Used Car Price Negotiation

With a growth in our family size, it’s become necessary for me to get rid of an unpracticle sports car and to get something that will transport all our family members and get to our destinations safely.

I’ve found a vehicle I like very much and the Used Car Dealer’s price is actually about $6000. under blue book. Still, I’d like to get it as low as possible.

Is there an approximate percentage that dealers will come down from their listed price? An approximate dollar amount?

Many thanks in advance and my apologies if this has been covered recently.

…a good resource and a place where you can find out what you can expect to PAY for the used car at a dealer (instead of BB value alone.)

You can get dealer prices versus private sale prices, based on where you live, the car info, etc.

You are gonna hear from everyone how much it varies. Depends on the vehicle. e.g. Honda Accords are some of the strongest used vehicles - as well as new - and you might get a token 200 bucks off, but not much more.

Since it depends on region and car, check edmunds.

lieu, I bought a car last weekend. The VIN history was clean (you’ve checked that, I presume? - if not, I’ve still got a couple of inquiries left at Autocheck and I’ll be glad to run it for you) and I checked price guidelines at Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds and NADA. Those three suggested the car should sell for $32,500 to $34,500.

The dealer’s sticker was $29,500. It had a headlight out and a cracked foglamp lens. I offered them $24,000 with those items fixed. They came back with $24,500.

Makes me think I should’ve tried for $23,000.

Good luck!

Sure, there are such approximations, but having that information will not help you get the best price in a specific situation.

The variance in those approximations is significant, and vary based on many factors including the specific year, model, and options. In the end, the used car dealer has many other factors to contend with, including inventory and sales objectives.

If you really want to get the best deal, the first thing you have to do is to NOT get emotionally attached to any one vehicle (such as is indicated when you say, “I found a vehicle I like very much…”).

Understand that in most cases, you won’t get the best price from a used car dealer, since you will have to pay sales tax on the transaction (which, depending on where you live, could be a significant factor). Of course, you may find other value from buying from a used car dealer, such as some sort of warranty protection (which will probably cost you as well).

Find at least three cars that would meet your families need, and that you would be equally pleased with having. Build a spreadsheet with all of the major and minor options with each. Use a used car pricing guide, such as Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds, and calculate the wholesale and retail values.

Check out each of the cars, if necessary, but without discussing any price issues, other than the asking price. Once you have three cars to negotiate with, begin contacting the owner/dealer, and offer them a low-ball price for the car. You may want to start as low as the wholesale value. If anyone accepts your first offer, you didn’t go low enough. Don’t worry about being laughed at or “offending” the other party. If they don’t accept, see if they provide a counter-offer. Continue to the next car. Once you have three rejected original offers, and perhaps some counters, raise your offer price, and go back through the same routine. Continue until an offer is accepted.

ALWAYS do this over the phone. Never negotiate in person.

As in any negotiation, the other party will always come out ahead if they have more POWER, INFORMATION, or TIME, than you do. Don’t let them pressure you, make sure you pressure them. If they sense you are committed to a particular vehicle, you lose. If they sense you have little time to make a decision, you lose. If they sense you are unfamiliar with your Next Best Alternative, you lose (so feel free to tell them that you are negotating with two other owners of equally satisfying vehicles, to keep the pressure on them).

Hope this helps. Good luck.

…you won’t get the best price from a used car dealer, since you will have to pay sales tax on the transaction…

Huh? Here in Missouri, the buyer pays sales tax on the transaction when the vehicle is registered, regardless of whom it was bought from. Is it different where you are?

If you can past all the hype about using Carfax vehicle reports (and lord, there is a lot of it) there is some useful stuff on this site.

I apologize for this being a borderline-commercial link, but honestly the advice is decent and it makes it worthwhile.

My husband is the best used-car purchaser I’ve ever met. Here’s how we do it.

First, you have to decide how much you’re willing to spend and what features you want on the vehicle.

Write this information down on a business card and instruct the salesmen not to call you until they have a vehicle that meets these requirements.

We received a call the next day from a guy that was willing to meet all our quirks. The vehicle now has 115,000 miles on it and is still running strong (and still looks good!).

This has worked for us a number of times. I swear by it.

Thank you all for the excellent advice and links. I’ll be coming back to reread your comments as negotiations proceed.

I usually decide how much I want to spend, what I want, then go look for it. Make an offer, and if they take it, great, if not, move on. There are lots of cars out there, and they know it, so if they want your money, and you appear to be a serious buyer, chances are, they’ll work with you.

Case in point, I just bought a new motorcycle a few weeks ago, I told the guy what I was willing to pay, out the door. He said “No way”, but took the offer to the manager anyway. He came back $150 more than my offer, I said thank you, no, and walked out. There was a message on my machine by the time I got back to the office. It’s a real nice bike too.

My neighbor got a job selling used cars. A lady came in a few times & really wanted the car & they set a price. She had to come back withj the money & his boss told him to jack up the price when she did. So she didn’t buy it. Makes me think you should buy them when you can.

kbb prices are just an estimate they shouldn’t reflect the actual price you want as they don’t usually include what area of the country the car is in. can adjust for that as you can input area & stuff, so does

to find out what a dealer car is worth, ask them what they would pay you when you brought it back in 6 months.

I got a ‘hooray for me’ story. I went with my daughter to buy a used car and I ran a price at the salesman that was $1000.00 off the asking price. He naturally said forget that, and I said go talk to your manager…which I always wanted to do because the new car guys use that BS all the time. So, off he goes out the door to walk over to another building where the manager was. My daughter and I go out another door for a smoke and low and behold, there’s salesboy puffing away on his own cigarette. We watched him and went back in when he flipped his butt. Long story short, car was purchased for MY price.

Car dealers are full of tricks, but lists a few of their scams. – The Motley Fools – also have a section on negotiating for used cars. Very helpful.

Lieu, you should go with your strengths. Just cut a few of those gas warfare bombs you’re famous for on these boards, and soon the dealer will be paying you to take the car off their hands, just to get you out of the dealership.