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Three Easy Steps To Getting The Best Personal Loan

Written by: Gary Tallon

Despite what you might think, getting a personal loan doesn't have to be a difficult process. Whilst it's true that you have hundreds of options open to you and an often bewildering number of choices to make before you put in a formal application, it's quite easy to make sure you make the right decision at the right time and that you also save yourself time and money into the process. There are basically three steps you need to take before you choose the loan that's right for you:

Step One - Know what you want

The first thing you need to do is to decide which kind of personal loan will suit you and your circumstances best. For example, if you're a homeowner then you can look at taking out either a secured loan or an unsecured one depending on your preference. If you don't own your own home then you will probably be limited to an unsecured loan.

Secured loans are given to property owners and will use your home as a guarantee against the money you borrow. So, if you stop making loan repayments, your lender can use your property to recover their loan(s). Because you'll be using a guarantee you'll generally be given better (i.e. lower) rates of interest on the money you borrow. Unsecured loans, on the other hand, don't need you to be a property owner as there is no guarantee involved. This lack of guarantee does make the loan slightly more expensive and may also give you restrictions on how much you can actually borrow although this does vary from lender to lender.

If you're not a property owner then this kind of unsecured loan will generally be the only option open to you but it's worth remembering that many homeowners now prefer an unsecured loan to a secured one in any case as they don't want to risk losing their property if things go wrong down the line.

Another choice you'll need to make here is whether to take out a loan with a fixed or a variable interest rate. If you are given a fixed rate then your monthly repayments will stay the same all of the time. A variable rate, however, may see your repayments change if underlying interest rates change at any time.

Step Two - Stick to what you can afford

It's quite easy to raise finance in most cases and it's very tempting to borrow more than you actually need simply because you can. It's really important therefore that you work out exactly how much you need to borrow and how much you can afford to repay on any loan. The key thing to remember here is that it not a lender's job to work out how much you can afford - it's your job! You can't blame your lender later if they let you borrow more than you can afford to repay.

The easiest way to do this is to look at your monthly outgoings and to work out how much cash you have spare once you've met your existing financial obligations and spending for the month. This sum is basically what you can afford to pay as a loan repayment every month. It is, however, worth noting that you should always leave a bit of cash spare for emergencies - so you shouldn't commit all of your spare cash for loan repayments but should also leave a bit to cover you along the way.

You can then check if your spare cash and loan amount needs marry up OK by looking at an online loans calculator, for example. These tools will let you work out how much average repayments may be or how much you can borrow based on a repayment sum.

Step Three - Shop around for the best deal

Your average personal loan product may well look exactly the same as the next one you look at but that doesn't mean it will cost you the same. Interest rates can vary widely across the industry and you can end up paying a lot more than you need to unless you shop around for the best rates.

The majority of loans will all do the same things and will carry exactly the same terms and conditions. So, if you bear this in mind, you'll get no advantage by paying a higher interest rate if there are no add-on benefits. The easiest way to shop around nowadays is, as ever, via the Internet. Even if you just spend a few minutes on an online loan rate comparison site then you'll see some big differences in the interest rates being charged. And, remember, the lower the interest rate you pay, the lower your monthly repayments will be. And, the less you pay back every month, the less you'll pay back overall. This all adds up to savings for you.

If you follow these three steps then you'll be well on the way to finding exactly the right kind of loan to suit you best - and you'll make sure that you make the kind of savings you can with minimum fuss and effort.

About the author:

Gary Tallon is a finance writer of over ten years experience in the personal loans industry, and is currently writing for www.compare-personal-loans.co.uk

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