4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Co-Signer
July 14, 2015 / Sara Davis / Get an Auto Loan with Bad Credit
What makes a good co-signer?
Having a co-signer on your vehicle loan can be beneficial, but you both need to understand the financial situation before going through with the process. There is a common misconception that a co-signer simply takes all of the responsibility, and there is no problem for the owner of the loan. Additionally, misguided information leads some co-signers to believe their credit will not be affected, as the loan is really owned by another.
Here is some information that you should consider when thinking about a co-signer. Again, a co-signer can be helpful and the situation can work out for both of you, as long as you understand the terms.
The biggest thing to consider is how much you trust this person, and maybe even more importantly, how much this person trusts you. As a co-signer, this person is going to be responsible for payments that you can't make. Additionally, if your payments are missed or late, then both of your credit scores are likely to suffer for it.
Just choosing someone you know is not good enough. You both need to have a solid understanding of when payments are due and how much they will be each month. Choose someone you can trust, who is responsible and financially stable.
"Having a co-signer is more than simply acquiring a signature."
Do you feel confident in your ability to communicate with the person you are asking to be your co-signer? Communication goes hand in hand with trust. For example, if you are having a difficult month and don't feel like you can make your payment, you need to reach out to this person and let him or her know so he or she can help out. While this is not an ideal habit to get into, the conversation should certainly happen before the bill is due.
Don't put your co-signer's credit at risk by telling him or her you missed a payment after the fact.
Know the details
When you begin your loan process, your credit may be hurting and having a co-signer can possibly make it easier for you to get the car you want. Over time, your credit can improve, as you will have a loan that you're making timely payments on. This may lead to a time when the co-signer is no longer required. However, according to TransUnion, it is difficult to remove a co-signer from a loan.
This is important if you or the co-signer are under the impression this is going to be a short-term thing. Speak with your lender and ensure that both you and your co-signer are aware that this is going to be a commitment on both ends. Even if the payments are made on time and credit scores are being improved, a co-signer should know how long he or she is going to be affiliated with the loan.
Get it in writing
According to Equifax, it is worth speaking with an attorney before signing any agreement. Having all scenarios covered, such as who will cover late fees or any other hiccups that arise, are better settled beforehand. Once a contract is signed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to go back.
Just because you know this person doesn't mean the financial particulars are always going to run smoothly. Speak with an attorney simply to establish the rules before signing.
The option to have a co-signer can make getting the car of your dreams much easier, but you both have to be on the same page to make it work.