How To Negotiate on a Used Car


Getting The Best Price on a Used Car

We all want to get the best deal possible when we’re shopping for a car. Most of the time, in order to get the best deal, you need to know how and be willing to negotiate. We know negotiating can be an intimidating thing, but we’re confident that if you follow these tips it will make it much easier than you think.

The Biggest Factor of Negotiating on a Used Car

One of the most important parts of going into a car negotiation is the research you need to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying privately or from a car dealership, if you go into a negotiation not having a good understanding of what the car is worth and factors that affect the pricing, you won’t be able to effectively negotiate. 

How Much Can You Negotiate on a Car?

There is no one answer to this question. Every vehicle is different, and therefore every vehicle is going to be priced differently. We recommend that you don’t have a specific number in mind when going into negotiations as this can actually hurt the process. Instead, it’s best to think of a price range you’d be willing to accept and work from there. Besides, things like whether winter tires are included or if the car needs repairs can add up and make a difference in what the car will sell for. 

10 Car Negotiation Tips

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Research is key, if you have a firm understanding of the factors that affect a car’s value and the average market value of the vehicle you’re negotiating, you’ll come away with a much more reasonable price. 

2. Consider other factors affecting the value of the vehicle. You need to look further than just at the model, mileage and year of the vehicle. Consider whether the car has been smoked in, how many previous owners there have been, interior wear and tear and if there is still an extended warranty. All of these factors can significantly impact the value of the vehicle so it’s critical that you consider them all. 

3. Work together. If you’re buying this vehicle with your significant other, it’s important you guys work together to negotiate. This comes in the form of preparation before you begin negotiating. Be on the same page with your needs and come to an agreement with what you’re willing to spend. Having an argument amongst each other in front of the seller won’t help you get the best deal on a car.

4. Get a vehicle history report. Anytime you’re buying a used vehicle, it’s important that you know the full history of that vehicle. Get the VIN number from the seller and you can use a site like Carfax to give you the full history of that vehicle. The information you’ll get in the report includes: accident history, outstanding liens, service records and an odometer reading. This information can be extremely valuable during the negotiation process. 

5. Have a walk-away price. It’s crucial that before any negotiation, you have a walk-away price. Decide what’s the most amount of money you’re willing to spend on the vehicle and don’t exceed that number. If the seller isn’t willing to go as low as you’re willing to pay, walk away. 

6. Ask tough questions. This part may be challenging for people who get nervous about negotiating, but it’s absolutely necessary for you to ask tough questions to the seller. If you find that the car has been in an accident in your vehicle history report or if you notice any damage, ask the seller about it. The seller should be completely transparent about anything you ask and if you think at all the seller is being dishonest, walk away. 

7. Speak confidently, not aggressively. Negotiation all comes down to communication. If you come off as overly aggressive in the way you speak and your tone, you risk scaring the seller or having the seller become uninterested in working with you. If you speak confidently yet respectively, you’re more likely to get the price you want, without coming off as pushy or aggressive. 

8. Don’t rush the negotiation. Don’t be in a rush to get the negotiation over with by accepting an offer you’re not happy with or a mediocre offer. If you’re patient, you’re actually more likely to get a better deal on the car, depending on the urgency of the seller. This could also backfire if the seller has multiple people interested in the vehicle, but the bottom line is you should never rush a car negotiation.

9. Get a pre-purchase inspection. Absolutely never buy a used vehicle without first getting a pre-purchase inspection from a third-party mechanic. The last thing you want is to buy a car that’s riddled with problems that you don’t know about until you’ve bought it. 

10. Don’t be afraid to walk away. Last but certainly not least, don’t ever be afraid to walk away from a negotiation. You could walk away for a number of reasons, maybe the seller isn’t willing to meet you at what you consider a fair price or you feel like the seller isn’t being honest with you about the car. Besides, there are so many used cars out there, if you walk away from this negotiation, you’ll surely find another vehicle that’s suitable for you. 

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