Bargaining for a Used Car

By: bhokin
There are a few ways to honestly and ethically get the car of your dreams for a reasonable price. Follow these tips and hints and you may be surprised how much the seller will discount the advertised price.

Ready to Start? Lets' go.

1. Do this before you even see the car.

When you see the car on the Internet or in the newspaper or the magazine and you are interested in checking it out more closely, do these things first:
a) Check out the price of this car against others of similar specifications.
b) Have your finances worked out in advance. Set your spending limit and stick to it. Offering cash is usually a better option than saying you will need to organize finance.
c) Contact the seller and ask the following questions:
- Is the car still for sale?
- How many kilometers or miles has it done?
- How long have you owned the car for?
- What color is it?
- What is the overall condition of the car?
- How negotiable is the price?
If you're satisfied with the answers to these questions ask if you can see the car at a mutually convenient time.

2. Do these things once you see the car.
a) Check it out closely in all areas and test whether the answers you were given over the phone were correct.
b) See if there are things that need to be done to get the car to your standard and mentally work out their costs. For example, does the car need new tires, does it need a new windscreen?
c) Go for a test drive. Not with the stereo going all the time though, so you can hear the car's noises.
d) Work out, silently, what you think you are prepared to pay as a maximum for this car. Make sure it is equal to, or less than your set limit.

3. Remember these things once you have decided that you will purchase the car, if the price is right.
a) This is not the only car in the world for you. There are others. Maybe, they will be even better.
b) Don't be in a rush to conclude the deal. Take your time.
c) Don't be swayed by seller saying "I have another buying waiting".

4. Do these things when negotiating.
a) Say "I'd like to make an offer".
b) Tell the seller the costs of the items you think will need fixing once you purchase the car.
c) Make your offer taking b) into account and leaving room to move upwards on your price to the maximum you set.

For example, say your maximum spend is $10,000, the car is advertised for $12,000 but you have found $2,000 of work to be done to bring it up to your standard. Make an offer for $8,000 ($10,000-$2,000). The seller may respond by saying that $10,000 is his minimum. After taking a suitable amount of time to consider this response, you can say "I'll go half way, is $9,000 OK? If the seller agrees, then you have purchased the car for $3,000 less than advertised. However, your $9,000 price plus your $2,000 of expenses is $11,000, $1,000 over your limit. No worries, just delay some of the work until you can afford it. The seller feels a bit of pain, you feel a bit of pain and you both are reasonably satisfied with the deal.

These are just some general tips and hints from my experiences in buying and selling cars over a long period of time. I am passing them on to you to help you with your personal finances. You need to be able to save money wherever you can.

For details on what to look for when buying a used car from a private seller see my other article titled "How to Save Real Money When Purchasing a Used Car from a Private Seller".
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