St. Louis Community Credit Union

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Auto Buying Center

Important Steps in Buying an Auto Online

The Internet makes shopping ultra-convenient for so many things, including your next vehicle. Finding the auto is the easy part; just go to dealer Web sites, classified advertising, even eBay! But what should you know before you actually buy a car online?

Here are some valuable steps to take before you make the deal:

First of all, contact St. Louis Community to apply for pre-approved financing. It’s the smartest way to shop, and will simplify the purchase once you’ve found the right car.

Find out why the car is being sold. It may play a significant role in your decision.

Ask if the seller is the original owner. If not, you’re only getting limited information about the vehicle’s history.

Obtain the vehicle ID number (VIN) and current mileage. These will be important in getting the car’s valuation from NADA.

Check the vehicle’s record on CARFAX.

Determine if the auto is financed anywhere. If so, the seller has an obligation to pay off any loan balance, and the title will have to come from the lending institution.

Get a copy of the front and back of the title.

Agree on the purchase price. Don’t leave room for questioning!

If you have to travel to pick up a vehicle you want to buy, stipulate that it must pass a mechanical check prior to your purchase, at a location of your choice. Then designate a familiar or highly visible place to meet, preferably during daylight hours. Avoid paying with cash if possible.

When you follow these steps, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Need help? Call St. Louis Community at 314-534-7610, or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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