How To Negotiate For A Used Car Like A Boss

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When you decide to buy a used car, you know that you will need to bring your game with you. Car dealers are experts at negotiation, and if you do not know how to play along, then you will not be able to get the best price for your dream auto.

Things have changed so much these days. First of all, it is not so easy to find all sorts of offers and information about cars that can help you get the upper hand. You can always mention someone else selling the same model for a lower price if you do your research firsthand. Moreover, you will no longer be persuaded by the salesman and pay more for features you do not really understand, thanks to all the information available online.

negotiate for a used car

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Second, being prepared allows you to negotiate better. You can expect the car dealer to be an expert in this so coming into the discussion with your homework done can show him that you know your stuff and that he cannot trick you into paying more. If you keep your ground, he might just agree to a lower price that is still beneficial to both parties.

Steps Before Going To The Dealership

The secret to getting that used car for the price you want is to do prepare yourself even before getting to the dealership. These are the steps you need to find out and bring with you to the car dealer.

  • Know The Car Model’s Numbers

There are various websites like AutoTrader and TrueCar that are wonderful resources to find your dream car’s features and more importantly, its current market value. Take note that cars are nowadays available with various features that affect the price. This is why you need to choose all the features you are looking for in order to find the most accurate price.

You should also use an online car payment calculator in order to find the car that is a great fit. Knowing these numbers will help you identify if you are within budget or if it is the perfect car for you.

  • Bring Your Own Numbers

You need to identify what your budget is beforehand, and how much to bid at first. This allows you to stay on budget at all times and know how much you are willing to negotiate. It is also good to know what your credit score is and also talk to the bank about the interest rates available for you. Coming into the negotiation with this information will help you get the deal closed as soon as possible because you will not have to set an appointment again to either accept the offer or not.

  • Don’t Fill An Online Search

During your online search, you might be asked to fill out some forms and wait for a call from the dealer. The worst case scenario is that they do not even have the model you are thinking of purchasing. The best step is for you to call or email yourself.

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Tips To Getting The Best Price At The Dealership

The next step to scoring the best deal at the used car dealer is to know how to act appropriately while talking to the dealer. You need to make sure you do not miss these tips, otherwise, you might lose the upper hand during the negotiation.

  • Go For A Test Drive

Do not just rely on a sheet of paper that lists a car’s model information and its condition in determining your bid. You should always schedule a test drive before you consider buying a car. Moreover, you will get to find out how it performs and how it feels while driving it. Before you make an offer on a car, you need to be fully sure that this is what you want.

  • Shop Around And Get Other Offers

This is a vital step in finding the best price out there. Try to invest the time and effort to search not just online, but to actually see the car before making a decision.

looking for a good car offer

If it means driving to a different used car dealer in the neighboring areas, then take the leap and do it. Having other offers is also a great bargaining tool during your negotiating.

  • Understand The Process

Negotiation is like a dance between you and the dealer and unfortunately, if you do not know how to do it properly, you will be on the losing end. The fact is, experienced salesmen employ many tactics and strategies to get you to pay more money. Some of them might even use your emotions and your interest in order to lure you in. If you are not aware of them and you know how to go with the flow, then you are not on the losing end. You will also be more likely to stay with your less emotional side. Be less invested so that you can avoid a knee-jerk response to their efforts to manipulate the negotiation.

  • Don’t Fall In Love With The Car
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Even if you feel like you have just found your dream car, do yourself a favor and do not fall in love with it just yet. This is because your strong desire and emotional attachment to this car can be used by a dealer to get you to pay more for it. On your end, just because you have already mentally planned all your trips in this car, you will be more likely to accept a higher price for it instead of walking away.

Emotions just ruin your ability to negotiate and win a fair price. A trick is to also find the same car at other used car dealers to know what the fairest prices are, but also to be able to detach yourself emotionally. If you know this car is available somewhere else, then you can play it cool and walk away if you do not like the price.

  • Ask For A Good Deal

Do not be shy about asking for discounts on cars, especially those that seem too expensive or over budget. If you ask, then you just might receive.

  • Always Negotiate

You should never stop negotiating after getting the first counteroffer. It is a process, and not going through with it will just make you lose out on great deals. You can also practice anchoring, or determining what the best-case outcome is before negotiating. Doing so will motivate you to continue negotiating until you get as close to this best-case outcome as possible.

  • Keep Your Budget Secret

No matter how nice the salesman seems, he is trying to run a business and make money. You should never reveal what your budget is because he can use this information to gain the upper hand. Instead, focus on highlighting what you like, and your offer, or how much you are willing to pay for the same model with the same features. Show your background knowledge as well of how much other dealers are selling the same car for.

  • Watch Out For Emotional Playing

An effective trick many dealers do is to respond emotionally every time you try to get the price lower or to get a better financing rate. For example, they get upset over what they consider unfair demands. Unfortunately, this works a lot into guilt-tripping buyers to settle for an imperfect car or a bad credit rate. It might be tough to know beforehand if your dealer likes to do this, but you can spot someone who is being fake and using emotions to control you.

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A similar trick is to make buyers feel guilty for even wanting to negotiate the price, using whatever rapport or relationship they have to make them feel bad for asking for a lower price. Unfortunately, this is also a highly successful trick because many people would value a relationship more than winning the negotiation, even if the dealer has resorted to manipulation in order to do so. In the end, you are being taken advantage of and it is important to realize that and really be assertive with what you want and what your price is.

  • Do Not Be Afraid To Walk Away

At the end of the day, if you feel like you are not getting a fair deal on the car you like, then simply walk away. Sometimes, you end up with dealers who seem to just want to make money and not really help you find your dream car and these people are very obvious. If they do not care about their customers now, they won’t do so after making the sale. In this day and age, there is always another dealer somewhere who has the car model you want and at the same time, aim to have happy customers.

Tons of people get scared or uncomfortable to negotiate, especially when buying a used car. However, it is simply how the business works and if you know the right steps to prepare yourself, it shouldn’t be a negative experience at all. Who knows, if you play your cards just right, you might end up getting a sweet deal on that dream car you had been looking for.


  1. What Are Some Good Tactics To Use To Lower The Price Of A Car While Negotiating With A Car Sales Person? – Forbes
  2. How to Negotiate for a Used Car – Art of Manliness
  3. 10 Tips for Haggling Over a Used Car – howstuffworks

Originally posted 2023-01-26 21:57:07.

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