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10 Tips on Negotiating a Used Car Price

Negotiating a used car price is a great way to save some money. These days, most of us are living on a tight budget. So, extra cash in our pocket won’t hurt. 

In this post, I will teach you how to negotiate used car prices so you could get a better deal on your next used vehicle without being rude. 

Some facts about used car sellers… 

In reality, no one wants to undervalue their assets whether it is a car or anything else. Before posting them online for sale, people will check similar listings to get general ideas about the value of their vehicle

For example, they may check Craigslist, Back page, Fivermiles app, Offer up, or any other online classified sites to learn the prices. 

Used car dealers even go a step further and check blue book or black book prices. That means you will rarely meet someone who is undervaluing their vehicle. 

However, there is no such thing as an accurate price tag for used vehicles. Because we should factor in many things, such as condition, mileage, maintenance history, title status, and other qualities.

Now, without any further ado let’s go through the tips on negotiating a used car price:

  1. Be kind and friendly when you are interacting with a seller.

To win a good discount, be friendly and kind to the seller. A seller is someone who will give you a discount during a negotiation process. 

As soon as you meet them, shake their hands and talk with a smile. Building a warm interaction, in the beginning, is a foundation that will facilitate a good negotiation process. Do not forget, your goal is to make the seller want to help you but not hate you. First impressions always matter!

2. Negotiate after checking the vehicle completely.

Some buyers make a mistake trying to negotiate a price over the phone or right after they come to the location. 

I recommend checking the condition of a car first to determine its real worth. How can we negotiate price without knowing its real value?!

3. Thoroughly inspect the car or take it to a mechanic shop to know the condition of the vehicle.

Inspecting a used car before buying is one of the most important steps in the used car negotiation. 

Pinpoint the parts that need to be fixed and use those issues as leverage during the negotiation process. 

In other words, list the parts that need to be fixed and mention them during the negotiation process.

4. Kindly ask the seller to fix the parts so you won’t have additional expenses in the future.

That is another type of negotiation method. Of course, you will not get a monetary discount by following this method; however, if the owner is willing to fix the bigger issues, it will save you from repair costs in the future. 

So, tell the owner that you are committed to buying their car only if he or she fixes certain parts. 

For example, if a car has a bad battery, kindly ask the owner to put the new one. If the owner is willing to replace it, that will be a good money saver.

5. Genuinely explain your situation if you have a limited budget.

There is nothing wrong with discussing your budget with the seller. In fact, if you could genuinely express how much the discount will mean to you, the seller may have compassion towards you. 

Please, do not get me wrong. By saying explain your situation, I do not mean begging.

For example, if you are a college student, a single parent, or anyone with limited financial resources, kindly explain your situation and ask for a better discount. 

6. Tell the seller that you will leave a good review and refer your friends and acquaintances to them.    

This method is only effective if you are negotiating with a used car dealer. A good review and future referrals will be beneficial for the dealers. 

Tell them that if they give you a good discount, you will bring your friends in the future. By doing so, you soften up the seller and open up a path for a good negotiation. 

This method is a win-win situation because you get a good discount while the seller gets a happy customer who will bring more business in the future.

7. Offer your old vehicle as a trade-in to reduce your expenses.

Sometimes, people get tired of driving the same vehicle for several years. As a result, they decide to replace it with another used vehicle. If this case applies to you, then I would recommend offering your old vehicle as a trade-in to a used car dealership. 

The only downside of this process is that dealers may offer you a way lower price than the market value. Of course, trading in your old vehicle will avoid the additional hustle of trying to sell it yourself. 

However, it is always better to do a used car valuation to know the actual worth of your vehicle before the trade-in.

8. Check the title and make sure that the car has a clean title. 

Checking the title is something you need to do before the actual negotiation process. For instance, if the title has a lienholder, then there is no reason for negotiating the price. 

Simply, you can’t buy a car that has a lienholder. It means you can’t transfer the vehicle to your name unless the balance is fully paid to the original owner.

A vehicle can also have either salvage or rebuilt title. A salvage title is worse than a rebuilt title because you can’t legally drive salvage cars on the road as they are not considered roadworthy. 

On the other hand, a rebuilt title is a fixed version of a salvage title. It means a car had been issued a salvage title previously due to the moderate to severe damage, and someone rebuilt it and made it roadworthy. 

Concisely, salvage and rebuilt title cars are worth less than clean title cars. If the car has either of these titles, just ask for a good discount.

9. Negotiate on the Tax, Title, and License (TTL) Fees. 

Most used car dealers charge TTL fees on top of the vehicle value. Depending on your state, those fees may vary. 

Before paying for the vehicle, discuss the TTL fees with the seller so you won’t be surprised by additional costs.

10. If you can’t get any discount during the negotiation process, at least get a full tank of gas

Do not be shy to ask to fill the gas tank. Normally, used car dealers fill up the tank. If you ask politely, private sellers may do the same.

That is all the tips that I got on negotiating a used car price. I hope those tips will help you to achieve a good discount during your used car purchasing process. 

Here are the primary takeaways from this post:

– Always act friendly and kindly with sellers

– Always negotiate the price after checking the vehicle

– List the issues of a vehicle and do cost calculation so you could use that information as leverage during the negotiation process.

– Ask the seller to fix or replace some parts (if there are any bad ones) to reduce your future repair costs

– If you are on a tight budget, explain your situation to the seller and ask for a better discount.

– Promise the seller that you will leave a good review or refer your friends and acquaintances to their business

– Offer your old vehicle as a trade-in to reduce your expenses

– Make sure the car has a clean title. If the car has a salvage or rebuilt title, you need to ask for a bigger discount since those titles make the vehicle value a lot lower.

– Negotiate the TTL fees.

– Drive off with the full tank of gas.

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of FactPros.com
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
To get tailored writing or to work with, contact at [email protected]

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