topic today is getting yourself pre-checked, pre-qualified from a credit perspective, right? Very, very few people come and in just plunk down thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars of cash.
Tom Smith: Just out of curiosity, David, how many people pay cash?
David Latif: Oh, very few, very few. Out of 600 cars we sell, maybe one or two, if that.
Free Credit Check with No Inquiry ‘ding’ – ‘Soft Pull’
Tom Smith: So Rock Honda has something on their website that is a very helpful tool for all buyers and it’s called iPrecheck. What it does is do a soft pull of your credit and it’s a product of TransUnion, which is one of the three primary credit bureaus, right? You got TransUnion, Equifax …
David Latif: Yes.
Tom Smith: And Experian. David, why don’t you give us an overview?
“…it’s a soft pull of your credit. Everybody knows when you run your credit, it shows a ding….”
David Latif: It’s through TransUnion. What it is, is it’s a soft pull of your credit. Everybody knows when you run a credit, it shows a ding your credit.
Tom Smith: Right.
David Latif: This doesn’t, it doesn’t show anywhere that anybody looked at your credit. It’s a soft pull. What we call it is Know Before You Go. A lot of people or marginal credit and stuff that need some steps and usually when they go to dealerships, they get a lot of runaround.
“[the free credit check] takes you less than two minutes.”
You need these steps and you need this and you have this much down and your rate is crazy and all that stuff. That’s a lot of anxiety for the customers, it’s very time-consuming; they spend hours in here… iPrecheck, which actually takes you, like, less than maybe two minutes. Actually, we did it together.
We Tested the Process Ourselves
Tom Smith: Yeah. We just literally just did David’s credit.
David Latif: Yeah. So what is it, it’s like I said it’s a soft pull. It needs four digits or four last of your social security, the four last digit of your social security which, like I said, it doesn’t need your date of birth or anything. It’s a soft pull and as soon as you put your info, within seconds, as soon as you hit Go, you’ll get the answer back as far as what your credit score is, what your rate is going to be, how many years can you finance a car. So it’s really good for a customer to know before walking to a dealership saying, “Hey, can you run my credit and see where I’m at?”
“It’s a soft pull and as soon as you input your info, within seconds… you’ll know what your credit score is…”
David Latif: This way, when you walk in, you know how much of a car you can buy because it tells you, you can buy up to $50,000, $40,000 car. It gives you the rate, it gives you kind of the payment, give you couple examples of if you buy a car for $25,000, what would your payment stuff going to be?
Avoid Anxiety in the Buying Process
Tom Smith: So it’s a very useful tool for the consumer, as well as you, the dealer because it saves people that contentiousness, that anxiety when it’s like, “Okay, I drove something, I really like it. Boy, can I get into this car? Is my credit good enough?” That’s one of the hurdles. The first thing people just have anxiety walking into a dealership. You know you just met in the parking lot, “Hey, how can I help you?” It’s like “Uh, I’m just looking.”
David Latif: And then you got to run into salesmen and they’re like, “How’s your credit? Well, let me run your credit first.” Which is embarrassing time to time and is not the right way of buying a car. You know, you want to know what you have, you want to know what your credit is, you want to know what your payments going to be. This way you can walk in and tell the guy, “Hey, show me something for 25 grand.”
“I don’t know about my credit.” So why don’t you know before you go?
Tom Smith: “What’s your credit?” Uh …
David Latif: Absolutely, it’s very awkward and we try to teach these guys not to but a creature of habit they’ll go right back to that and as soon as the customer says “I don’t know about my credit.” So why don’t you know before you go?
Increase Confidence in the Buying Process
Tom Smith: Yep. It’s not just for, you know, hey my credit’s a little questionable or I think it’s questionable. It’s also for, often times people are going to realize they’re in much better shape than they thought.
David Latif: Absolutely.
Tom Smith: So, they can walk in with more confidence, whether that is to get a better rate on whatever they’re financing or get more car than they thought that they might be able to otherwise afford.
“…it’s not just about buying a car. You don’t have to be ready that minute to buy a car.”
David Latif: Absolutely, or we can help them in a way where we can tell them, “Hey if you think that rate is too high for you right now, these are the few things it shows on your credit, why don’t you tweak this a little bit and tweak that a little bit, in a month or two your credit is going to jump up 20, 30 points.” So it’s not just about buying a car. You don’t have to be ready that minute to buy a car. If you’re thinking anytime in the near future you want to buy a car get yourself ready; do a little bit of homework ahead of time before you walk into a dealership.
David Latif: All over the place.
Works for Buying and Leasing
Tom Smith: Now for the person that’s either buying or leasing how does this pertain to them? I’m leasing.
