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Used Car Buying Negotiating Tips

Milad Hassibi April 10, 2018


Buying a car can be exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time. Purchasing a car is a large investment and you should be sure to proceed with caution. However, once you’ve completed your search and found the right car for you, it is important to try and purchase the vehicle at the lowest price possible. A lower purchase price can mean lower payments and even lower interest rates, saving you thousands in the long run.

This article can be used with both private party sales (Craigslist, online postings, etc.) and also with local dealerships. Negotiating hundreds if not thousands of dollars on purchase price can increase stress between buyer and sellers, so it is important to keep your “poker face” while negotiating. Here are 3 ways you can drastically reduce the purchase price of your car:

Search Kelly Blue Book Values

Kelly Blue Book  (often referred to as KBB), is a free tool that provides you with the value of a car based man searching for kelly blue book value of his caron numerous factors, such as age, mileage, overall condition, color, options, and even more! If you have found a car you like, whether it’s at a dealership or a private party sale, you can obtain the KBB value with ease. Many regard KBB as the gold standard of car values, so it can serve as an important platform to negotiate the price of your car.

Know Your Credit

If you’re looking to finance a new car purchase, it’s important to know your credit score. Your credit score will determine how much you can afford to spend on a car and specifically at what interest rate the loan will be given to you at. Dealerships love working with consumers with healthy credit scores since the risk of default is much lower. You can actually save a large sum of money on interest if you improve your credit score. You can get a free copy of your credit score here, without hurting your credit at all.

Be picky

As a buyer, you must give the car a thorough “look over”. When seeing the car in person, be sure to examine the car for any dings, dents, interior rips or smells, etc. that would cause you to lose interest in the car. As you walk around the car, be sure to bring up these imperfections to the seller. You can say something along the lines of “Oh this seems like a large scratch, did you ever get a quote to fix this?”.

This, in turn, will notify the buyer indirectly that you are looking to negotiate the price of the car without actually stating it. Keep a log in your head of the damages to the car and a reasonable cost to fix them. Be sure to bring up these points when you are negotiating the price.

Take the car to a mechanic

Used cars can always be a gamble. Most used cars carry no warranties, so you will be stuck with the cost of any repair even hours after purchasing the car. Ask the seller if you can take the car to your mechanic for an inspection. If the seller disagrees, he/she may be trying to hide something. Call local mechanics beforehand and ask what they charge for a “Pre Purchase Inspection” (typically this costs under $100).

The mechanic will examine every mechanical part of the car and alert you with any issues. The mechanic will also test drive the car and bring up anything that may be of concern. If the mechanic comes back with news of needed repairs, you can bring this up in the negotiations. You can say something along the lines of “Well this car needs $500 in repair work, so how about we bring the price down from $5,000 to $4,000?”.

Final Note

Overall, almost all sellers expect to haggle with buyers when it comes to selling their car. Do not be afraid to overreach and even start off with a low offer. The seller will not simply walk away from a potential deal but will try and negotiate with you to bring you up to their price point. Feel free to come up in price but only to a level you can afford and a level that covers the cost of all necessary repairs needed to the car.

If you are still searching for an auto loan and have less than perfect credit, CrediReady can help. Our nationwide network of trusted lenders and dealers work with buyers in all credit situations. Take a moment to complete our free no-obligation form and get the financing you need today!



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