Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Not in a Thousand Years

Would I have expected this.  Wow.

After much agonizing, we decided that fixing the car just wasn't feasible.  It wasn't reasonable or realistic.  A 900 dollar repair that might not fix it, the possibility of a thousand-plus repair on top of that, and all for a fading, ten year old car that is a FLOOD SALVAGE.  No.

No, no.

Of course, with our credit as abysmal as it is (not for late payments or delinquencies--no, we're current and always have been, we've just got a lousy available credit to debt ratio), there's no way anyone would give us a car loan.  Heck, we tried to get one a year-and-a-half ago, when our credit was markedly better.  Facing a future without wheels, we called a local used car lot, Shannon Autos, and they said that, sure, they'll finance us with bad credit--if we put FIFTY PERCENT down. 

Rigghhht.  Like that's going to happen.  Thanks for exactly nothing, folks. Completely crestfallen, we started kicking around renting a car on weekends so we could do our shopping and errands.  We'd just do without during the week.

While looking over used cars online, I noticed on the Brown's Hyundai (Buy Happy!)dealership site (Brown is where we took the car to find out the module on the SRS was bad), they said, "Bad credit doesn't matter." Of course, my first thought was, "Oh, bull--it totally matters, don't say that."

It didn't matter.

We did a little phone tag, then drove down to the dealership with ZERO hope.  In fact, I kept saying to our boy, "This isn't going to happen, don't get psyched."  I intentionally went sans makeup so that, when they turned us down, I wouldn't wind up with tear streaks and mascara runs. 

How's that for pathetic?

We told them we wanted to keep it to under ten grand.  The nice young salesman showed us a number of cars, including a Saab, a couple of Fords, and a few Hyundais.  We were eying an ugly little Hyundai Accent (a 2007, I think), and thinking to ourselves, "It's just temporary."  Of course, at 8 grand (ten after all the fees and such), it's not so temporary.  He kept trying to edge us up just slightly, price-wise (not obnoxiously, mind you--very nice guy).  Then he showed us a 2009 Sonata.  He said (and he's right) that a lot of lenders balk at financing cars with high miles--this one had a little over 60,000, which is a little high for the year, but not devastating.  It's a nice silver/grey (same color as my old Mustang, pretty much), and is an automatic.  It also has an iPod port and CD changer.  Makes the hubby happy.  It was $11,214, which was a little higher than I thought we could afford with any comfort.  Certainly more than anyone was going to finance us for.  Like anyone was going to finance us at ALL, right?  So, of course, we test drove it, just to guarantee the sharpness of the pain when they eventually turned us down (which I was certain they would).  It drove quite nicely.

They sat us in the little cubicle and asked us questions.  Wrote things down.  Asked about the Sonata we were hoping to trade in.  Asked if it had a "clear title."  Then mentioned things that would make a title not-clear--like being a flood salvage.

Yeah.  Obviously, we were totally honest with him.  And that was that--they didn't want our car.  Period.  I thought that was it, since, without the trade we had only $500 as a down.  I actually picked up my iPad and started to stand.  But he kept talking.  So I sat back down.  He asked what we wanted our payment to look like.  He walked away.  Came back. Walked away again.  Asked for our insurance card.  Copied it.  Walked away. 

Then another guy came.  Very nice.  Wanted to talk about payments and terms.  Then left to talk to his "higher up" finance person.

All the while, I was convinced this wasn't going to happen.  No WAY it was going to happen.  Even as the terrifically nice woman in finance was printing out contracts, I was sure something was going to fall through.  Even as I was driving the car home, I was thinking, "They said they were letting us drive off the lot 'pending completion of the particulars.'  They can still take it back."

Well, that was Tuesday.  It's now very early Thursday morning.  I guess I can maybe relax a little.  Not a lot--it's a used car without a warranty, so I can't really relax.  But I can maybe sleep now.

The payment is going to wipe us out--no more jaunts and lazy shopping.  We can do it, but it's not going to be the happiest.  The lesson I'm hoping anyone reading gets out of this?  It can't hurt to try.  The worst they can do is say "no."  Yeah, that would have been pretty bad in our case, but we'd have survived.  So don't think your credit's too awful, don't decide not to give it a shot.  No, I'm not encouraging folks to rack up debt, but if you're stuck like we were, give it a try.  Someplace like Brown's might come along and surprise you. 

Hyundai old (right/blue) and new (left/silver)

Oh, and a quick "oh, hell, that can't be good" before I go--talked to my step-mother yesterday.  We chatted for a good hour.  During the chat, she asked me about my diet.  I said I was slipping up, but that my blood sugar was still good.  She said, "Well, you're father's developed quite a paunch . . . he says the doctor says it's just a cyst, and I'm going to believe him."  Oh, damn.  That doesn't sound at all good, does it?  I'll be talking to him today or tomorrow.  Not sure if I dare ask.

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