Negotiation 101: Your Guide to Buying Below Asking Price

Negotiations can seem intimidating—especially for first-timers. You want to act confident but not overly brass, principled but not too stubborn… it’s a fine line to walk. But whether you’re buying a new car or a used car, the fact remains the same: there is plenty of room for negotiation left on the table. The seller will always try to get their top dollar, usually by setting the initial asking price well above market value under the assumption that the buyer will later negotiate a lower price tag. If you don’t at least try to get them to come down in price, you’re just letting the seller win by allowing them to walk away with money they don’t deserve.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate! Use this guide to get your car below asking price through the powerful art of negotiating.

How to Negotiate Used Cars

There are plenty of solid reasons to consider purchasing a used car over a new car: greater selection, less risk of depreciation, and a much better deal, to name just a few. But if you’ve ever learned how to sell your car, you know firsthand how aggressive hungry shoppers can be with their negotiation tactics. You know what they say… “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” using these strategies.

  • Compare offers. The used car market is a competitive one. Apply this to your advantage by showing your seller similar listings that are lower in price and ask them to come down accordingly.
  • Always test drive. No matter what, you should always test drive a vehicle before purchasing it. Doing so could reveal small problems—such as squeaky brakes or a busted A/C unit—that could have been otherwise missed. If you spot any problems, request a price drop that will cover the expense of the repair(s), and if a seller ever refuses a test drive or asks you not to touch something, take it as an immediate red flag and walk away.Pro Tip: To successfully buy a used car and avoid driving off in a lemon, consider shopping Certified Pre-Owned vehicles. This special designation means that the vehicle has received a seal of approval from technicians who guarantee the car’s like-new status according to manufacturer certifications.
  • Cash is king. When it comes to the negotiating table, cash will always be your best friend. In most cases, sellers are looking for a quick and easy close. Personal checks, money orders, and wire transfers are all headaches that can prolong the closing process if funds are processed incorrectly. When you come with cash in hand, you might be able to knock up to $500 off the asking price.

How to Negotiate New Cars

Although you’ll be able to find a better deal on a used car, sometimes buying a new car is totally worth it. If you do some careful research on your investment, a new vehicle might prove to be a wise financial decision—so long as you bring your negotiation A Game.

  • Get multiple quotes. Car dealerships will compete for your business, so receive multiple quotes from different dealers for the same vehicle. Then use these quotes against each other to receive the best bargain possible. Price isn’t all that matters here; keep in mind financing options, length of warranty, roadside assistance, and trade-in value.
  • Know your car’s value. If you do plan on trading in your car to purchase a new one, do some thorough digging beforehand. Bring documented paperwork to the dealer who will undoubtedly claim your car is worth less than market value. Show proof of all regular maintenance plus after stock upgrades that can increase your car’s value, then use that information to receive more on your trade-in and apply it to your next purchase.
  • Improve your credit. Most people need to finance their new car, in which case you’ll need to secure a car loan. Lenders prefer buyers with strong credit history and offer better terms accordingly. Before embarking on your car hunting journey, take the time to improve your credit score; doing so will allow you to shop offers from different lenders to negotiate the best interest rates, which could then save you tons of money down the road.

Buying a new car is exciting, but don’t let your eagerness get the better of you. Before pulling the trigger, use these negotiation tips to secure the best value possible.


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