Negotiating the price on a used car does not have to be as overwhelming as it seems. In fact, if you are prepared, have a fair price in mind and are willing to walk away if the deal goes awry, the overall experience can actually be quite rewarding.
There are, however, a few steps you will need to follow to ensure that you get the car you want at a price that is fair. As you prepare for your trip to the dealership, use this guide to help you negotiate a lower price.
Step One: Establish a Starting Price
The first step in any successful negotiation is to establish a starting point. But keep in mind that the starting point should never be sticker price. To get the lowest price on a used car, you cannot negotiate down from a certain point. Instead, you should start at price that is slightly lower than the current market value and work your way up if necessary.
A good source to use when establishing market value is Kelley Blue Book. Whether you are buying from a dealer, a private seller, or trading in, Kelley Blue Book can offer you some idea of how much a car is potentially worth.
Step Two: Research Vehicle History
Because you are buying used, the car’s history may negatively impact its value. For instance, if the car you are thinking about buying has previously been in an accident, it should be priced lower than current market value. If not, you need to negotiate accordingly.
At UsedCars.com, we have partnered with CarFax to help you receive all the detailed information about a car’s vehicle history. This lets you check to see if a vehicle is a lemon, verify the odometer, and identify any past accident damage or major mechanical flaws.
Step Three: Be willing to walk away
By doing your research, you should have a good understanding of what the car is worth. So don’t second-guess yourself, even when the dealer starts rattling of list special offers and missed opportunities.
If the dealer is unwilling to match your price, you have to be willing to walk away. While this can be hard to do, especially if you have fallen in love with a certain car, if you can convince the dealer that they are going to miss out on a sale, they will become ready to negotiate.
Keep in mind that with any good negotiation, there is give and take on both sides. So while you never should accept a deal you are not comfortable with, you need to keep an open mind and be willing to accept a price that is fair to both sides.