used car price negotiation
2 minutes

Like buying a house, when buying a used car, we all like to get the cost down as low as possible. After all, who doesn’t like saving money?

Haggling over the price of second-hand cars is usually easier said than done, though. Sellers expect people to drive a hard bargain and will often be well prepared for you to make an offer that’s lower than the asking price. To assist you in maximizing your chances of getting a good deal, we’ve compiled a list of five top tips to practice before (and during) your negotiation.

1. Do your research

There’s no substitute for knowledge. Before you start looking for your next car, make sure you read up on the common weak points of the model. Let’s say you’re looking for a Suzuki Jimny. They like to rust in several peculiar places you might not expect, so take the time to read up on each of these before you go and look at one in the metal. That way, you’ll be able to spot flaws in the car – and this will help you save money later on in the negotiation (as we’ll explain shortly).

2. Keep it tight-lipped

When inspecting the car, keep your cards close to your chest. As in any negotiation, you don’t want to let on exactly how you’re feeling – keep the seller guessing! If you tell them, ‘this car’s beautiful, I want it,’ but then ask for money at the end, do you think they’ll be amenable? Probably not. They know you want the car, so they expect you to pay the total price.

3. Inspect the car thoroughly

This one should go without telling, but it’s all too easy to get carried away and forget to check a car in detail before you hand over the cash. When you walk around your prospective purchase, draw upon the knowledge you gained from your research. Check for weak spots like rust, dents, dings and paint damage – and if the tires look low or the interior could do with a spruce up, make a mental note. You can use things to your advantage in the next step.

4. Point out the flaws

Here’s where things start to get exciting. Once you’ve walked around the car (and test-driven it, if you get the opportunity), it’ll then be time to give the seller your thoughts. Let the negotiation begin!

You should treat the first part of the negotiation almost like a mini school essay. Point out anything wrong with the car, discuss how much it’s likely to cost to put it right, and conclude by offering based on your findings.

5. Start low

Say the car up for £5,000, and you feel, given its flaws, it is worth about £4,500. Instead of offering what you think it’s worth, come in a little lower – £4,250 perhaps. The seller is likely to come at you with a counteroffer, so starting with more insufficient means, you’re more likely to arrive at a happy figure.

Now that you have a number of tips to help you get your used car for even less, it’s time to find the perfect one for you. There are several used car dealerships and private sellers in the UK that we are confident the right car for you is out there.

You have to find it. Check out our range of used cars online or do a history check on a vehicle you are looking to buy.

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