I've lived in the Los Angeles area for nearly 2 years, and haven't owned a car which has caused me to have 2+hr commutes to work each way, and has severely limited my ability to take evening classes to work toward finishing my Bachelor's Degree. I originally lived in the Northeast where I didn't really need a car, but I've been working on getting my license and should be ready to test soon once I can get time off of work. However, I'm having difficulty finding anything used that could be financed in the 2k-4k range. I'd like to keep it that low because even though I'm currently employed full time, I'm considered temp status and am unsure of my position at the company beyond August of this year. I'm also currently working on going back to school for more than half-time hours, and will be moving in with a friend to cut living expenses in anticipation of this + potential future job shuffling, so I'd like to try to buy asap so I don't have to deal with the "spent more than x months/years at the same residence/job" issue on loans.
Would a private loan be my best option? My current FICO score is 627, (not ideal, but far better than where I was a year ago, thanks to advice I've been given on this board) but I've been able to be approved by Roadloans at 11.9% with nothing down (9% with 3200 down), and conditionally by local Honda dealership with 800 down (not sure of rate). But I was unable to accept either offer because they added conditions for model year & mileage that I could not adhere to with my budget and reliability needs. :/
Unfortunately you're going to have a hard time finding any kind of auto loan for that range.
Usually banks will not lend less than $7,500 on a auto loan. Personal loan is a much better choice, except for one problem... I believe they are somewhat difficult to get? I'm not entirely sure. The interest rates will also be higher than what an auto loan would be.
Two months ago I was approved for a personal loan through LendingClub. I didn't even consider applying for a personal loan at any traditional bank, because I just assume they would deny me.
+1 to personal loan
The rate will be very high, but it will be the easiest process. Prosper or lending club might be able to help. You will hold the title to the car, so a default on the loan will not result in a repo. Although, a default will still trash your credit.