David Latif: So in order to lease, obviously, your credit got to be a little better than average but there is a time when you pay a couple of car loans really good and your FICO score’s not that great and those banks will pick it back up. So by doing that, you know, if you want to lease a car you can go and fill out the iPrecheck and on the bottom, you can make a note of “What are my chances of leasing a car?” Within five minutes somebody will get back to you and tell you, “Hey, this is what we can do for you.”
“What are my chances of leasing a car?” Within five minutes somebody will get back to you…”
David Latif: Oh, they can absolutely.
Tom Smith: It’s a tool that you guys provide.
David Latif: Absolutely.
Tom Smith: Free of charge, of course, you would love to win everybody’s business that’s listening to this podcast and I recommend that you do come to Rock Honda but literally this is a tool that can be taken to anywhere.
David Latif: Absolutely.
What’s the Catch?
Tom Smith: Even if you’re not buying a car, right, you just want to check your credit.
David Latif: You might be in the market to buy a house, you might be in the market to refinance, anything. If you want to know where you stand without dinging your credit that’s the way to do it.
Tom Smith: So after I go and fill out my iPrecheck I see the information instantaneously. It didn’t talk, I don’t think ten seconds and we saw the information.
David Latif: No, immediately.
Tom Smith: But then from a follow-up prospective I’m going to get an email from iPrecheck TransUnion or am I going to get an email from Rock Honda, am I going to get a call from Rock Honda? What’s going to happen next?
“You’re going to get a call and an email from Rock Honda letting you know where you stand, making sure that you got the information that you asked for and if you have any other questions.”
David Latif: You’re going to get a call and an email from Rock Honda letting you know where you stand, making sure that you got the information that you asked for and if you have any other questions.
Tom Smith: Alright, excellent. Now we covered the bad credit example, the good credit example. Of course, you want to come here to Rock Honda to buy. The free tool is on RockHonda.com so why wouldn’t you? Not to mention you come to see David who’s just a fantastic guy and just very accessible, busy executive, but very accessible. What else are we missing that we need to address in the iPrecheck world?
Save Time at Any Dealership
David Latif: All of this is just saving you a lot of time and headache. Instead of going around and, you know, half the people that trust the salesmen and half the people don’t and rightfully so. I’m not talking about Rock Honda but a lot places you don’t know what they’re telling you if it’s true or not.
This you’re kinda in the driver’s seat, you know where you stand, you know they can’t b.s. you and you can walk in a say exactly, “Look this is where I stand, this is my rate, this is what I can get.” And you’re in and out; because if you don’t good luck.
Tom Smith: Well if you don’t, we’ve all been there, right? It’s the old runaround and anxiety.
David Latif: I’m not saying you’re not going to get a good deal it’s just going to be a longer process.
“…you know where you stand, you know they can’t b.s. you…”
Tom Smith: Yep.
David Latif: You know they’ll ask for a bunch of steps and stuff, probably you’re not going to need. Instead of taking 45 minutes an hour to buy a car it’s going to take three or four hours to buy a car.
Tom Smith: And longer process and more contentious.
David Latif: Absolutely.
Tom Smith: And I keep on going back to the anxiety thing because it’s, even for me, right? I work with you and I work with other dealers and even for me, there’s an element of anxiety in the process just because you’re going into the unknown.
David Latif: And it’s a big purchase, absolutely.
Only Your House is a Bigger Purchase
Tom Smith: It’s a huge purchase. Second largest purchase of my life outside of my home, right?
David Latif: Absolutely.
Tom Smith: So a good piece of advice, a great tool right on your website there, rockhonda.com, the iPrecheck tool. Definitely come to Rockhonda.com to pre-check your credit. Soft pull, no harm to your credit and then come on in and say hi to our good friend David Latif. You know, you mentioned the runaround that you get at, not here of course but at other dealerships.
“Please check us out, we’d love to help you…”
David Latif: You might even get it here from time to time. We’re not perfect.
Tom Smith: He’s kidding folks, but you know what that is honest… I mean that is honest truth, right? I mean there is a continuous relationship between car dealers and consumers just by nature and it’s been there since, I think, cars started being sold. It’s the real deal here at Rock Honda and they’re honest and good people so I highly recommend you come here.
Ask for David Latif – He Truly Wants to Say Hello!
Our whole iDriveSoCal team recommends it. David unless there’s anything else I’d like to thank you for …
David Latif: The only thing I can say is anytime you guys mention your podcast and stuff ask for me, please. I want to make sure you get handled with velvet gloves and have a good experience because that’s what we’re known for. I’ve been here since 2005 so I’ve been here most of my life and I always joke around that when I started here I had long hair. Please check us out, we’d love to help you and love to sell you a car.
“I want to make sure you get handled with velvet gloves and have a good experience because that’s what we’re known for.”
Tom Smith: Alight. David thank you for being a partner of the show. Thank you for the great information on getting a pre-check on your credit before walking into Rock Honda or any dealership and for iDriveSoCal I’m Tom Smith. Thank you for listening.