How to Guide

12 Negotiation Tips For Buying A Used Car

May 5, 2021
3 min read

You have finally found the one - the vehicle you want to buy – you have the money and now it is time to negotiate with the seller to get the deal done. Use the following tips to help you…

You have finally found the one - the vehicle you want to buy – you have the money and now it is time to negotiate with the seller to get the deal done. Use the following tips to help you…

Most negotiation is a matter of give and take

Negotiating is not really that scary, so go into the process with a clear plan and having done your research. Be open to the process and expect that you while you may pay more than you hoped, the seller is probably thinking he got less than they wanted. Make sure you have the information at your side to help you.

Don’t be stubborn, prepare to give a little on what you want

Like any negotiation it is about finding some middle ground - of course you can bargain hard but that does ensure you get the purchase. Each used vehicle is different in one way or another, and the price will be a direct result of that. Many factors can influence the deal you’re negotiating. Some things to consider are what is the average selling price of similar cars, was the scheduled maintenance kept up with, does the car need detailing, are there tyres in good condition?

These could be a major difference maker when it comes to how much of a discount you can get on the used car you’re looking at.

Top Tactics for Negotiation

  1. Research. The more research you have done the more you can make an informed decision on the vehicle you’re interested in.
  2. Get a CARIFY Vehicle Report. Make note of the vehicle identification number (VIN) and use this to generate a CARIFY report. This report can tell you the history of the car, and then you can use the report to negotiate a lesser amount.
  3. Other factors. Popularity of the colour, cleanliness of the interior, number of owners, warranties, mechanical faults and road worthiness. All these factors can be examined and used in the negotiation process.
  4. Have an independent party examine the car. Most mechanics will offer to inspect a used vehicle, for a fee. Having a CARIFY report to give to the mechanic can help them investigate if repairs were completed competently.
  5. Does the sale attract the Goods and Services Tax (GST). If the vehicle is being sold privately and not by a business GST does not apply. If the sale is from a business, GST may be added in the final cost, factor this into your budget.
  6. Have an exit strategy. Having a nominated price point will keep you from going over budget in your negotiations. Have an ideal price and a maximum price, if you fall in between those you are good. If the seller wants more that you are willing to pay, be prepared to leave the negotiation.
  7. Working with your partner or a friend. A good way to help with negotiations is to work with a friend, pick someone that can keep you on a leash and make sure you don’t go over your budget. Plan your tactics together, perhaps discuss together problems with the vehicle and what its real value may be. As they say two heads are better than one!
  8. Ask the seller questions that you know the answers to. This can help reveal if the seller is trustworthy. Using a CARIFY report will tell you if it has been involved in any collisions. If the seller seems to be lying about the true nature of the car, they probably can’t be trusted with other details, such as what the vehicle was used for.
  9. Keep a Cool Head. Don’t be too pushy when negotiating your deal. This has the possibility of backfiring and the seller walking away from the sale. Which, if you really wanted the vehicle, could see you paying more as you try to get them back to the table. Maintaining a level-headed visage shows your no-nonsense approach and will be met with respect.
  10. Stay within Reason. Offering a low-ball offer is that fastest way to end negotiation. A seller will not even want to deal with you if they think you are doing this. Make a reasonable first offer and have reasons why that is your offer. Make it a good starting point so the seller doesn’t feel like you are ridiculing them, remember it’s possible that they think the vehicle is much better than it really is, so don’t risk upsetting them.
  11. Don’t be too Hasty with a Counter. Take the time needed to consider an offer. Let the seller know that you are considering it and will get back to them in a certain time. However, if the seller has multiple buyers, this could mean you miss out on the sale. So, don’t rush, but don’t take forever either.
  12. Don’t get stuck on ‘The One’. There will always be another vehicle for sale. If the seller is not willing to negotiate or be reasonable, it’s probably time to walk away. There is no such thing as ‘The One’, perhaps instead focus on finding the next one, buying a new vehicle is a big decision, and you don’t want to make a wrong turn.

After going through these twelve tips, you are ready to find the vehicle of your dreams and negotiate to get the right price. Armed with the CARIFY Vehicle Report, you can be safe in the knowledge of the vehicles history that you are not buying someone else’s problems.

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