Used Car Negotiation
Buying and Selling Cars

How to Negotiate the Best Price on a Used Car

A new car loses between 10 and 20 percent of its value during its first year of ownership.  Now consider a three-year-old car, for instance, it will be about 80 to 90 percent of its two-year-old value. The next year, the same car will be 90 percent of its three-year-old value, and the depreciation goes on and on. 

The cheapest way to get a car is by buying a used one from a second-hand dealer. A used car is almost as great as a new car save from maybe the glamor, and the new car smell. At the end of the day, both cars will get you from point A to B, but you’ll have saved a bundle when you buy a used one. 

Here’s how you negotiate used car prices to get the best deal possible:

Do Your Homework

It’s a bad idea to step up to the negotiating table with no information about the car you want to buy. So make sure you do some research about the car you’re buying to know whether it’s a perfect fit for you. 

Thanks to the internet, there are tons of resources where you can get information about that particular car. For instance, you can check for reviews from other people with that specific car. You can also check out its overall car rating and how it compares to others. 

Doing your research puts you in a better position to know the worth of that specific car model. The worst thing you could possibly do is pay more for a car that you could have bought for much lesser. So get online and do some research on the car before you head to the dealerships.

Numbers Are Everything

Once you’ve firmly established what car model you want, your next move should be to get the numbers on lock. These numbers will form the basis of your negotiation, especially if you obtain them from credible sources.

The first thing you should know is the current market price of the vehicle. Also, check out pricing guides on sites like Edmunds to find out what you really should be paying for the car. Having all these figures will give you the confidence to negotiate for the best price when buying your car.

Clamp Down on the Opening Offer

Remember to start strong so that you can finish even stronger. Your opening offer is what sets the tone for the entire negotiation. That’s why a lot of people wait until the salesperson posits the first offer before they can start the negotiation.

However, if you’re confident enough, you can make the opening offer, or rather opening statement first. You, however, don’t want to be too direct when making your opening offer. You can’t just say something like, “I’m going to make my opening offer, and it’s this amount.”

Instead, approach the matter softly by saying something like, “I’ve asked around, and I know the car isn’t too pricey, so what’s your offer?” That gives the salesperson the leeway to give their opening offer and also lets them understand that you know your stuff. 

Your opening offer should be just a cut below the current market price. Sometimes you may want to go lower than just a cut, as long as the opening offer isn’t unreasonably low. State your opening offer and be patient, observe for facial expression, body language, and other subtleties.

Never Focus on Payments

Don’t focus on monthly payments but instead focus on the total cost of the vehicle. One of the oldest car salesperson tricks is to emphasize monthly payment options to rope in the client. After you sign all the papers and crunch the numbers is when you realize that you’ve been hoodwinked.

Even if you opt for monthly payments instead of a one-time cash payment, the total cost should be your primary focus. So that means you should focus on getting low monthly installments, low-interest rates, and the shortest loan possible. That way, when you add everything up, you’ll have paid the lowest total cost for the car.

All you have to do is sit down with a notebook, pen, and calculator then do the math. You might be surprised at what the total cost of your car is when you add everything up.

Look for Deals on CPOs

Keep an eye out for certified pre-owned deals, and settle for the best offer. If you do some digging, you can find yourself a great deal. This website, for instance, is a great place to start scouting for amazing deals on used cars.

To find a car that gives bang for the buck, then look for a CPO or certified pre-owned car. Manufacturers typically offer financing for these types of cars, so you don’t have to pay hefty interests for long term car loans.

Seal the Deal

When you’re almost sealing the deal, the salesperson will typically try to rope in a few extras. These include discounted maintenance or an interior touch up. These extras sound very good, and it’s easy to sign up for one or two of them.

The problem with these extras is that there’s no way to quantify their worth accurately. So you should take the deal as it is, for now, then you’ll discuss any extras later.

Knowing How to Negotiate Is the Cheapest Way to Get a Car

Negotiation for a used car should be a breeze if you take the above tips to heart. Remember to do some thorough research before you settle on a used car.  That way, you can find the cheapest way to get a car and form a solid foundation for your negotiation with the car salesperson.

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