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How to Get the Best Deal on a Used Car

By: StaffPublished September 24, 2021

Are you dreading your next visit to a car dealership because you just know you’ll get taken for a ride? Have you resigned yourself to getting a good deal on your next car rather a great deal?  You can regain the upper hand in the sales process by following one simple rule:

The reason most people don’t demand exactly what they want in a used car deal is that they are unwilling to walk away from a transaction. Because they've already committed themselves to the sale, they have no recourse if a dealer offers a price they don’t like.  Experienced salespeople can sense when a buyer has passed the point of no return, and they’ll immediately stop offering discounts. If on the other hand, a customer shows that he is ready to walk away from a sale, the seller becomes the more desperate person in the transaction. He’ll suddenly be much more willing to negotiate a lower price. The key is not just threatening to walk away, but be willing to do it.

  • It takes the time to shop around. Visiting multiple sellers involves hearing the same pitch over and over, wasting time driving all over town and devoting multiple weekends to the quest for the perfect car.
  • It’s easy to fall in love with a car. After shopping around for weeks, you’ve finally found the car of your dreams, and you’re not leaving the lot without it.
  • High-pressure sales tactics can be overwhelming. Many sellers will do their best to convince you that you won’t find a better deal anywhere else and the discounts they’ve offered will no longer be valid once you leave the lot.
  • Knowing the best price takes research. To find the best price on a car, you’ll have to devote many hours to tedious Internet, phone and classified research.
  • Research, research, research. If you’ve invested enough hours into your research before you even step into a dealership, you’ll know exactly which models you’d be willing to buy, what those models’ lowest prices are, and which dealers are most likely to give you those prices.
  • Remember the person with the most to lose always loses. If you feel you’ve found your dream car, you’d have the most to lose by walking away. If, on the other hand, the seller needs a sale at the end of the month to make his quota, he’ll be less willing to let a potential sale slip away.
  • Know your options. The great thing about buying cars is that there are so many options to choose from. From large dealers to family-owned businesses to private sellers, there’s always someone else out there that will offer you the same price if you walk away from your current deal.
  • Give yourself time. If you’re trying to buy a car in a single weekend, you won’t have time to walk away from multiple bad deals. A little patience can pay off in thousands of dollars in savings.

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