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Taking out a loan can be useful if you have a major expense to meet, such as paying for car repairs or buying new furniture for your home. It’s a way of affording the expense without having to pay out a large amount of money at one time.

However, if you are using a loan to get money, you need to make careful and well-informed decisions. The same applies when you are making use of credit cards. If you do not make sensible decisions you can end up in financial difficulty for several years. With this in mind, here are five essential things that you need to know when you are thinking of applying for a loan.

Borrowing is not the easy option

Borrowing should never be considered as an easy way of getting the money that you need. It’s important to remember that taking out a loan costs money, in the form of interest payments.

Bearing this in mind, you should only borrow money when there is no other option. You may want to think about using a side hustle or selling items you do not need to raise money, before borrowing.

If you decide that borrowing is the best option, you need to ensure that you can afford to make the repayments. In order to do this, you should create a budget. Remember to take into account all of your regular expenditures, so that you do not leave yourself short of money to live on if you accept a loan.

Research is vital

If you are looking for a loan, you may be tempted to approach the bank that you normally use. While you can ask for details of the loans provided by the bank, you should also consider other lending providers. You may find that you can get a better loan provision elsewhere.

It’s important to consider several factors when you are looking at different loan options including:
● Interest rates. These rates can vary considerably so you should take time to shop around.
● Additional costs such as compulsory insurance. You may find a loan that looks enticing but these extra costs could make it less appealing.
● Restrictions such as early repayment penalties. These restrictions could mean that you cannot pay your loan off early.

In this case, you end up paying more interest than you need to. Your aim is to find a loan option that is perfectly suited to your situation. It may take time to do this but being patient is the best option in the long run.

Scams are common

If a loan option seems too good to be true then it probably is. There are several scams out there that you should be careful to avoid.

For instance, you may be asked to pay fees upfront. No reputable lender will ask you to do this. Any fees that are attached to a loan are normally rolled up with the loan itself and paid as part of the monthly repayments. You should never pay any fees upfront or wire payments to a lender.

You should also never accept a loan offer that is made over the phone. It’s illegal to do this, so any such offers are not legitimate. All offers should be made in writing and should be completely transparent. If you have any doubts about a lender, do not be afraid to ask questions. Reputable lenders will have no problem with this.

Making Repayments on-time is vital

Borrowing money is not something that you should approach lightly. You need to make sure that you are in a position to make repayments on time.

If you do not pay at least the minimum amount on time each month you can end up with debt that starts to spiral out of control. This puts you in a difficult position financially and places a lot of stress on your shoulders. Ideally, you should aim to pay more than the minimum amount. This helps you to become debt-free more quickly. If you have any spare cash it makes more sense to put it towards paying off your debt than using it to pay for things that you do not need, such as take-out at the weekend.

If you are going to attempt to pay off your debt, it makes sense to benefit from the snowball effect. This means that you gain extra money to put towards your debt by paying off the smallest loans first.

Repayment issues should never be ignored

Once you have received a loan, if you know that you are going to struggle to make your regular repayment, you should make the lender aware of the situation. You may be able to come to an arrangement with them. It’s far better to do this than to ignore the situation and face potentially serious consequences.

These consequences can include increased repayments and an adverse effect on your credit rating. This can prevent you from getting further credit in the future.

In summary

Over a lifetime, people borrow money for all sorts of reasons including purchasing property or buying a new car. Whatever your reason for taking out a loan, you need to ensure that you make the best possible borrowing decisions for your circumstances.

You should never just apply for the first loan that you come across as there could be better options available. For instance, you may be able to secure a lower interest rate or a loan with fewer restrictions attached.

When you are applying for a loan take time to find the best solution for you. While you are doing your research remember that there are plenty of scams in existence. You should make sure that any lender you choose is reputable.

The most important thing to remember is that you should never borrow money that you cannot afford to repay. Make sure that you are in a position to afford repayments and try to pay off your loans as quickly as possible so that you can become debt-free.