If you are like most people, the idea of talking price when it comes to buying a car probably makes you a bit uncomfortable. It can be intimidating to go up against a dealer who is very well-trained to maintain the upper hand, keep you a bit confused if we are honest, and put the pressure on. But, this doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance. With a little bit of know-how, you can participate in the process with a bit more confidence, and score yourself a better deal. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Finding the Right Car First
Naturally this is the first step, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind to maintain your position in successful negotiating. You just want to make sure you don’t buy a car too soon and you don’t say too much to a dealer that will weaken your position. So, head on over to the dealership to browse inventory, but make it clear you don’t know what type of car you want—this lets the dealer know you aren’t buying, and he’ll focus his efforts on people more likely to put a sale in his pocket. Don’t ask any questions that give away your money situation, such as asking what cars are available in a certain price range, monthly payments, leasing options, or how much you could get if you traded in your current vehicle.
If you are planning on buying a new car, and you want the best deal, you will take your time; you will decide on the car you want, do your research and the head to the dealer.
Determining the True Value
Lack of knowledge is one of the reasons people find themselves intimidated to go up against car salesmen—they simply don’t have information that is readily available to them. Surprisingly, many don’t think too much about this. They just head to the dealer, and then get swept away in what is happening. Knowledge gives confidence.
If you are looking at a used car, check out sites such as Kelly Blue Book; look at ads for similar cars to get an idea of what they are selling for in your area.
When it comes to new cars, you want to find out what the dealer paid, whether they are getting any sort of rebates,etc… to determine a good starting off point for negotiations. You want to kick off negotiating by working up from the invoice price, not bargaining down from the selling price.
Gauging the Seller
If you are buying a used car, find out why the person is selling it. This could give you an idea of how much negotiating power you have. Someone who is trying to get rid of the car because their college kid no longer needs it may not be in as much of a hurry as someone who is looking to use the cash to get a new car. As for dealers, going in near the end of the month may be to your advantage as the salesmen will be feeling a bit more heat to make quotas than they may have at the start of the month. Give yourself a bit of a buffer though to make room for ‘walking away’, negotiating further,etc… At least a week before month end is good.