Haggling has become far more commonplace in recent years, and when it comes to used cars, it’s never been a better time to learn how to negotiate. The sticker price is only a starting point, and with the following pieces of advice, you should be able to approach your next car purchase with confidence…
Do your research
You should never go to view a car to buy without having done your research. You need to understand everything about the car you want, the dealerships in the area, and what price that model is going for in the market by consulting a variety of sources.
You should also be clear on what you can afford, and stick to it when haggling. Most people think research only extends to the car you’re buying, but if you’re part-exchanging, you need to know the price of your current car too. Research its value online before visiting a variety of dealers for the best offer.
Learn the lingo
It’s far too easy to get talked into add-ons and modifications when you don’t understand the language; car sellers will deliberately use terms you’ve not heard of to try and get you to accept a lesser deal, or give you a lower vehicle price, whilst increasing it with fees and extras.
Here’s a helpful guide on car sales terminology, but you should also ensure you’re familiar with all the features on the car you want, so that you don’t simply get talked into a cheaper model, rather than the one you want for a better price.
Check out and test drive
It’s important to thoroughly check over the car and give it a test drive. Take note of any scratches, rust or otherwise that will help to bring down the price. While on a test drive, anything that seems a little odd you’ll need to have checked out by a garage and that means more cost to you, which you can use as a bargaining tool. Remember to try it up hills, in traffic and out on the open road, comparing it to lower and higher specifications of the same car.
Private vs dealership
If you’re buying from a dealership there’s less risk involved and a more regimented process expected. If you’re a cash buyer, don’t give this away; dealers make their best commissions on long-term finance deals, so arguing the cost of the vehicle down based on this will give you a better overall price.
Always start off lower than the amount you’re prepared to pay, so you have room to increase, and don’t be afraid to walk away. If you’re buying from a private seller, you’re more likely to get a better rate, as they’re often more motivated to sell.
You should still use damage and condition as bargaining points, but also ask to see the documentation for the vehicle and query any points of suspicion, such as incomplete information.
Do you have any other tips for negotiation?